CAPONE                                                           DEIRDRE BAIR

Born in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, to poor, Italian immigrant parents, Al Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history. In 1925, during the height of Prohibition, Capone's multi-million-dollar Chicago bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling operation dominated the organized-crime scene. His competition with rival gangs was brutally violent, a long-running war that crested with the shocking St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929. Through it all, and despite the best efforts of law enforcement and the media elite, Capone remained above the fray. Federal income-tax evasion was the strongest charge that could be made to stick, and in 1931 he was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. After serving six-and-a-half years, mostly in Alcatraz, a severely impaired Capone, badly damaged by neurosyphilis, was released to live out his final years with his family in Miami. From his heyday to the present moment, Al Capone's life has gripped the public imagination, and his gangster persona has been immortalized in the countless movies and books inspired by his exploits.

But who was the man behind the legend? Capone loved to tell tall tales that perpetuated his mystique; newspapers loved him and frequently embellished or fabricated stories about him to sell copies. While some remember him as fundamentally kind and good, others speak of how frightening he was, a vicious, cold-blooded killer. Was Al really such a quotable wit? Did he really shower the poor with hundred-dollar bills and silver dollars from the window of his bulletproof car? Did he really keep a bevy of mistresses ensconced in his hotel headquarters in Chicago? Writing with exclusive access to Capone's descendants, Deirdre Bair finally gets at the truth behind this eternally fascinating man, who was equal parts charismatic mobster, doting father, and calculating monster.


This is a book with a lot of personal information about the man and the family of Al Capone. The author was able to get interviews with the granddaughters and those stories were not so much about Al Capone but about their grandmother and the way she treated them. The author also gives you a look into his rise into crime and his ways of being so out front with the press. His wanting to be in the papers all of the time in the long run was his down fall, besides the illness. She also shows you a small look into the men who were also involved in the outfit. A lot of this book focuses on the events after the St. Valentines murders and how the people of Chicago wanted Al Capone put in jail. The parts that were interesting for me were the ones that involved the amount of time the government spent on investigating Capone and his dealings. The author guides you through this process and some of the people, and though everyone believes it was Elliot Ness who brought him down when it really was an accountant working for the Treasury Department, and after months of sorting through boxes came across a small ledger that could put names with money that came in from different locations. This was really the beginnings for the government’s case. She takes you through the trial and you see just how much pressure was on to get a conviction for Capone, even if it was tax evasion. She also speaks to present day lawyers and shows you mistakes that were made during the trial, and how a few years ago in Chicago a law school re-tired the case using case notes, and from the court and Capone was found not guilty. I found that interesting in this day and age when people say the criminal does not get a fair trial. She also takes you through his time in the prison system and really makes you wonder why he was sent to Alcatraz because by then he really was not the man he was, but just in name. His disease was already taking hold without getting any proper treatment. I thought one line from her book was interesting when they were convicting Capone, and that was “a lot of people will be out of work when he goes away”. Being the depression he did hire a lot of people, but that same line was used when they were trying Gotti, so many years later in New York. Overall this is a very good, might not be for everyone but I enjoyed it and the authors research. I got this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at 

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