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The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosemo and the Ladies of the Levee

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  13 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
THE FIRST VICE LORD is the story of the life and death of Big Jim Colosimo and Chicago's infamous segregated red-light district--the Levee. For the first time, the true story is told of the colorful characters who peopled the Levee from the time of the Columbian Exposition to the Roaring Twenties, clearly the most colorful period in Chicago's history. The product of five ...more
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Cumberland House Publishing (first published May 1st 2008)
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Thomas
Aug 31, 2008 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
Bilek delivers an authoritative look at pre-Prohibition Era Chicago. The reader watches in astonishment as a variety of well-intentioned crusades to clean up the Windy City's most notorious neighborhoods actually serve to encourage coordinated efforts among the purveyors of vice and give rise to vast criminal empires.

The author, a member of the Chicago Crime Commission's board of directors and an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Loyola University, pays special attention to the waxing and
...more
Rose
Aug 02, 2008 Rose rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Rick Mattix
I've been looking forward to this book since the day I learned that Art Bilek intended to do a biography of Big Jim Colosimo. Colosimo was Chicago's first Italian crime lord, a distinction that the less informed have bestowed upon Al Capone. Those with only a passing knowledge of Chicago's organized crime history are not aware that years before Capone's machine gunners decimated his challengers, Big Jim Colosimo headed a vice trust with nationwide connections, enjoyed political alliances that ...more
Selena
Sep 25, 2008 Selena rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Chicago history buffs, people interested in the history of gangs
Big Jim appears to be more complex than I had originally thought. I thought he was just a big Italian who liked to cook spaghetti, extort money and have people killed. His relationship with opera "star" Dale Winter is very intriguing, especially since he left his wife (an Italian, too!) of umpteen years for her. Great Chicago history just BAD EDITING!!! Nothing irritates me more than misspelled words and improper facts in published books. My favorite from this book: Talking how one gangster was ...more
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