The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld

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by Herbert Asbury
     
 

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First published in 1928, Herbert Asbury's whirlwind tour through the low-life of nineteenth-century New York has become an indispensible classic of urban history.

Focusing on the saloon halls, gambling dens, and winding alleys of the Bowery and the notorious Five Points district, The Gangs of New York dramatically evokes the destitution and

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Overview

First published in 1928, Herbert Asbury's whirlwind tour through the low-life of nineteenth-century New York has become an indispensible classic of urban history.

Focusing on the saloon halls, gambling dens, and winding alleys of the Bowery and the notorious Five Points district, The Gangs of New York dramatically evokes the destitution and shocking violence of a turbulent era, when colorfully named criminals like Dandy John Dolan, Bill the Butcher, and Hell-Cat Maggie lurked in the shadows, and infamous gangs like the Plug Uglies, the Dead Rabbits, and the Bowery Boys ruled the streets. A rogues gallery of prostitutes, pimps, poisoners, pickpockets, murderers, and thieves, The Gangs of New York is a dramatic and entertaining glimpse at a city's dark past.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A distinct contribution to Americana. . . . The tale is one of blood, excitement, and debauchery.”
The New York Times

"One of the essential works of the city. . . . It owns a direct pipeline to the city's unconscious.”
—Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York

“A univeral history of infamy, the history of the gangs of New York contains all the confusion and cruelty of the barbarian cosmologies.”
—Jorge Luis Borges

“One of the best American books of its kind. Mr. Asbury writes in a direct and engaging manner.”
—Edmund Pearson, The Saturday Review of Literature

Library Journal
Journalist Asbury pulled this book together from several official sources, including police records as well as unofficial ones such as the rough memories of criminals. True to the title, the book is a history of crime both organized and not that permeated the dirty underbelly of New York City and its boroughs in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of these gangs were so vicious they would post signs warning police to stay out of their neighborhoods or else! The 1927 volume is the basis of Martin Scorsese's forthcoming film of the same name starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, so make sure to have at least one copy on hand. This edition contains numerous illustrations and a foreword by Jorge Luis Borges. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307388988
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
283,410
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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