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The Heroic Gangster: The Story of Monk Eastman, from the Streets of New York to the Battlefields of Europe and Back
     

The Heroic Gangster: The Story of Monk Eastman, from the Streets of New York to the Battlefields of Europe and Back

by Neil Hanson
 

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Monk Eastman was born in 1873 to a respectable New York family. By the age of eighteen he was running the streets of Lower Manhattan, first starting as a bouncer, and later as a gang leader who led an army of two thousand. He had both politicians and cops in his pocket and seemed untouchable.

That all changed when he was sentenced to ten years at Sing Sing

Overview


Monk Eastman was born in 1873 to a respectable New York family. By the age of eighteen he was running the streets of Lower Manhattan, first starting as a bouncer, and later as a gang leader who led an army of two thousand. He had both politicians and cops in his pocket and seemed untouchable.

That all changed when he was sentenced to ten years at Sing Sing prison after several battles with Pinkerton detectives. He ended up losing all his territory and by the time he got out, realized that the streets were no longer safe enough for him to be around. With that, he immediately joined the New York National Guard, going from a street kingpin to a lowly private.

Taking what he learned from the streets, Monk quickly proved himself, as his division was put on the front lines during the trench warfare of World War I. He came back to New York a hero and was given a governor’s pardon. He was back on top; but the real question was, would he be able to leave his past behind? This incredible story, told by Neil Hanson, relives for the reader the history of Monk Eastman, New York, and a pivotal point in our country’s history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This celebration of Monk Eastman (1875–1920), is brought to life by Hanson (Unknown Soldiers) in his biography of the gangster. The son of a respectable Manhattan paperhanger, Eastman set himself on a dark path as a thief, robber, and brawler among the decaying tenements of the Lower East Side, moving up to assemble a powerful criminal empire of protection rackets, gambling, and prostitution. Following the infamous battle of Rivington Street with a rival gang, Eastman locked horns with Pinkerton agents, landing in Sing Sing with a 10-year sentence. Released after five years, he found a changed New York, free of gangs and Tammany Hall. At age 43, Eastman joined the army. Most effective is the book's second part dealing with the battlefront in the deadly trenches of WWI as Eastman distinguishes himself in action, earning military honors and redemption upon his return. But in a final twist, readers learn that though Monk had left the gangs behind, the gangs hadn't left him. This is a first-rate work of a singular life. 8 pages of illus., 2 maps, and 2 illus. in text. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620878156
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Neil Hanson is the author of several acclaimed works of narrative history, including First Blitz, The Custom of the Sea, and The Unknown Soldier. He lives in Yorkshire Dales in England with his family.

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