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Paperback The Westies : Inside New York's Irish Mob Book

ISBN: 0312362846

ISBN13: 9780312362843

The Westies : Inside New York's Irish Mob

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Book Overview

From T. J. English, the New York Times bestselling author of The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld , The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob is the true account of the vicious gang that ruled Hell's Kitchen from the 1960s through the 1980s. Even among the Mob, the Westies were feared. Starting with a partnership between two sadistic thugs, Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone, the gang rose out of the inferno of Hell's Kitchen,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A classic of the genre

After fifteen years in publication this book "The Westies" still holds its power. I read it when it came out and was blown away. Reading it again years later I am still impressed with the intimacy and also the historical framework for the story. The book has aged like fine Irish whiskey. Combine"The Westies" together with "Paddy Whacked," another book by T.J. English, and you have the full story of the Irish American gangster that puts these TV shows like "Brotherhood" and "Black Donnellys" to shame.

This Book is Violent, But Important Nonetheless

I found that this book has value not only as a True Crime text, but also from a sociological perspective. T.J. English gives a backround on the Hells Kitchen nieghborhood and the migrations that caused it to change for the worst. He is fair and unprejudiced, but that might result in the characters being sanitized. The Westies were a brutal, violent gang, and of that there's no doubt. They dismembered corpses in the bathtub, burned buildings, threw people in the Hudson, among other things. They ran all sorts of criminal rackets in a nieghborhood where the Irish were actually a minority after WWII. By 1965, almost all the people there were Spanish-speaking. The Westies were full of muscle, but they lacked intelligence, which is why they were only a vassal of the Italian mob. Note the way they "forget" to check on their boss durring what could have been a rub-out. It was replayed in the movie "State of Grace," and while I found the 1990 film "State of Grace" to have been based on this book, I think "Ash Wednesday" is a much better period piece, set in the 1970's Hells Kitchen. Those of you who want to learn more about crime, gangs, and ethnicity in New York should read this book. It's difficult to relate to because the nieghborhood isn't realy there anymore, replaced by new buildings (the Hells Kitchen locations for West Side Story were all torn down and replaced by Lincoln Center). But if you're looking for the origins of crime in a city (and its demise), this book is extensive, rock-solid and unbiased.

True crime masterpiece

This book may be the best true-life mob book ever written. No kidding. What makes it so amazing is that it is both intimate and epic -- intimate in its portrayal of the lives and emotions of Mickey Featherstone and the other main characters, and epic in the way it presents the history and sociaology of the neighborhood and city where they operated. This book reads like a great novel. T.J. English humanizes the story. It's as good or better than "The Sopranos."

Involved

I think the book is really interesting reading. It keeps you really involved in the Irish Mob (Westies) One of the reasons I think that it kept me really involved is because I can relate to the book since I am from Hell's Kitchen as a little boy and my family is mentioned in the book on how they killed my dad. It is very sad but true. These guys who were doing the killings all deserve the death penaltly.

Accurate, good historical presentation, easy to read

Being the daughter of one of the characters in the book, I can honestly say that save for a very few technical errors and omissions, the book is totally in sync with the facts. An easy and fast read, I especially appreciated the inclusion of a broad overview of the history of Manhattan's West Side Mafia. T.J. English is to be praised for his thorough research and accuracy. I also laud him for an objectivity rare to be seen anywhere in journalism, written or otherwise. I take this opportunity to thank him for a job well done, as well as reconfirming to me some positive traits about my father, which are a comfort to me now that he's passed on.
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