Billy Bathgate

Billy Bathgate

by E. L. Doctorow
3.9 11


$11.54 $16.00 Save 28% Current price is $11.54, Original price is $16. You Save 28%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Friday, September 22 ,  Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.
    Same Day delivery in Manhattan. 


Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow

To open this book is to enter the perilous, thrilling world of Billy Bathgate, the brazen boy who is accepted into the inner circle of the notorious Dutch Schultz gang. Like an urban Tom Sawyer, Billy takes us along on his fateful adventures as he becomes good-luck charm, apprentice, and finally protégé to one of the great murdering gangsters of the Depression-era underworld in New York City. The luminous transformation of fact into fiction that is E. L. Doctorow’s trademark comes to triumphant fruition in Billy Bathgate, a peerless coming-of-age tale and one of Doctorow’s boldest and most beloved bestsellers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812981179
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/29/2010
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 290,622
Product dimensions: 8.04(w) x 5.36(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

E. L. Doctorow’s works of fiction include Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, Billy Bathgate, The Waterworks, City of God, The March, Homer & Langley, and Andrew’s Brain. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/ Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction. In 2014 he was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.


Sag Harbor, New York, and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 6, 1931

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


A.B., Kenyon College, 1952; postgraduate study, Columbia University, 1952-53

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Billy Bathgate 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've only read two of Doctorow's books, this one and _The Book of Daniel_, and this novel is about as far from daniel as you can get (though both are excellent). It's an excellent story about a boy coming of age in the 20s and 30s as a sort of member of Dutch Shultz's gang. He learns lifes lessons from these men. Doctorow's prose is lyrical, a sort of irony when you put the beautiful language Doctorow uses with the violence and moral ambiguity of the characters. This is a great culmination of Doctorow's work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent tale of an aspiring young street tough's initiation into the dangers and excitment of the gangster life, circa the 1930's, this book captures its era and the personalities it portrays with an astonishing verve and veracity. The tone and 'voice' feel right, speeding along brilliantly, while the tale, of a young fellow's awakening from gawking naivete to a certain street-smart cynicism, rings remarkably true. If there is a reason for reading fiction today, BILLY BATHGATE offers the perfect example: it is a means for carrying us into places and times now long gone which still may resonate in the contemporary soul. While the hero is a trifle too cloying for my tastes and seems rather more inured to the moral chaos he sees around him than his apparent sensibility suggests he should be, this is, finally, a small fault to find with such a deflty turned tale. Progressing from a 15-year old loner on street corners to mascot of the Dutch Schultz gang, as they hurtle down the spiral of their final decline, the self-named Billy Bathgate insinuates himself into the precarious confidences of this remakably unstable crew. Schultz, himself, the erratic gang leader, has already slipped into a dangerous condition of paranoia and isolation and his hangers-on live from moment to moment in fearful unease, unable to check the excesses of their leader or to separate themselves from him. Billy finds their life oddly mesmerizing as he gets sucked into witnessing outbursts of murder and coldly planned gangland executions, until his role brings him into the orbit of a flighty, if beautiful, society doll. Then a burgeoning adolescent crush seems to awaken him to what he has done and, as in a dream, he begins to seek a way out. The ending comes swiftly and will surprise those who have not yet seen the movie (which captures much, but not all, of the written tale). And yet the wrap-up is a little bit of a let-down (rather too pat, actually) and I longed to know more of who and what this Billy turned out to be. Yet, on balance, this was a fine novel and evidence, indeed, for the solid reputation Doctorow has earned.
Anonymous 2 days ago
A feast for anyone who enjoys the written word. I just re-read E.L. Doctorow's outstanding novel Billy Bathgate, and it's even better than I remembered. Told from the viewpoint of a poverty-stricken teenager in 1935 who catches the eye of the notorious Dutch Schultz mob and is with them until their demise, it's a tremendous experience. Part coming-of-age, part dance-with-the-devil, part homage to a departed era, and part action novel, this one's a feast for people who like the written word. Doctorow accomplishes a lot in this book, but one thing he does especially well is make deft references to events and thoughts and observations that happened earlier in the story. At the end of the novel you realize just how important it was to pay attention to the little things all the way through. He also brings real people back to life as unforgettable characters. From Schultz's brilliant right-hand man Otto "Abbadabba" Berman to his most talented hitman Bo Weinberg, from the deadly and unnamed nemesis who is unquestionably Charles "Lucky" Luciano to the volatile, crafty, and self-destructive Dutchman himself, they walk, talk, and rampage again in this story. I strongly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MonaNewYork More than 1 year ago
A brilliant, mesmerizing tour de force.