Paddy Whacked [NOOK Book]

Overview

Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organized crime expert T. J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike "King Mike" McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader; and James "Whitey" Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie ...

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Paddy Whacked

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Overview

Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organized crime expert T. J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike "King Mike" McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader; and James "Whitey" Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie legend. Stretching from the earliest New York and New Orleans street wars through decades of bootlegging scams, union strikes, gang wars, and FBI investigations, Paddy Whacked is a riveting tour de force that restores the Irish American gangster to his rightful preeminent place in our criminal history -- and penetrates to the heart of the American experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061868153
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 177,721
  • File size: 639 KB

Meet the Author

T.J. English is the New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne, Paddy Whacked, The Westies, and Born to Kill, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. His screenwriting credits include TV episodes of NYPD Blue and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

1 Blood at the root 13
2 A perfect hell on earth 43
3 Up from mud city 71
4 Delirium tremens or new clothes on an old dame 105
5 The Dagos vs. the Micks 137
6 Requiem for a mad dog 171
7 The smoke-filled room and other tales of political malfeasance 199
8 Hard hats and hard men 229
9 The patriarch 259
10 Irish vs. Irish 291
11 I left my heart in Hell's Kitchen 325
12 Last call at the Celtic Club 357
13 Mickey's monkey 385
14 Southie serenade : Whitey on the run 411
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First Chapter

Paddy Whacked
The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster

Chapter One

Blood at the Root

John Morrissey was a young ruffian -- a teenage, Irish punk with no job, no money, and few possessions other than the clothes on his back. The year was 1849, and Morrissey had just arrived in New York City from the upstate town of Troy, where he had been raised after moving from Ireland with his parents at the age of three. In Troy, Morrissey developed a reputation as a brawler and a troublemaker. He'd been indicted for burglary, assault, and assault with intent to kill; served a sixty-day stint in the county jail; and was under constant harassment from local authorities. They said eighteen-year-old Morrissey was a gangster, but the young man knew in his heart that his ambitions were too great for that two-horse town. And so, possessing a restless energy that could not be contained in the placid, confined roads of small-town America, he set out for the great metropolis 160 miles to the south, where pilgrims, immigrants, and refugees were presently arriving in droves.

Morrissey knew exactly where he needed to go: the Empire Club, a gambling parlor and political clubhouse that was famous throughout the state. Located on Park Row in lower Manhattan, the club was the home base of Captain Isaiah Rynders, legendary sporting man, gambling impresario, and political fixer for the Democratic party. Rynders was the employer of hundreds of political operatives, gambling club workers, saloon keepers, and gangsters; his organization was at the heart of a political machine that made the great city hum. Morrissey -- hungry, hard-headed, and propelled by the desires of youth -- was determined to harness the power of Rynders's organization to raise himself out of the ghetto and make his mark in the world.

He arrived at the Empire Club on one June afternoon, stood overlooking the gaming tables and declared, "I'm here to say I can lick any man in this place."

Captain Rynders himself, presiding at a gaming table, looked up at the intrepid young man -- five-foot-eleven inches tall, maybe 175 pounds, with a barrel chest and hands the size of meat hooks; impressive, yes, but not so imposing that he could intimidate with sheer physical presence alone.

"And who might you be?" Rynders asked the young Irishman.

"My name is John Morrissey, and I'm the toughest pugilist on the eastern seaboard. I'm here to prove it."

Rynders pursed his lips in an enigmatic Mona Lisa-smile for which he was famous and glanced around at his fellow club members. He assessed the brash youngster, looking him over from head to toe, then nodded for his underlings to advance. They descended upon the young punk with fists, bottles, chairs, slung shots, and other weapons. Morrissey more than held his own until Big Tom Burns smacked him behind the ear with a spittoon, knocking the young hooligan unconscious.

When Morrissey awoke he was laying on a cot in the back of the Empire Club with a knot the size of an acorn on the crown of his skull. Captain Rynders, dressed in finery the likes of which Morrissey had never seen before, stood over the bruiser and said, "You're a bold, young bastard."

Morrissey felt the lump on his head and said nothing.

"I want you to come work for me. You'll make a fine shoulder-hitter for the organization. You can stay at my boarding house and work the docks."

And so began the political career of young John Morrissey.

He was put to work as an immigrant runner, one of hundreds who worked Castle Garden wharf in lower Manhattan, where the immigrant ships disgorged their human cargo. Each day he watched the arrival of his countrymen, and his heart ached at what he saw.

Having been born in Templemore, County Tipperary in 1831 and raised in an Irish slum in America, Morrissey knew a thing or two about poverty. In Troy, whenever his father was able to find work, it had been at the local wallpaper factory or on the docks alongside other Irish laborers. Young John had grown up believing his family was dirt poor, but what he saw at Castle Garden made him reassess his circumstances. Gaunt, haunted Irish peasants arrived by the boatload, weak from dropsy and gout, clinging to satchels that contained all that they owned. They told shocking tales of the Great Famine that had ravaged the Old Country over the last few years and of the horrific, disease-ridden journey across the ocean in hopes of a better future.

It was Morrissey's job to greet these new arrivals and direct them to soup kitchens and boarding houses controlled by the Rynders organization. Mixed in among the many legitimate immigrant runners were dozens of con artists and "land sharks," men who preyed upon the ignorant new arrivals. Later accounts of the era often characterized the job of the immigrant runner as that of a parasite, which may have been a bit harsh. Certainly the position straddled the line between charity and exploitation. Among runners, Morrissey developed a reputation as a tough though fair man who directed hundreds of desperate immigrants to food and lodging. In exchange, they signed voter cards and pledged their support to the political organization that Morrissey represented. On election day, it was Morrissey's job to see that these people delivered on their pledge -- under the threat of violence, if necessary.

Along with tens of thousands of other Irish immigrants arriving in New York City on a monthly basis, Morrissey found lodging in Five Points, the infamous slum neighborhood that dominated the Sixth Ward at the lower tip of Manhattan island. For a time, he lived in a boarding house on Cherry Street and frequented a grog shop, or speakeasy, on lower Broadway known as the Gem Saloon.

Five Points was a lively area though the physical conditions of the district were awful. Laid out on top of what had once been a sewage pond known as the Collect, Five Points had evolved ...

Paddy Whacked
The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster
. Copyright © by T. English. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2005

    Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster

    A sad but great detailed look into Irish American history. At times it is actually scairy that these things even occured in the U.S. and only blocks from where I had grown up. I enjoyed this better than the 'Westies' , which is one of my all time fav's. Good luck to T.J.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster

    A must read for any Irish-American. I found this book 10 times better than 'The Westies', and that was a great book. I read it in two sittings. A+

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2005

    A classic and monumental history of poor inner city Irish in America.

    TJ English masterfully ties together 150 years of Irish American criminal history from the desperate hooligans created by the great potato famine of the1850s to their descendants still living in Irish American ghettos today. The American inner city world of politics and crime, in English¿s skilled hands, becomes a sort of ¿new old country¿ in which the reader is completely immersed with brutal stories of desperation and survival. If you are a crime buff of any kind you will not be able to put this book down. If you are Irish American and curious about why we are the way we are, this book is a high powered microscope focused on the primal struggles of the toughest of the tough, trying to get ahead using the only skill they ever learned on the streets of America, violent crime.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    The Real Mobsters

    The real mobsters in the United States underworld were not, as this book makes clear, the Mafia or La Cosa Nostra. It was the good old paddies from counties Galway, Donegal, and Kerry in Ireland who came over in the mass immigration from English tryanny and entrenched themselves within a generation into the preeminent political force behind the WASPS in our society. Being an Irish American with several other ethnicities, but primarily Irish, I proudly found out that the Irish mob had its fair share of very illustriuiousally colorful but otherwise savage characters in its history like Old Smoke Morrissey, Mike McDonald, Owney Madden, Big Bill Dwyer, George 'Bugs' Moran, the Celtic bomber fatalist Danny 'The Irishman' Greene, Pat Nee, and my personal favorite, Dion O'Bannion, who told Al Capone that those 'Sicilians can go to hell.' The war between the dagos and the micks started into an underground war that reverberates on the streets to this day. Also in this authoritaive paean is back gangland stories of Lucky Luciano and his ushering the Irish off the center stage. Also is the patriarch and the brilliance of the white-collar side of the Irish mob in the form of Joseph P. Kennedy. English has a marvellous chapter on the second-generation Kennedys as they played hardball against the Italians and Jack ended up on the wrong side of the bullet as a resul t of Bobby's crusading and Joseph's dealing with La Cosa Nostra, particularly Giacona. The latter-day Irish mobsters were repugnant, straying from the old ways, being dry snitches and C.I.'s for the government, especially Whitey Bulger. The Westies were the most malicious group of the Irish and the off-the-wall in drug taking and their liquor (a regrettable habit of the Irish), whereas Whitey and his partner Steve Flemmi were nothing but Third World thugs ruling an American borough on the East Coast. Whitey was particularly brutal and evil, quite simply, a killer just for killings' sake because he enjoyed while Flemmi was psychotic especially with women. As English writes, 'Only the demons survive.'

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    irish eyes really do smile

    If uve seen gangs of new york, and liked it, then u will love this read. Plenty of historical facts that take u back when new york was a gangster ran city. Nothing really changes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    learned more than i xpected and very interestin to read .....

    learned more than i xpected and very interestin to read .....

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    And you thought the Irish were all religious!

    Slow in places, but a very good read - especially if you're Irish.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    PADDYWHACKED

    EXCELLENT !!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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