A History of Chicago's Jewish Gangsters
Author Joe Kraus tells, for the first time, the story of Chicago's Jewish gangsters from the end of the 19th century into the 1980s. Kraus traces the changing political, demographic, and economic pressures that transformed the opportunistic gamblers and bootleggers of Maxwell Street and Lawndale into some of the under-the-radar architects of the Chicago Syndicate that grew out of the gang made famous under Al Capone's leadership.
The Kosher Capones is readable yet well-researched, full of anecdotes and character studies yet sustaining an argument for seeing the succession of gangsters as part of a coherent history. Available in hardcover, paper, audio, and as an e-book, it makes a great gift for the hard-to-please armchair tough guy or gal.
Joe Kraus teaches creative writing and American literature at the University of Scranton where he is chair of the Department of English & Theatre. His grandfather and great-uncles, the notorious Miller Brothers of the Jewish West Side, were among Chicago's early Jewish gangsters.
“Joe Kraus is uniquely qualified, even among the Kosher Nostra (the historians who study the role of Jewish Americans in organized crime), to write this book about Chicago’s Jewish gangsters. The gang’s all here, from the Miller and Guzik brothers to Lenny Patrick. Kraus tells the full story in detail and with considerable gusto, which does this history justice.”
John J. Binder,
author of Al Capone's Beer Wars