Crimetown U.S.A.: The History of the Mahoning Valley Mafia: Organized Crime Activity in Ohio's Steel Valley 1933-1963

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Overview

"Crimetown, U.S.A." is a narrative of organized crime in Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding Mahoning Valley during the years 1933 to 1963. It begins with the Valley's participation in the Midwest Crime Wave of 1933-34, describing the demise of the legendary bank robber "Pretty Boy" Floyd. This is followed by the demise of one of the Valley's own in the brutal slaying of "Happy" Marino, which also happens to be one of the Valley's few gangland murders in which all the participants were tried, convicted and sent ...
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Overview

"Crimetown, U.S.A." is a narrative of organized crime in Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding Mahoning Valley during the years 1933 to 1963. It begins with the Valley's participation in the Midwest Crime Wave of 1933-34, describing the demise of the legendary bank robber "Pretty Boy" Floyd. This is followed by the demise of one of the Valley's own in the brutal slaying of "Happy" Marino, which also happens to be one of the Valley's few gangland murders in which all the participants were tried, convicted and sent to prison.
The mid-to-late 1930s is chronicled showing the dominance of the ethnic-based lottery houses, which operated in Youngstown. These operations came to end after a run-away grand jury created enough interest to draw the governor's attention. The late 1940s saw the height of popularity of the infamous Jungle Inn gambling den, located just over the Mahoning County line in Trumbull County. The history of this establishment is chronicled in "Welcome to the Jungle Inn," also by Allan R. May, and is a companion book to "Crimetown U.S.A." describing the history of organized crime in Warren and Trumbull County, Ohio.
By the end of the 1940s the citizens of Youngstown put a new mayor in City Hall. Charles Henderson ran on the platform of "Smash Racket Rule" in the city. The man he brought in to do the "smashing" was Edward J. Allen. The feisty and fearless police chief began by chasing out two-thirds of the Valley's "Big 3," including Mafia member Joe DiCarlo, who muscled into the race wire service and controlled the local bookmaking.
This period was followed by what was known as the "bug" craze, which was the Valley's nickname for the numbers game or policy, as it was also known. The battle for dominance resulted in a bombing war throughout the 1950s for supremacy in this field by the city's top policy racketeers, Sandy Naples and Vince DeNiro. By the end of the 1950s, Youngstown had become known as "Bomb Town."
In the early 1960s, the bombs that were used to scare the competition were now being used to eliminate it. A wave of vicious killings took place, some taking the lives of innocent people. No murder was more notorious than the November 1962 car-bombing that took the lives of "Cadillac Charlie" Cavallaro and his 11-year old son. The senseless killing shocked the country and brought national attention to Youngstown. It also brought the city an everlasting and despised nickname, "Crimetown, U.S.A."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983703754
  • Publisher: Conallan Press LLC
  • Publication date: 7/16/2013
  • Pages: 650
  • Sales rank: 246,696
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan R. May is an organized crime historian from Cleveland, Ohio. May began his writing career with a brief stint working for the Dean of organized crime writers, Jerry Capeci, at his popular "Gangland News" website. May moved on to write for Rick Porello's AmericanMafia.com, Court TV's "CrimeLibrary" and CrimeMagazine.com.

May was a key contributor to the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He has taught classes on the history of organized crime at Cuyahoga Community College's Senior Adult Education Program and gives lectures throughout northeastern Ohio. May is the historian at Lake View Cemetery and is on its Speaker's Bureau.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    From the movie-like characters "Happy" Marino, "S

    From the movie-like characters "Happy" Marino, "Sledgehammer" Jerry, "Fats" Aiello, Joe "The Wolf" (and way too many more to name here) to the unbelievable crimes they committed, Crimetown, USA is an encyclopedia of the mob's control of Youngstown, Ohio. This book gives every detail on Youngstown, Ohio's underworld from 1933-1963. Unlike other cities where bootleggers rose to power, the repeal of prohibition started a free-for-all in the gambling rackets of Ohio's Mahoning Valley. The "Bug" (the policy), the horse-race wire service and other criminal casino enterprises kept the city wide open and every gangster around wanted a piece.

    If you've ever read Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest, you would think a place like Personville, aka "Poisonville," couldn't really exist. You'd be wrong. Crimetown, USA is the REAL version of Hammett's fictional city and Allan May expertly provides the facts.

    It was especially interesting to read how the underworld in Youngstown went from multi-cultured (Greek, Irish, Croatian etc) to being run solely by the Italians in just a few short decades. Even more intriguing were the parts about the police. An entire city-wide campaign known as "Smash Rackets Rule" was put in place with the election of a new mayor. Corruption ran so deep, the reforming new mayor had to bring in a police chief from outside the state to run his police force. Mayor Henderson and Chief Eddie Allen fought valiantly to clean up the streets and rid the city of gangsters but eventually they too were given the boot.

    Once the reformers were out of the way, Crimetown became wide open again and what followed was a decade of bombings that shook the town to it's core. The mob war for control of Youngstown's rackets killed many of the top gangsters in town and took some innocent lives along the way.

    I've read dozens of books on Chicago and New York, I've seen all the mob shows on tv and still couldn't believe that everything in this book took place in a small city like Youngstown, Ohio. Truly amazing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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