The Incorruptibles: A True Story of Kingpins, Crime Busters, and the Birth of the American Underworld

The Incorruptibles: A True Story of Kingpins, Crime Busters, and the Birth of the American Underworld

by Dan Slater

Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross

Unabridged — 11 hours, 13 minutes

The Incorruptibles: A True Story of Kingpins, Crime Busters, and the Birth of the American Underworld

The Incorruptibles: A True Story of Kingpins, Crime Busters, and the Birth of the American Underworld

by Dan Slater

Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross

Unabridged — 11 hours, 13 minutes

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Overview

This harrowing tale of early twentieth century New York reveals the true stories of an immigrant underworld, a secret vice squad, and the rise of organized crime.

In the early 1900s, prior to World War I, New York City was a vortex of vice and corruption. On the Lower East Side, then the most crowded ghetto on earth, Eastern European Jews formed a dense web of crime syndicates. Gangs of horse poisoners and casino owners, pimps and prostitutes, thieves and thugs, jockeyed for dominance while their family members and neighbors toiled in the unregulated garment industry.

But when the notorious murder of a gambler attracted global attention, a coterie of affluent German-Jewish uptowners decided to take matters into their own hands. Worried about the anti-immigration lobby and the uncertain future of Jewish Americans, the uptowners marshalled a strictly off-the-books vice squad led by an ambitious young reformer.

The squad, known as the Incorruptibles, took the fight to the heart of crime in the city, waging war on the sin they saw as threatening the future of their community. Their efforts, however, led to unforeseen consequences in the form of a new mobster class who realized, in the country's burgeoning reform efforts, unprecedented opportunities to amass power.

In this mesmerizing and atmospheric account, drawn from never-before-seen sources and peopled with unforgettable characters, Dan Slater tells an epic and often brutal saga of crime and redemption, exhuming a buried history that shaped our modern world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bookended by the notorious killings of Herman Rosenthal in 1912 and Arnold Rothstein in 1928, both of which involved the double-dealing of police and political figures, Slater's meticulously researched history is rich in background and beyond compelling."—Phillip Zozzaro, Booklist

"A riveting account . . . Slater yields not just a gripping crime story—though it certainly is that—but also a richly detailed, informal social history of New York between the Gilded Age and the Jazz Age that, apart from its scholarly rigor, is also highly readable. A grand evocation of the Gotham of gangsters, crooked cops, 'beefsteak dungeons,' and nativists versus newcomers."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Slater takes readers on an atmospheric journey through the lens of Jewish men who ran gambling dens, prostitute rings and crime syndicates in New York City during the Gilded Age, capturing the extreme ambition of these larger-than-life characters, as well as the inequality and antisemitism of the era."—Wilson Young, New York Times

“An extraordinary glimpse into old New York’s cauldron of crime, labor, and the Jewish immigrant experience—Slater draws on the recollections of reformers and gangsters alike to put you right in the rooms and the alleyways.”—Paul Collins, author of The Murder of The Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars and Blood & Ivy: The 1849 Murder That Scandalized Harvard

“What a great book! The Incorruptibles is a true-crime page-turner that I could not put down. Even those who think they know a lot about the history of organized crime in New York City will know so much more after finishing this fascinating book.”—Tyler Anbinder, author of Plentiful Country: The Great Potato Famine and the Making of Irish New York

“If you want to visit New York’s Lower East Side of our great-grandparents, the tenement world of sweatshops, hop joints, and Jewish gangsters, you can build a time machine and set the destination to 1912, or read Dan Slater's wonderful book The Incorruptibles. In prose nearly hallucinatory in its clarity, Dan Slater dramatizes the uptown/ downtown battle that created our modern world as surely as the Spanish American War did. It's nothing but characters, this book—episodes and dazzling excitement." 
 —Rich Cohen, author of When the Game Was War: The NBA’s Greatest Season and Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams

TheIncorruptibles is a story of the underworld, of reformers bent on wiping it out, and of unintended consequences. It's a story of Jewish-America at the turn of the last century that resonates in today's America. It's not just an important book, but the kind where, as you near the end, you'll parcel out pages so as not to finish too fast.”—Larry Tye, author of Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend and Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon

“If you take your reading pleasures with a shot of unwholesome and a glass of irredeemable, then Dan Slater’s hurly burly new account of old-time New York fixers, bent pols, middle pocket cake eaters, East Side Joan of Arcs, rods, rummys, Abe the Just Rothstein and his racketeer son Arnold is just the pipe for you.”—Nicholas Dawidoff, author of The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice and the American City and The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg

Praise for Wolf Boys

"The truth is stranger than fiction and sometimes it's much more harrowing. Wolf Boys is one of those times. Dan Slater has put together a riveting story that takes us on an unforgettable descent into the dark heart of the drug trade."—Michael Connelly

“A hell of a story… undeniably gripping.”—The New York Times Book Review

"Wolf Boys is a rare book that reads like a thriller without aiming to be one. What Dan Slater does intend for it to be—and what he powerfully succeeds in creating—is an intimate, horrifying journey through a war we know is close and intractable, a war we willfully ignore with the faith that a river and a wall keeps its brutality at bay. With courageous detail and unforgettable characters, Slater will bring you not only to refute such faith, but to feel for the marginalized Americans on both sides of the conflict.”—Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Wolf Boys should be required reading, especially for anyone who supports the blood-chilling, appalling trade in illegal drugs.”—Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

“Shocking. Eye opening... Wolf Boys reads like a fictional thriller reminiscent of Brian De Palma’s Scarface, but depicts actual events. If anyone needs proof that we’re losing the war against drug cartels, here it is... A portrait of the evil that stalks our streets.”—David Morrell, author of Murder as a Fine Art

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2024-05-17
A riveting account of the corrupt landscape of early-20th-century New York City.

Well before the Five Families put their mark on organized crime, Jewish immigrants controlled the trade, exemplified by gambler and crime lord Arnold Rothstein. He started off small, building an empire piece by piece on the East Side, mostly settled by recently arrived Eastern European Jews. So did Tammany politician “Big Tim” Sullivan, who traded his upwardly mobile Irish constituency for the Jewish newcomers. At the time, the city was rife with prostitution, gambling, labor agitation, and rising leftist politics. “Ever since the Eastern European Jews began arriving,” writes Slater, author of Wolf Boys, “the German Jews worried that these unwashed co-religionists, with their orthodox religiosity and radical politics, would undermine their own hard-won social respectability with the ruling patrician class.” Given that Tammany and the New York police force were thoroughly corrupt, the Germans, financier Jacob Schiff among them, pushed the relatively clean mayor to found a Jewish-led vice squad: the Incorruptibles of the title. As Rothstein, later to be infamous for the 1919 Black Sox baseball scandal, drifted deeper into the drug trade and other illicit activities—not least the murder of a rival—the mayor and vice squad leader “debated constitutional issues surrounding policing, such as warrantless raids, undercover stings, and bridging wires.” Slater’s narrative, full of twists and turns, is populated by characters from Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano to Louis Brandeis and Damon Runyon. The author yields not just a gripping crime story—though it certainly is that—but also a richly detailed, informal social history of New York between the Gilded Age and the Jazz Age that, apart from its scholarly rigor, is also highly readable.

A grand evocation of the Gotham of gangsters, crooked cops, “beefsteak dungeons,” and nativists versus newcomers.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159236609
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 07/16/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 481,202
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