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Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925

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Overview


Many people are familiar with the story of Al Capone, the “untouchable” Chicago gangster best known for orchestrating the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But few are aware that Capone’s remarkable story began in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn, New York. Tutored by the likes of infamous mobsters Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale, young Capone’s disquieting demeanor, combined with the “technical advice” he learned from these insidious pedagogues, contributed to the molding of a brutal criminal whose pseudonym, ...
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Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925

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Overview


Many people are familiar with the story of Al Capone, the “untouchable” Chicago gangster best known for orchestrating the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But few are aware that Capone’s remarkable story began in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn, New York. Tutored by the likes of infamous mobsters Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale, young Capone’s disquieting demeanor, combined with the “technical advice” he learned from these insidious pedagogues, contributed to the molding of a brutal criminal whose pseudonym, “Scarface,” evoked fascination throughout the world.

Despite the best efforts of previous biographers lacking true insider’s access, details about Capone’s early years have, until now, mostly been shrouded in mystery. With access gained through invaluable familial connections, the authors were able to open the previously sealed mouths of Capone’s known living associates. Collecting information through these interviews and never-before-published documents, the life of young Al Capone at last comes into focus.

Among the many revelations in Young Al Capone are new details about the brutal Halloween Night murder of rival gangster “Wild Bill” Lovett, grisly details on how Capone and his Black Hand crew cleverly planned the shootout and barbaric hatchet slaying of White Hand boss, Richard “Peg Leg” Lonergan, insight into the dramatic incident that forced Capone to leave New York, and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This story of Capone's early years in Brooklyn is a captivating look at one of the 20th century's most notorious criminals. With the assistance of his brother John, noted Capone historian William Balsamo compiles a compendium of little-known facts about the gangster's formative years from 1899 to 1925. One novel feature of this biography is the use of first-person accounts from those who knew Scarface and were part of his inner circle during this time. The road to Chicago was paved with incidents ranging from how he received the scar and developed his famous stare to more serious crimes in his neighborhood, including the precursor to the infamous St. Valentine's Day massacre. The inclusion of 16 pages of original black-and-white photographs from the private collection of William Balsamo, a distant relative of Brooklyn's first godfather, Batista Balsamo, provides a rare perspective. VERDICT This riveting and detailed narrative will draw readers in. Highly recommended for those interested in criminology and the psychology of crime.—Claire Franek, MSLS, Brockport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616080853
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Balsamo, considered by many to be one of the premier Capone historians, is the author of Crime,
Inc.
and Young Al Capone. Mr. Balsamo’s many television appearances include the Sally Jesse Raphael Show, The Geraldo Rivera Show, and various documentary features.

John Balsamo is the chief executive of SUPERDON INC., a company that markets board games. Prior to that, John worked on the Brooklyn waterfront for more than thirty years while compiling extensive material regarding the life of young Al Capone.

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Table of Contents

Authors' note ix

Introduction xi

Gang Rosters xv

1 Touch Us If You Dare! 1

2 Shoeshines and Shopping Bags 11

3 Eyes in the Mirror 23

4 A Yale Education 41

5 The Cigar Box 47

6 Going for Baccala 63

7 To Catch a Star 75

8 The Man Who Created Scarface 109

9 Ma, Dance with Pa! 125

10 Chicago, Here I Come! 133

11 Crazy Benny's Watery Grave 167

12 The Interrupted Honeymoon 179

13 New Underworld Order 191

14 Fish in the Barrel 227

15 The Peg Leg Murders 245

Acknowledgments 261

About the Authors 263

Index 265

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2013

    I bought the book expecting the story behind Al Capone and up to

    I bought the book expecting the story behind Al Capone and up to a point that is what it covered but then the story just stops. It says nothing about when he was tried for various crimes, the gun charge that got him one year in prison or the tax problems that landed him in prison. There was not even the mention of the VD that killed him. The book was ok but this was only part of the life of Al Capone. The author did a good job but it was far from finished. It was like reading 15 chapters of a 25 chapter book and then stopping.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Riverting book

    A great read from begining to end . Mr.Balsamo did a fantastic job with this book.It was very hard to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Hi

    Hi

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    Interesting

    Great read with a new story on an old topic

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Havent read

    Iz it good

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Biography On Young Al!

    I grew up in a house in which I was the only person that didn't read for pleasure. To encourage me to read more, it was suggested that I find a topic that interested me and to read whatever I wanted about it. The readng avenue I chose to go down that worked to turn me into the avid reader I am today was the Mafia; and I began reading a series of biographies and non-fictional accounts on this subject. While my reading tastes have become more diversified over the years, I still, to this day, enjoy reading books on this topic. So. I was quick to get a copy of Young Al Capone as soon as it hit the stores. While I have read several books about Al Capone, most focused on his career after he was already the leader of the Chicago Mob. What differentiates this book from other books about Capone is that it focuses primarily on his early years growing up in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn, New York. Tutored by mobsters Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale, the book goes on to describe in an interesting, fast-reading manner Capone's being molded into the brutal criminal he later became. Among the interesting but little known facts brought out by the authors, William Balsamo and John Balsamo, are new details about the brutal Halloween Night murder of rival gangster of "Wild Bill' Lovett, how Capone and his Black Hand crew planned the slaying of White Hand boss Richard "Peg Leg" Lonegan, insight into the incident that forced Capone to leave New York for Chicago, and how he got the scars on his face that led to his legendary nickname, Scarface. In addition to the book's providing many new details and insights, what helps to make it as fast-moving as it is, is the authors' frequent use of dialogue between Capone and his associates. The authors explain that the dialogue is to serve as a means to provide a plausible discourse to the events as defined by the historical record. It is not intended to come off as the actual conversations that Capone had. All in all, I enjoyed reading Young Al Capone both for the interesting new things I learned and for the authors' writing style. While the authors report that they have done extensive research on Capone's early years and on the Mafia in general, I would have liked for them to have included a bibliography and/or historical notes section that showed details of the specific research and interviews that were conducted. I am not doubting that what they describe in the book is true but I would liked to have more than just "blind faith" for the book's accuracy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    OUTSTANDING BOOK, EASY READING AND INFORMATIVE

    At last a book that tells the story of Al Capone before he went west.
    Chuck full of previously untold facts and stories that helped contribute to molding the most infamous gangster of the 20th Century. Especially interesting to anyone who grew up in Brooklyn and can relate to the locales mentioned in the book. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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