Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Gangs of Chicago
Herbert Asbury


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This classic history of crime tells how the Chicago underworld earned – and kept – its notorious reputation, from the time it was settled to the Prohibition days of the 1920s. Recounting the lives of such infamous early inhabitants as the original Mickey Finn and the mass murderer H. H. Holmes, it climaxes with the city’s golden age of crime and a dramatic account of the careers of the biggest of the Big Shots – Big Jim Colosimo, Terrible Johnny Torrio, and the elusive Al Capone, revealing life as it was lived in the criminal districts and the infamous red light district where the brothels boasted opulence unheard of before or since. Rounded off with fascinating photographs and illustrations, this is one of the most detailed, reliable and readable accounts of the nether side of Chicago’s first century.

Published originally under the title Gem of the Prairie: An Informal History of the Chicago Underworld.

Paperback, 448pp
Cornerstone, 2018 (1940)
ISBN 9781784755768