The Gangs of New York

The Gangs of New York

An Informal History of the Underworld

Book - 2003
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Looking at the lurid side of organised crime from the 1800's to Prohibition, this is a tour through a now unreconisable city of abysmal poverty and habitual violence. Asbury presents the definitve work on this subject, an illumination of the gangs of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia. 'There has been no volume before Sbury's devoted exclusively to the hisotry of the New York gangs … Mr. Asbury's book must be regarded as a distinct contribution to Americana.'-The New York Times
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Wheeler Pub., 2003, c1928
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781587244636
Branch Call Number: LP 364.1066 ASB
Characteristics: 353 p. ; 24 cm


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Dec 16, 2015

Well-known now thanks to Scorsese's movie, the book deserves to be rediscovered for its own merits and as a classic of underworld stories. Scorsese only borrowed a few elements (Bill the Butcher, the draft rtots) from this byzantine, bloody and sometimes comic collection of anecdotes, legends and tales of all manner of criminals, from con artists to killers to gang leaders. It has a pungent, disreputable energy and Asbury offers no social commentary or moral judgements. It also evokes a nearly vanished New York City, giving the seedy, violent stories a slight poignancy.

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