Eminent Gangsters: Immigrants and the Birth of Organized Crime in America
- Publish Date: 2010-09-14
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: James Fentress
'This American system of ours,' observed Al Capone, 'call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we can only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.' Capone spoke as a member of a generation who, seizing the opportunities offered by the Eighteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, transport, or sale of alcoholic beverages, enriched himself and laid the basis for modern organized crime in America. Yet if the story of the eminent gangsters is not the orthodox, rags-to-riches American success story, neither can it be dismissed as merely a crime story, a morality play where evil doers are brought to justice by the forces of law and order. Their story, rather, is a central and significant chapter in the social and economic history of modern America.