THE BOOTLEGGERS AND THEIR ERA by Kenneth Allsop

THE BOOTLEGGERS AND THEIR ERA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scholarly study of an era in American history that perhaps more than any other period has been popularized the world over by films and books. The unique phenomenon of the Prohibition Era in America has been shifted into the realm of legend. Here is a book that does not concentrate solely on the biographies of such men as Al Capone and the Terrible Gennas. Its English author comes to grips with the real problems- the geographical, racial, economic, and historical reasons behind the emergence of a regime of gangsters; the widespread breakdown of morality and law enforcement. Following an account of the author's introduction to the legend of Al Capone, he proceeds to a short history of prohibition and then discusses in some detail the struggle for control of bootlegging and allied commercialized vice in Chicago. The leading characters- Al Capone and his Italian-Sicilian satellites, and the Irish- Jewish confederacy led by Dion O'Banion-are sketched with refreshing individuality and humor. Mr. Allsop then goes on to deal with the effect of this era on politics, gang structure, and jazz; he examines the conditions that produce violence in American communities. If the book has a fault, it is that these later chapters move beyond the narrowly delineated period of the lawless decade. A surprisingly enjoyable book, highly recommended for the general reader.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday