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Publisher Description

The rise of Chicago’s gangland can be attributed to a number of factors. First, there was the sudden explosion in its population, which saw an influx of immigrants - mainly from eastern and southern Europe, as well as Americans from neighboring and faraway states - teem into the city in search of promising job opportunities and a better life. The abrupt inundation of permanent citizens rendered the already suffering policeman to civilian ratio out of kilter, and the authorities' control of the city became further unzipped. Moreover, children and impressionable youths were regularly exposed to the overwhelming and unblushing presence of organized crime, meaning that the transitions of petty thieves and minor-league thugs to career crooks and full-time gangsters were only natural segues.

In the midst of it all, the Chicago Outfit, one of the longest-running criminal organizations in the land of the free, was perhaps the most notorious of them all. The baleful brotherhood bore a terrifying brand defined by cutthroat competitiveness, sadistic torture tactics, and excessive bloodshed, among scores of other despicable acts. Worse yet, they seemed to be untouchable. Aside from Al Capone himself, there was the vindictive and eerily competent Louis “Little New York” Campagna, a vicious assassin suspected of unloading 59 bullets into a traitorous associate. Then there was Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro, the inspiration for Nicky Santoro, Joe Pesci's character in Martin Scorsese's Casino, who, despite his petite stature, was a barbaric, cruel man with an explosive temper and no capacity for remorse. On top of the infamous M&M Murders, a 25-year-old Spilotro was implicated in the murder of real-estate broker and loan shark Leo Foreman. As if the excruciating blows to the head, ribs, knees, and groin via hammer weren't enough, Foreman was stabbed another 20 times with an ice pick before he was finally relieved of his misery with a bullet to the head. When Foreman's body was eventually recovered in the trunk of a deserted car, it was discovered that “chunks of his body” had been sliced off while he was still breathing.

While the North Side Gang is not as infamous as Capone’s mob, the fact that the North Siders were the targets indicate just how powerful Capone’s rivals were. Indeed, members like Bugs Moran would carry on a rivalry with Capone that lasted upwards of a decade. In the end, the rivalry would hasten the downfall of both men.

The Chicago Outfit and the North Side Gang: The History and Legacy of Chicago’s Most Notorious Rival Mobs profiles how the groups came up in the criminal underworld, and all the controversies that ensued as a result of their rivalry. You will learn about the Chicago Outfit and North Side Gang like never before.

Scott Clem
hr min
April 22
Charles River Editors