Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster
  • Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster
  • Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster

Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster

3.9 32
by Jonathan Eig
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Drawing on thousands of pages of recently discovered government documents, wiretap transcripts, and Al Capone’s handwritten personal letters, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the nation’s most notorious criminal in rich new detail.

From the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1920,

…  See more details below

Overview

Drawing on thousands of pages of recently discovered government documents, wiretap transcripts, and Al Capone’s handwritten personal letters, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the nation’s most notorious criminal in rich new detail.

From the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1920, Capone found himself in a world of limitless opportunity. He was an impetuous, affable young man of average intelligence, ill prepared for fame and fortune, whose most notable characteristic was his scarred left cheek. Yet within a few years, Capone controlled an illegal bootlegging business with annual revenue rivaling that of some of the nation’s largest corporations. Along the way he corrupted the Chicago police force and local courts while becoming one of the world’s first international celebrities.

A furious President Herbert Hoover insisted that Capone be brought to justice because the criminal was making a mockery of federal law. Legend credits Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables” with apprehending Capone. But it was the U.S. attorney in Chicago and little-known agents working on direct orders from the White House who compromised their ethics—and risked their lives—to get their man.

The most infamous crime attributed to Capone was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a crime that Capone insisted he didn’t commit. Using newly discovered FBI records, Eig offers a surprising explanation for the murders.

Get Capone explores every aspect of the man called “Scarface,” paying particular attention to the myths that have for so long surrounded and obscured him. Capone emerges as a worldly, emotionally complex man, doomed as much by his ego as by his vicious criminality. This is the real Al Capone.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Not since the hunt for John Wilkes Booth... had so many sources been brought to bear in an attempt to jail one man,” writes former Chicago magazine editor Eig (Opening Day). But Al Capone eluded them all—even J. Edgar Hoover. In a page-turning account, Eig details the chase for the elusive Capone, dissecting both the man and his myth. Born in Brooklyn in 1899, Alphonse Capone came to a booming, bustling, corrupt, and very thirsty Chicago in 1920, just as Prohibition began. Rising swiftly through the underworld ranks, Capone soon headed a crime syndicate he dubbed “the outfit,” which dealt in bootleg alcohol, racketeering, drugs, and prostitution. Eig traces the largely unsuccessful efforts by various law enforcement agencies to bring him down. He focuses on U.S. Attorney George E.Q. Johnson, who finally saw Capone convicted in 1931 for tax evasion and conspiring to violate Prohibition laws, leading to an 11-year prison sentence. Using previously unreleased IRS files, Johnson's papers, even notes he discovered for a ghostwritten Capone autobiography, Eig presents a multifaceted portrait of a shrewd man who built a criminal empire worth millions. 16 pages of b&w photos. (May 1)
James McManus
Much of this tale is familiar from earlier books…Yet Eig's is a welcome, even necessary, update…he sketches fresh profiles of scores of Italian, Irish and Polish mobsters, and of three presidents, three Chicago mayors and dozens of minor officials…Panoramic yet sharply focused, Get Capone is as much a dark history of urban America between the world wars as it is another mobster's life story…a gore-spattered thriller and a more nuanced upgrade over previous takedowns and hagiographies.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
Former reporter Eig has brought new life to the story of Al "Scarface" Capone, reporting on the life, crimes, and fall of America's most notorious gangster. Eig accessed newly discovered material to produce this fresh take on Capone, including the papers and never-released IRS files of Chicago's U.S. attorney, George E.Q. Johnson. He also discovered a letter that contains a plausible solution to the never-solved Valentine's Day massacre. (William "Three-Fingered Jack" White may have led the massacre to avenge the gangster killing of his cousin, a cop's son.) Wrapped in this biography is an engrossing account of Prohibition, Chicago, and legal history (Johnson's innovation of charging suspected criminals of lesser crimes to get a conviction is still in use today). Eig is a fascinating storyteller who throws in the occasional bon mot ("It was cold and gray, as if February had knocked off May and taken its place") that readers will enjoy. While the book would have benefited from a "cast of characters" to help readers keep track of the many players, the accompanying web site (getcapone.com) is a treasure-trove of material, including links to FBI and IRS files. VERDICT This book should be very popular with true crime and Prohibition history buffs; highly recommended. [See "Prepub Exploded," BookSmack!, November 5, 2009.]—Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia
Kirkus Reviews
Scrupulously researched account of the men who made the 1920s roar, and the straight-arrows who stopped them. Former Chicago magazine executive editor Eig (Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season, 2007, etc.) rescues the narrative of Al Capone from the realm of pop melodrama, offering vibrant historical storytelling and a nuanced, enigmatic portrait of Capone and his Chicago milieu. The author discovered several long-forgotten archives of key documents, including unreleased IRS files and "Untouchable" Eliot Ness' wiretap transcripts. Eig constructs a plausible, often surprising narrative of criminality, but he also fleshes it out into a colorful urban social history. The Capone that emerges here is certainly a ruthless criminal, but far from the psychopath portrayed in films. He appears to be more a natural product of his time, a bemused immigrants' son who, in the brutal environment of working-class Chicago, intuited that Prohibition offered an opportunity to leap from tavern hustler to major profiteer. Capone was loyal to associates and devoted to his family, apparently tried to broker truces with other gangs before the inevitable internecine bloodbaths and loved nightlife, gambling and women so much that his nickname was "Snorky," meaning ritzy. The backdrop for Capone's evolution was a Chicago so chaotic and corrupt that its citizens actually returned the outrageously crooked mayor William Thompson to office, following a seemingly futile reform administration. Capone loved talking to the press, which thrilled people but infuriated the Feds. While "Secret Plot" seems an overstatement, Eig argues that Herbert Hoover was determined to make an example of the gangster, apreoccupation that persisted even as the Depression grew deeper. The flawed Ness' contributions were minimal, but a little-remembered state's attorney and IRS agent doggedly built an intricate case against Capone over several years. Their work seems compromised due to the interference of a vengeful judge, who threw out a plea agreement in order to send the gangster to trial and, ultimately, Alcatraz. An impressive, accessible history of a troubled time. Agent: David Black/David Black Literary Agency
From the Publisher
"[Eig] paints a masterly portrait of America's all-time favorite crime boss.... Rich in deaitl and historical context." —The Christian Science Monitor

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416580591
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
468
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

Videos

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[Eig] paints a masterly portrait of America's all-time favorite crime boss.... Rich in deaitl and historical context." —-The Christian Science Monitor

Meet the Author

Jonathan Eig is a former senior special writer for The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including two highly acclaimed bestsellers, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season. Visit him at JonathanEig.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Get Capone 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
sbDN More than 1 year ago
I have not finisd the book but so far I have learned new information that I did not know before. If you are interested in Capone and what went on in Chicago at a time when he ran Chicago you will like this book.
PrepH More than 1 year ago
Very good book which I highly recommend to any biography fan. Clearly well researched and written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
superb job telling the story you thought you knew, but really don't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i've read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and will keep you interested but pictures should have been included
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago