Augie's Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip

Augie's Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip

by Neal Karlen

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There's an old Yiddish saying: two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. But two living people could keep a secret—as long as one of them was Augie.

Augie Ratner, the proprietor of Augie's Theater Lounge&Bar on Hennepin Avenue, was the unofficial mayor of Minneapolis's downtown strip in the 1940s and '50s. In a few blocks between the swanky clubs and restaurants on Eighth Street and the sleazy flophouses and bars of the Gateway District, the city's shakers-and-movers and shake-down artists mingled. Gangsters and celebrities, comedians and politicians, the rich and the famous and the infamous—all of them met at Augie's: Jimmy Hoffa, Henny Youngman, Kid Cann, John Dillinger, Jack Dempsey, Peggy Lee, Groucho Marx, Lenny Bruce, and Gypsy Rose Lee. Augie Ratner knew everyone, and everyone knew and liked Augie, and they told him everything.

Mixing careful research with long suppressed family and community stories, Neal Karlen, Augie's great-nephew, tells the real story of the seamy underside of Minneapolis, where Jewish mobsters controlled the liquor trade, invented the point spread in sports betting, and ran national sports gambling operations. Even after Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey supposedly cleaned up the town, organized crime quietly flourished. And Augie was at the center, observing it all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780873518970
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date: 04/01/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Neal Karlen, who has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, is the author or co-author of six books.

Table of Contents

1 Augie's Secrets 3

2 "Not Bad; Not Bad" 23

3 Hennepin Avenue 31

4 The Bad Old Days 45

5 Kid Cann 59

6 The Minneapolis Line 73

7 Davie Berman 91

8 Live at Augie's Theatre Lounge 111

9 Ink 146

10 Whatever Happened to Isadore Blumenfeld? 154

11 The Fall of Minneapolis 163

Acknowledgments 179

Notes 187

Bibliography 195

Index 201

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Augie's Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because I knew Augie, it was fun to read about him, however there were a lot of "facts" that were wrong because it was primarily written from third-hand heresay from the author's father, who was a second or third cousin of Augie's. Furthermore, it wasn't very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. You will too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great mn history and entertaining too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago