Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organized crime expert T. J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike "King Mike" McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader; and James "Whitey" Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie legend. Stretching from the earliest New York and New Orleans street wars through decades of bootlegging scams, union strikes, gang wars, and FBI investigations, Paddy Whacked is a riveting tour de force that restores the Irish American gangster to his rightful preeminent place in our criminal history -- and penetrates to the heart of the American experience.
The American mob has long been seen as run by Italians and their henchmen. Edgar-nominee English (Born to Kill) sets the record straight, emphasizing that Irish ingenuity first established the mob in the U.S. Close to two million Irish inundated the American Northeast in the aftermath of the Irish famine of the 1840s. "he formation of a gang," writes English, "carried with it the whiff of a noble gesture," and the Irish personality full of resentment, rebellion, suspicion and clannishness mixed with poverty proved to be perfect for this new way of life. Prohibition the high point for the Irish mob in America first was viewed by the Irish as a WASP attack on their way of life, and eventually as a way to get rich. But Prohibition was also the beginning of the end of super-Irish gangsters. English covers the bootlegging escapades of Joseph P. Kennedy and number one on the FBI Most Wanted List Boston's Whitey Bulger. But there are also colorful details about the likes of "Mad Dog" Coll, "Two Gun" Crowley and mayors Walker of New York and Curley of Boston. This is an intense, erudite yet sometimes horrifying account of violent Celtic criminals who make the Dead End Kids look like choirboys. 16 pages of b&w photos.
Amazing book for Mob/History fans
Only wish it would be made into an Audio Book or a Ken Burns film.
The author has explored his subject with numerous sources and writes extremely well. In order to tell the story of the Irish gangs, he also tells a large part of the history of the other American gangs as they were all tangled together at most times in our country's history. Although it doesn't really fit into the story of the Irish gangs, English claims JFK was killed by the Italian mob. He doesn't do anything to support the claim though. To me it seems like the mob may have wanted to kill him but didn't get around to it before Oswald. Mob conspiracy theories are not the most logical explanation. That makes this reader wonder if all other "facts" in this book are absolutely true.
It is unfortunate that the book came out just a short time before Whitey Bolger was apprehended. It would have wrapped up the whole story. Not at all the author's fault, of course.