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Paperback Paddy Whacked : The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster Book

ISBN: 0060590033

ISBN13: 9780060590031

Paddy Whacked : The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Aqu? est? la saga verdadera e impactante de los irlandeses americanos, desde mediados del siglo 19 hasta el d?a de hoy. La historia demuestra que la herencia del g?ngster americano irland?s fue establecida en Am?rica mucho antes que del mafioso americano italiano m?s extensamente retratado. De hecho, la lista hist?rica del crimen organizado, no la encabeza un rey latino, o un jefe de una banda sangrienta, sino un jefe al viejo estilo americano irland?s...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


When it comes to organized crime in the U.S., the talk is generally "Mafia this, Mafia that," and while La Cosa Nostra has certainly caused its share of mayhem, it's hardly fair to ignore the contribution other groups have made to the history of the American underworld. Tons of minority groups, white and otherwise--Blacks, Chinese, Russians, Armenians, Jews, and so on--have been involved in organized criminal activities to one degree or another, but as T.J. English points out in Paddy Whacked, the Irish have one distiction that can never be taken away: they got there first. English paints a vivid portrait of good old days that weren't always good, starting with the arrival of the first Irish immigrants after the potato famine of the 1840's and continuing through turbulent and violent times that saw the Irish emerge as a prominent force in the American criminal underworld as well as in American society as a whole. Paddy Whacked tells some highly unpleasant stories about Irish-American history, shedding light on inhuman poverty, ethnic and religious prejudice, violent gang wars, and large-scale political malfeasance, but that doesn't stop it from being mighty entertaining throughout, no matter what your background. If your view of the Irish is all shamrocks, leprechauns, and green beer on St. Patrick's day, this book should offer up some surprises, as much of what we associate with inner cities today (gangs, colors, drive-by shootings) had its roots at least partially in the Irish enclaves of the 19th and 20th centuries. Starting out in Ireland, English places the history of the Irish-American gangster squarely in the larger context of Irish and American history, tracing the Irish Mob's roots all the way back to the anticolonial societies that sprung up to fight British rule in the Old Country. According to English, it was in these organizations that some of the most prominent features of the Irish gangster, and the Irish in general for that matter, were formed, from their intense togetherness to their emphasis on secrecy and mistrust of outsiders. That said, though, the focus of Paddy Whacked is still squarely on its bizarre and diverse group of outlaw protagonists and what their experiences have to show us about the history of the Irish in the U.S., from the blinding poverty of famine-era immigrants (in New Orleans, landowners used the Irish to work the worst jobs on their plantations because THEY CONSIDERED THEIR SLAVES TOO VALUABLE) to their eventual emergence as what English calls "generic white people" in the last few decades. The book describes in great detail how the Irish, starting out as a marginalized and ghettoized minority, managed to make themselves an institution in American life through constant struggle, even if many of them had to go way outside the law to get their piece of the pie. Much like American pop culture's two best-known Mafia sagas--the Godfather movies and The Sopranos--Paddy Whacked presents the story of the

" Come and get me, coppers !"

Excellent authoritative, exhaustive study of the Irish mob in America from it's inception to present. Drawn from the bowels of poverty and the necessity to survive as immigrants in New York the brotherhood of the green rose up. English offers insight into the influence on labor parties, political officials and law enforcement who were hand in glove with the Irish gangs. Anyone interested in ganster/crime history, Irish culture or just American history will do well and be pleased to read this book.

The seeds of Infamy

The writer never states it baldly, but page after page contains the very essence of America. If you sometimes think if governance, from Washington down to your Mayor is just one mass of corruption, subterfuge, special interests and paybacks, is. And here are its roots. Gangsterism is as fundamental a component of the American dream as Mom's Apple Pie. Read it and weep.

A triumph of research and story telling

TJ English's "Paddy Whacked" joins the pantheon of excellent books on terrible subject -- gangsters. While English has done a great deal of original research for this book, he is also to be credited for compiling previously published, stories, profiles and items into a single breathtaking volume on Irish gangs and criminals in America. English traces the most notorious criminals and gangs from the time of the great potato famine migration to present day. Starting with the story of mid 19th century boxer/politician/criminal John Morrisey, through the innumerable gangs of the later 19th century, through Owney Madden, Bugs Moran and others of the prohibition era, through Joseph Kennedy, to Whitey Bulger (currently still on the lam). It will not surprise readers that so many of the featured figures met untimely ends, often violent ones. Readers will also see the relationship of Irish gangs with other ethnic groups, particularly the Mafia, and how the Irish gangs were eventually squeezed out of business by La Cosa Nostra. Also, the lines between organized crime and legitimate business are seen to be blurry -- a common and appropriate theme of recent works on criminal gangs. English is a terrific storyteller. He has a knack for selecting the right stories about the right people to illustrate the overall tale and his pacing is excellent. At no point does "Paddy Whacked" lag. English also puts his stories within the context of greater sociological, and political events of the times. Many of the stories are graphic -- as they should be. It is easy to fall into the trap of romanticizing thugs and killers of the past, English never does, revealing the true brutality and selfishness of their actions. "Paddy Whacked" is a triumph of research, compilation and story telling. It is at once an entertaining and important book.

A real eye-opener

Anyone who thinks they know the full story of organized crime in the U.S. is in for a surprise when they read this book. 'Paddy Whacked' starts with the Irish potato famine and comes right up to the present. The research is awesome and the writing style very witty and entertaining (I especially liked the chapter titles and sub-titles within the chapters). The book is long and in-depth with many names and events but well worth the time it takes to read. The early history in New York, New Orleans and Chicago is fascinating. The chapter on Joseph P. Kennedy and the JFK assassination was shocking to me. And I never before read anthing about the gang wars in Boston in the early 1960's that helped Whitey Bulger rise to power. Even though I've read lots of books on organized crime and was aware of many of the events in this story, they are told from a new perspective that made me think about it in an interesting way. This may be the best overview-type book ever written about the Mob in America.
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