The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob

The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob

by T. J. English

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

From T. J. English, the New York Times bestselling author of The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld, The Westies: Inside New York’s Irish Mob is the true account of the vicious gang that ruled Hell’s Kitchen from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Even among the Mob, the Westies were feared. Starting with a partnership between two sadistic thugs, Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone, the gang rose out of the inferno of Hell’s Kitchen, a decaying tenderloin slice of New York City’s West Side. They became the most notorious gang in the history of organized crime, excelling in extortion, numbers running, loan sharking, and drug peddling. Upping the ante on depravity, their specialty was execution by dismemberment. Though never numbering more than a dozen members, their reign lasted for almost twenty years—until their own violent natures got the best of them, precipitating a downfall that would become as infamous as their ascension into the annals of crime.

This revised and updated chronicle of the Westies served as the basis of the crime film State of Grace, starring Sean Penn, Ed Harris, and Gary Oldman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312362843
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/31/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 91,639
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.18(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

T.J. ENGLISH is a noted journalist, screenwriter and author of several books, including Paddy Whacked, Born to Kill (which was nominated for an Edgar Award), and the upcoming The Havana Mob. His first book, The Westies (a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book), launched his career as an expert on the multi-ethnic nature of organized crime in America. A former writer for Irish America Magazine, English has also been published in Esquire, Playboy and New York magazine. He lives in New York City.

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Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
PR_Scholar More than 1 year ago
This is a very readable account of some of the criminal aspects of New York City's Irish Mob. The Chronology near the beginning is a bit hard to follow but the overall book is quite captivating. If you are interested in the criminal history of NYC or are interested in Criminal Organization such as the Mafia or the Irish Mob, then this is a great account of things that the groups were capable of doing. It is suprisingly accurate however many people don't consider it to be historically accurate because the information was gathered from a man who did not have a consistent bearing on dates and the such. It is still an amazing incite into the Organized Crime of NYC in the past decades.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the same version on 'The Westies' that has been in print since the the early 1990's but with a new afterword that updates the whereabouts of some characteres, especially the main character of Mickey Featherstone. Maybe the best book about a gang ever written. Still powerful. Why has there never been a movie made from this book?
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first became interested in The Westies when I saw a program called "True Crime" on the History Channel. That particular episode was about the Westies and I was somewhat glued to my television (which is very rare ... usually I don't even turn the thing on any more). But this particular episode's story was so intriguing that I felt I had to know more so I bought the book. The Westies was gang that had as its home New York's Hell's Kitchen, home to many Irish-American immigrants and also controlled by a series of Irish organized crime gangs. Traditionally, these gangs followed certain codes of respect and deference, but as the author notes, it seems that after Vietnam, with the rise of a new generation, the old ways sort of went out the door and violence was the rule of the day. Enter young Jimmie Coonan -- a local boy, hotheaded and dangerous, with vengeful ambitions to take out the current head of the Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen, Mickey Spillane (not the author). His idea of killing was not only to do the deed, but then to "do the Houdini" -- meaning making the body disappear by dismemberment. Then add Mickey Featherstone, another local boy who had some serious mental issues & tended to solve his problems with knee-jerk violence. With other people working for them, they began a long reign of violence, extortion, murder, you name it. But Coonan decided that for them to get anywhere, they needed to hook up with the Italian mob. I won't go through the entire story but as it turns out, eventually a betrayal of trust leads one member down the path to become an informer. However, the criminal story is not 100 per cent of this book..English traces the attempts made by law enforcement agencies to take down these guys. I do have to also remark on the sad state of the justice system at the time as portrayed in this novel...Featherstone does several murders and walks? The details are amazing and this one another one of those books I had trouble putting down. My problems with this book stem from the fact that it seems somewhat biased in favor of Mickey Featherstone, who by his own admission was a cold-blooded, psychopath who did his share of killing. I find it hard to be sympathetic towards someone like this or to excuse their previous behavior just because he may have been rehabiltated later. All in all, a fantastic book. I'm looking forward to reading more about the topic and more books by this author. Recommended, for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story detailing the criminal characters from the West side of Manhatten. The rise and fall of the gang, from the streets to the court rooms.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reads like a Tom Clancy thriller and just as fast paced. Hard core and in depth look at some of the most violent men to come out of the underworld. Wherever Mickey and his family are, I hope they continue to thrive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not knowing much about the Irish mob I was fascinated and captivated throughout. Great storytelling, good pacing, and a dizzying amount if details that sheds light into an underwirld most people forget/refuse to acknowledge exists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was born, raised and still live in Hell's Kitchen. Thats exactly how it was. If you weren't from here or you weren't good friends with someone from here you were not safe. There are still some westies here (3 blocks over from me are a few), listening to their stories in person is even more intense and captavating. Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW. If you don't have the stomach for blood and guts...not the book for you. Detailed and gory account of the Westies and the rise and fall of Jimmy Coonan and his gang. I could not believe a person could dismember a body, laugh about it, and then go eat! Cold blooded killers. I would highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down!
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KAF More than 1 year ago
The Westies is a tale that could only happen in New York. It is a wonderfully frightening look into the realities of the mafia and their destructive lifestyle. The Westies takes you inside the minds of the Irish mobsters that rose to power and ran within Hells Kitchen for two decades. It is a stunning portrait of the personalities that collaborated to create the notorious Westies Mafia. The Westies is an adventurous wild ride that will be hard to put down, but be warned it is not for the easily offended, or weak stomached.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This story, about the Irish Mob from Hells kitchen, is detailed about the murders that were commited. It was a great book and I can't put it down some days. There are some parts that are a little boring and it does tell the story out of sequence (which can be confusing esp. with all the people mentioned) but for the most part, I can't put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! Growing up in NYC I never knew that this actually occured blocks from where I lived. This book was impossible to put down. Half way through it, I had to stop and do some research to see if this stuff really happened...and it did. A must read for the true crime buff and the Irish American historian.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good read the author kept it real.