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Born in 1873 to a respectable New York family, Monk was running wild in Manhattan’s rough Lower East Side by the age of eighteen. He found work as a bouncer—when the saloon owner first turned him down ...
Born in 1873 to a respectable New York family, Monk was running wild in Manhattan’s rough Lower East Side by the age of eighteen. He found work as a bouncer—when the saloon owner first turned him down because he had two bouncers already, Monk beat them both up and was promptly hired in their place. He soon developed a loyal following of immigrant toughs, and by 1900, he was the most feared gang leader in lower Manhattan, protected by corrupt politicians and crooked cops, and commanding an army of two thousand pickpockets, thieves, prostitutes, and thugs.
But changing neighborhood demographics and shifting political fortunes colluded against Monk: after a pitched battle with Pinkerton detectives, he was sent to Sing Sing on a ten-year sentence, and his territory quickly slipped from his grasp. In 1917, no longer safe from the law—or from rival gangs—Monk joined the New York National Guard. As a gangster, he’d been the equivalent of a general; as an enlisted man, Monk was just another private.
After several months of combat training, Monk’s division of Brooklyn recruits was thrown headlong into the bitter trench warfare in Europe. His experience in gangland combat served him well: he was repeatedly cited by his superiors for his bravery and he received a hero’s welcome back in New York and an offical pardon from the governor. But Monk’s gangland past was not so easily erased and caught up with him in the end.
In Neil Hanson’s able hands, Monk’s unique and compelling story becomes an emblem of a time of upheaval—for New York and for the nation.
List Of Maps
Prologue A Lot Of Little Wars 7
1 The Hall Of Tears 13
2 Blacker Than A Wolf's Throat 26
3 As A Pool Reflects The Sky 39
4 A Modern Robin Hood 50
5 The Rogues' Gallery 61
6 The Gangland Code 71
7 The Wolf Of Wall Street 82
8 The Battle Of Rivington Street 95
9 The Tombs 109
10 A Napoleon Returned From Elba 129
11 O'ryan's Roughnecks 149
12 We Only See Old Men And Boys 164
13 This Realm Of Silence 173
14 The Niagara Of Shells 184
15 More Than Brothers 195
16 The Men Must Go Forward 206
17 A Sort Of Sacrifice 214
18 The Hindenburg Line 226
19 The Phantom Division 236
20 Always Shall We Honor Them 248
21 The Fighters That They Were 265
22 Victimless Crimes 277
23 Draped In Black Cloth 286
Epilogue The Way Things Have Changed 300
Posted October 5, 2010
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