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Publishers WeeklyThe true crime story behind Elia Kazan's award-winning 1954 film On the Waterfront is exhaustively detailed in this new history from Catholic historian Fisher (Communion of Immigrants), who follows the tight web of dockworkers, union organizers, crime bosses, politicians and church leaders bound for decades to the corrupt Irish-controlled ports. Fisher begins just after the Civil War, when Irish Tammany assumed control of Manhattan's Lower West Side waterfront with a mob-like system of violence and intimidation. Trading in bribes, fees, and exploitive labor that impoverished the communities they helped build, the crime bosses finally met their match in the 1940s, with the Jesuit priest John M. "Pete" Corridan. A hard-drinking, foul-spoken, yet unimpeachable leader hewn from the same rock as the wicked men he opposed, Corrigan possessed a knowledge of dock dynamics and a tactician's skill to rival any of the crime bosses'; in his effort to retake the ports, Corrigan played politicians, the media, and even Hollywood powerbrokers while converting thousands to the cause. Possibly the most thorough genealogy of Irish-American waterfront crime to date, this dense work may put off some readers, but will more than satisfy anyone devoted to this singular slip of New York history.
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