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But He Was Good to His Mother: Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters
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But He Was Good to His Mother: Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  71 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Now in its 7th printing - inludes more gangsters!
Newly footnoted and expanded bibliography!
New FBI documents!
More detailed information about the alleged plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler!

While doing research for this book, Prof. Robert Rockaway interviewed old-time Jewish mobsters and their families. He never knew what his subjects would say or do, so he came prepared

Paperback, 287 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Gefen Publishing House (first published April 1993)
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Dec 15, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish, nyc
very good stories. liked learning more about this topic
Joel Mack
May 31, 2011 Joel Mack rated it really liked it
A thoroughly compelling book and one of a kind. The apt title was chosen due to a response Rockaway’s mother gave when he was talking about a Jewish gangster – “But he was good to his mother!” What seemed to be common among most Jewish gangsters was the fact that they had strong family ties, and were unwilling for any of their families to get involved in any of their heinous crimes. In some cases what they did was a mystery to their families.

The book is engaging and touches on the lives of the m
Jun 27, 2012 Walt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: organized-crime
For an academic, this was a disappointing book. It is one of the few books that discusses lesser-known Jewish gangsters like Kid Cann, Max Hoff, and Abner Zwillman. The book also has some rare photos of gangsters. Finally, it also includes some first-hand accounts of former gangsters. However, there is some disbelief. Rockaway quotes Meyer Lansky in a few places; but says that Lansky felt betrayed after the publication of book based in part on interviews with him.

Only in one place does Rockaway
Jonathan Meola
Apr 24, 2014 Jonathan Meola rated it really liked it
Robert Rockaway's "But He Was Good To His Mother" contains quite a number of interesting anecdotes and stories that bring to life an almost-forgotten period in the American Jewish experience. Starting with Arnold Rothstein, the man most famous for fixing the 1919 World Series, Rockaway covers all the bases in his work, with special attention paid to the rise and fall of well known figures such as Lepke Buchalter, Meyer Lansky, Longy Zwillman, Bugsy Siegel, Mickey Cohen, and many others.
Frank Palardy
Feb 24, 2016 Frank Palardy rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was one of those books more about the myth of gangsters. Of course, the mob often was like a myth, but it did actually exist.
Jan 25, 2011 Steven rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime, 2011
I enjoyed the book, but there were several areas that needed editing. The book's description alludes to research done for the book and interviews. While research must have been done to produce this book, not much of the information seemed new, and while there seemed to be an interview mentioned, the interviews did not seem to be extensive. Nevertheless, the book offered an interesting viewpoint. If the reader is not familiar with the information contained in this book on the various old time mob ...more
Ben Ring
Jan 27, 2014 Ben Ring rated it really liked it
Very good. Covers the era and backgrounds of Jewish gangsters and how they meshed with the Italians and Irish.
Nov 08, 2015 Hannah rated it liked it
it really deserves 2 stars for being clobbered together sloppily.
the third star is for the gangsters. for actually being interesting. the only saving grace of this book.
Leslie Rupley
Great stories with detail about the lives of Jewish gangsters including Meyer Lanky, Bugsy Siegel and Longy Zwillman.
Jan 25, 2009 Courtney rated it liked it
I bought this book because I liked the title and it was interesting but the writing seemed raw.
Apr 07, 2013 Dario rated it it was ok
Nice stories but does not go beyond that
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