Customer Reviews for

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Action Packed Novel

    The Gangs Of New York In the book The Gangs Of New York the setting takes place back 16 years before the civil war started in about 1863. As the title states the setting is in New York where the mob and corruption took a major part in everyday life. The book starts with Amsterdam Vallan who at a young age (about 16) see¿s his father, Priest Vallan killed in a street brawls between gangs. The man responsible for Vallans death, William Cutting who is known as ¿Bill the Butcher¿. Amsterdam is set for revenge for the man who killed his father. He comes up with an idea to get on Bill¿s good and trustworthy side and the plan works. But as he gathers the power he is starting to loose his thought of revenge as he is feeling some admiration for the butcher. Things continue to fall downhill and he himself becomes what his father was, taking the same spot he did as a gang leader. The major messages and themes in this book shows how people that had power back in those days could almost in a way rule the town if you will. By seeking so much revenge he had fallen into a trap by the butcher which also shows the power and corruptness. My likes on this book is that is an interesting book that involves action, suspense, good story line and makes the reader want to keep going. I honestly had no major dislikes in this book, as I mentioned before it had kept me going and I wanted to see what Amsterdam would do in ways of retaliation toward his father. By him falling in a trap gets the reader off as in the reader wouldn¿t expect that to happen so there are no major dislikes. I think people that are interested in good story lines, plots and like shows as in The Sopranos, The Godfather and other mafia movies. If people like calm, happy stories without violence or intense novels this is not the book to read. My overall rating is a 5 out of 5, books like these keep me entertained and wanting to know the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2006

    Great READ!!!

    Book is awesome...in depth detail of down town 19th century New York...it almost turns these criminals into legends, because thats exactly what they were in their time...The movie is much different than the book, ie how Bill the Butcher dies... but overall a must for anyone interested in NY history

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2005

    Far from the best account of Five Points

    Written in a prissy, nose in the air, dated prose, 'Gangs of NY' is a salacious account of NYC's Five Points neighborhood in bloody, gory detail. Clearly Scorsese's over the top film was inspired by this account, and both are sure to titillate. I found Anbinder's 'Five Points' a much better read on this subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    A slice of history and a good read.

    This book is a good read from start to finish. A must read for history buffs. It was suprising for me to see the media powers that are promote a book that admits the history of gangs in this country were started by young white men. You would think through media supression and stereo types that the last gangs of white men that existed were the greaser gangs of the 1950's. Some honest history was insightful, entertaining and refreshing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2003

    false reference

    In section 2 of chapter one of this book it gives a reference to Bunker Hill as if it were in New York. 'The principle scene of this sport was Bunker Hill, about a hundred feet north of the present line of Grand street, near Mulberry, where the Americans erected a fort during the Revolution and defended it valiantly against the British troops under General Howe.' That is a direct quote from the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2003

    A Great Mythology of Mayhem

    Re-reading Asbury's classic "Gangs of New York" was sort of like re-reading Homer's "Iliad" with its litany of battles and combatants, and because of its epic sweep. But also like "The Iliad" beware that these stories are terribly difficult to verify, and many border on myth. Having said that, I would still recommend this book to anyone wishing to get a sense of what 19th Century downtown NY was like. And I would also recommend it for the joyful flavor beneath Asbury's story-telling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2003

    Great book!

    This was a great book! I loved it from start to finish. It really made me realize how much my high school history teachers left out, not to mention the textbooks. An eye-opening experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2002

    Good, but 'Irish Gangs And Stick-Fighting' better

    This is a good book. It tells the story of the gangs which infested New York from the early 1800's up until about 1925 when the book was originally published. The first half of the book though, deals exclusively with the Irish Gangs who started the gangster culture in America. Hurley's book (Irish Gangs And Stick-Fighting) is much more informative about the Irish gangs and their culture. Asbury was an outsider looking in, while Hurley's book contains stories written by an actual Gaelic Irish shillelagh fighter. I recommend this book but to really understand it, you need Irish Gangs And Stick-Fighting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2001

    A Great Re-release

    How great it was to see this classic back in circulation! Asbury has a great knack for telling stories about this dark side of Manhattan's history! So what if some of it is based on lore and secondary sources? (It is an Informal Study, after all.) One gets the sense that even if some of these stories aren't entirely true, they aren't far off the mark! And Borges' introduction is superb!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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