Capone: The Man and the Era

Capone The Man and the Era The bestselling author of James Agee and As Thousands Cheer The Life of Irving Berlin now presents a sweeping portrait of a notorious gangster the founding father of organized crime as we know it and

  • Title: Capone: The Man and the Era
  • Author: Laurence Bergreen
  • ISBN: 9780671744564
  • Page: 480
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The bestselling author of James Agee and As Thousands Cheer The Life of Irving Berlin now presents a sweeping portrait of a notorious gangster the founding father of organized crime as we know it and of the turbulent times that created him and, eventually, destroyed him 16 pages of photos.

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    About “Laurence Bergreen

    • Laurence Bergreen

      Laurence Bergreen is an award winning biographer, historian, and chronicler of exploration His books have been translated into over 20 languages worldwide In October 2007, Alfred A Knopf published Marco Polo From Venice to Xanadu, a groundbreaking biography of the iconic traveler Warner Brothers is developing a feature film based on this book starring Matt Damon and written by William Monahan, who won an Oscar for The Departed His previous work, Over the Edge of the World Magellan s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, was published to international acclaim by William Morrow HarperCollins in October 2003 A New York Times Notable Book for 2003, it is also in development as a motion picture and is now in its tenth printing In addition, Bergreen is the author of Voyage to Mars NASA s Search for Life Beyond Earth, a narrative of NASA s exploration of Mars, published in November 2000 by Penguin Putnam Dramatic rights were acquired by TNT In 1997, Bantam Doubleday Dell published Louis Armstrong An Extravagant Life, a comprehensive biography drawing on unpublished manuscripts and exclusive interviews with Armstrong colleagues and friends It appeared on many Best Books of 1997 lists, including those of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Publishers Weekly, and has been published in Germany, Finland, and Great Britain In 1994, Simon Schuster published his Capone The Man and the Era A Book of the Month Club selection, it has been published in numerous foreign languages, was optioned by Miramax, and was a New York Times Notable Book His biography, As Thousands Cheer The Life of Irving Berlin, appeared in 1990 This book won the Ralph J Gleason Music Book Award and the ASCAP Deems Taylor award and received front page reviews in major American and British newspapers and appeared on bestseller lists it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 1990 His previous biography, James Agee A Life, was also critically acclaimed and was a New York Times Notable Book for 1984 His first book was Look Now, Pay Later The Rise of Network Broadcasting, published by Doubleday in 1980 He has written for many national publications including Esquire, Newsweek, TV Guide, Details, Prologue, The Chicago Tribune, and Military History Quarterly He has taught at the New School for Social Research and served as Assistant to the President of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York In 1995, he served as a judge for the National Book Awards and in 1991 as a judge for the PEN Albrand Nonfiction Award A frequent lecturer at major universities and symposiums, he also serves as a Featured Historian for the History Channel Mr Bergreen graduated from Harvard University in 1972 He is a member of PEN American Center, The Explorers Club, the Authors Guild, and the board of the New York Society Library He lives in New York City and is represented by Suzanne Gluck of the William Morris Agency.

    734 thoughts on “Capone: The Man and the Era


    • I have lived in Chicagoland all my life and yet there is so much about our still most emblematic citizen (sorry, Michael Jordan; sorry, Oprah) that I didn't know. For example, his nickname was "Snorky." He was colorful and imaginative and charming. And scary-smart. (I kept thinking of that old saw, "if only he had used his powers for good.") A good son and a loving father. And we must not forget to add, he was a very, very bad man.The book is not only about Capone but also about Chicagoland in t [...]


    • • Man, this book took me a long time to read. That was my first reaction after finishing it, but then I thought about the book itself. I have to say that I’m really happy I took the time to read the whole thing. Capone has been so idolized, lionized, crucified, or canonized by so many different people it’s really difficult to have any idea who the real Capone is. I believe that if any book or other type of media is going to get it right, it’s this book. Everyone says, “Well, what if th [...]


    • Wow! A well research book on Al Capone? This is it and it's told in a totally readable book by Laurence Bergreen, who wrote another book about Marco Polo on my list. I could almost smell the Chicago of the 20's reading this book. Al Capone was a very complicated man to say the least.


    • Laurence Bergreen's expansive, detailed, and well-researched study of Al Capone balances the many elements of the man: ruthless gangster deemed Public Enemy Number 1 who coldly ordered the death of enemies, fabled "Robin Hood" who gave lavish tips to young caddies, and aspiring businessman who proudly rubbed elbows with Chicago's elite during Prohibition. Here was a man who believed he deserved praise for opening soup kitchens and handing out diamond belt buckles to his friendsspite the fact tha [...]


    • Always had a soft spot in my heart for Al Capone. My grandmother worked for him (at his resort in northern Wisconsin) and described how he took care of her and her sister when times were tough. He paid for my great aunt's medical bills and wouldn't think of being repaid.


    • Long, but a very interesting read with details not just about Capone's life but about the world he lived in too. Great book!


    • I think that Bergreen does a fine job of following through on his thesis that Al Capone was Public Enemy Number One chiefly because of media hype and racism, though for a book in which the main character is a sex- and beer-pushing mobster, it is mighty dull in some stretches. I came away from this bio with my estimation of the protagonist diminished, that Capone was a fringe character in a fringe city.


    • This was an interesting book about a fascinating person. I could've done with much less detail, however, about the many, many others in Chicago, New York, and everywhere that Capone dealt with throughout his life.


    • A good biography which tells the rise and fall of Al Capone and how the agents who tracked him managed to bring about his incarceration.


    • Wow! This book was long, but it lives up to its title. It tells the story of Al Capone from his boyhood in Brooklyn to his eventual death from syphilis in Florida. It includes his entire career in the rackets in Chicago and vicinity. Also included are insights on the treatment of Italian immigrants in America and Prohibition. And there are stories of Capone's mentors in crime, his subordinates and rivals, his brothers, especially his older brothers Frank (who was killed by police fairly early on [...]


    • Bergreen gives an excellent account of Al Capone and the Chicago rackets of the 1920's and 1930's. This book provides a detailed and interesting look at Al Capone and the Capone family in general and treats the reader to a brief history of Italian immigrants in America and an in depth look at organized crime -- most notably in Chicago and its outlying suburbs. I could not help but feel sympathy for Capone throughout the book as the author does an excellent job of describing all facets of Capone' [...]


    • My first venture into the True Crime genre and I enjoyed all 625 pages. I would give the book 4 stars if not for the length, I started to lose interest somewhere in the middle. The book started picking up again during the trial, seriously who would have the balls to testify against Al Capone? Most memorable moment would have to be the poop throwing fight in Alcatraz which would eventually get Capone transferred to the mainland. He pretty much loses it due to the syphilis he contracted when he wa [...]


    • I am technically cheating because I haven't finished reading it. I've been at it for almost a month now and I'm only half way through with it. The book as other reviews mention is very detailed. Nonetheless Mr. Bergreen does a wonderful job at making it run smoothly and the information provided is thought provoking and is something new to this Chicago native. My only draw back is that I would like for it to provide more insight into the 1920s. When not talking about Capone the author discusses o [...]


    • Beautifully researched, comprehensive biography and cultural history of early 20th Century America. The author has a fluent, easy style that makes the pages turn themselves. Absolute necessity for any serious work on the criminal gangs of the 1930s.


    • Al Capone. A riddle wrapped up in an enigma. How do you distinguish fact from fiction? Laurence Bergreen does a pretty good job of this. The public Capone was a bootlegger, racketeer, pimp, gambler. The private Capone was a devoted family man, generous to a fault. Capone loved the limelight and ultimately this lead to his downfall on income tax evasion of all things.Bergreen presents a detailed and interesting account of Capone's life. It takes us back to a time when Gangsters ruled the roost in [...]


    • Bergreen is a very good writer and this is a well-written, comprehensive biography. The problem is that Al Capone simply isn't that interesting and his life of crime isn't that fascinating. It picks up a bit when the US government starts pursuing him, but it isn't enough to save the book from Capone's dullness. In truth, the peripheral characters are more interesting than Capone and help give the book some life. At over 600 pages, the book was simply too long and reading it was ultimately exhaus [...]


    • This is the best biography available of one of America's most dynamic public figures- part gangster, part politician, part socialite, part philanthropist humanitarian. Three times in the past I have attempted to write and produce a stage musical based on Capone, but the composer has quit every time for personal reasons. It'll still happen someday, I believe, and Bergreen's book is one of the most useful and riveting nonfiction works I've come across yet.


    • Buy this bookThis well written book is a terrific read and exams in depth the life and times of Al Capone. Written with both a great historical perspective and a deep biography, this book heps the reader understand how Capone rose to the place of power he held. The life of Capone is aso a literary lesson on the rise and fall of corrupt men. Great read. Highly recommend this book.


    • This is one of my favourite books, not just within it's own topic but of all my books. At the moment, it's tucked away in a box in my loft but I think a re-read is about due.For someone highly interested in the subject but also wanting a juicy read rather than dry facts - as I am - this hits the spot. This is a hefty book, 3 inches deep, thin pages, small typeface. Start in the autumn and hibernate with it all winter.


    • This book explains the life of the greatest mobster in Chicago history, Al Capone. He was a helpful man, but he wasn't scared to get his hands dirty. Capone didn't want anyone in the mob life style, and he joined because he was in street gangs in New York to stay protected since he had parents who immigrated from Italy. Great biography.


    • Informative but really exhausting. There was a lot of information in this book but I'd have preferred it to be more concise and more sensationalized but this really went on some long tangents when I would have just have it rather focus all on Al Capone


    • This turned into a slog. There was just too much detail. The book was still interesting in that it completely covered the period and the life of Al Capone. If you or you have a family member with a Chicago connection you might like the book.


    • Very well balanced review, written in a very approachable style. Extremely well researched and covers Capone's life, but equally interesting is the picture it paints of the time, especially prohibitioh Chicago. It's important it is well written as it runs to around 700 pages.


    • Not a quick read, but a really well written account of Al Capone's life, and the state of America in his era which remains interesting throughout.






    • I found this book in a discarded pile while I was working as an intern at Simon and Shuster. It's one of the best, most colorful, and well-balanced biographies I ever read.


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