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Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  319 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The public called him Scarface; the FBI called him Public Enemy Number One; his associates called him Snorky. But Capone is the name most remember. And John Kobler’s Capone is the definitive biography of this most brutal and flamboyant of the underground kings—an intimate and dramatic book that presents a complete view of Al Capone and his gaudy era. Here is Capone’s story ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 9th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,214)
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Steve
Dec 08, 2012 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Boardwalk Empire fans
I read this way back in high school. I'm a big fan of Boardwalk Empire, so I was interested to see how a seemingly over-the-top gangster show would measure up to a biography of, arguably, the biggest (or at least best known) gangster. Well, the show is not playing things up all that much. Capone did tell people he got his scars in WW 1 (as in the show). Gangsters did invade towns and take over. And violence was, indeed, off the charts. Especially in Chicago. Shotgun slayings in broad daylight, p ...more
Daniel Pitcher
This is a mind blowing book, mainly due to the sheer wealth of detail contained within. Kobler describes people, places & happenings in 1920's Chicago in such detail that, on occasions, it feels as if you are there too.
What Capone & his ilk actually did almost one hundred years ago left me incredulous & aghast. At one point he had well over half the Chicago police force on his payroll, at a cost of, I think I'm right in saying, $30 million a year. I should have made a note, but it wa
...more
Noah Foster
John Kobler's biography Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. This book is the type of book that will keep your eyes glued to the pages as it possesses you like a demon. I chose to read this book because my dad had recommended it to me quite a while back, saying it was a book that was just as great as any movie or documentary. In this thrilling biography Kobler expresses the ruthless criminal ego of Al Capone, writing about his journey to becoming the worlds most notorious, infamous and most ...more
Jeffrey
Capone : the Life and World of Al Capone by John Kobler

John Kobler took the effort to write this biography about Al Capone. He probably wrote the best biography about this man that was ever written. Just because it is impossible to write a book that more detailed than this one. John Kobler did his research very good just to write this book. He could use some material that was never published. Material and documents of the FBI. If you expect to read about only his days of glory than you picked th
...more
Jazzfeathers
"The Life and Time of Al Capone", this is really a book with two souls.

I liked the first part of the book a lot. This is the part devoted to the time of Al Capone, starting in his childhood, detailing the life of immigrants like his father, the very small word they were allowed to live in, the reasons why young men saw the gangs as the only way to get a living and to do something with their life... if they lived long enough, that it.
The way gangs were organized is detailed quite in depth, the It
...more
Angies
I really did not like this book. One of the reasons I didn't like it was because it was really boring. The only reason I read this book was because I was doing a report on Al Capone. The book did give me quite a bit of facts. So if your doing a report on Al this would be your book. I feel like this book is really more for facts then entertainment so that is probably why it was so boring. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless you really wanted some facts on Al.
David
I had high hopes for this book but just couldn't get into it. Overall, it's pretty dry and goes into minute, uninteresting details. I got through about 150 pages and had to stop, which is a shame because I'm generally interested in the Mafia.
Evan Vitale
I've always been fascinated by the mafia - and this book takes place right in the heyday of organized crime throughout the United States. Al Capone, who is most well-known for his bootlegging operations, also had some very serious side jobs. This book did a great job of revealing the facts - and trying to stay away from the folktales that have surrounded Capone since he first rose to prominence.

If you're interested in a look inside the mafia, I would check this out. Has some great insight into
...more
MisterFweem
Creepy, creepy, creepy. Not necessarily Al Capone, who is a piece of real work. But the people who adored him, who looked past all the terrible things he did and condoned and worshipped him.

Such an interesting story -- mostly for Capone, but partly as well for peeking at the people who thought legislating morality was a good thing and to those who thought flouting the law was a good thing as well, even a law they didn't agree with.

Also discovered that the Kevin Costner film, the Untouchables? We
...more
Hanna
"Al Caponen elämä ja maailma" on erittäin laadukas elämänkerta, jonka rönsyilyä aluksi ihmettelin, mutta tässä kirjassa se ei lopulta häirinnyt, vaan kuvasi nimenkin mukaan maailmaa, jossa gangsterit elivät. Asioiden pohjustaminen ja laajempi käsittely auttaa ymmärtämään ajan olosuhteita, joissa elettiin ja toimittiin. Varsinaista kritiikkiä en kirjaa kohtaan oikeastaan löydä, se on kerronnaltaan kiinnostava ja parempi kuin moni sepitetty rikosromaani. Kääntäjän olisin kuitenkin toivonut viitann ...more
Matt
Informative but was not a very easy read. This was easily the most detailed read on Capone to date when written and likely the best source for many a book report going forward. Al does have a pretty incredible story.

Written early 70's, gives a decent background. I preferred Bergreen's version. Again, very good formation, just not the greatest of reads. Solid 3* = Solid but not spectacular.(I am a pretty tough grader)

If you are an Organized crime buff, and have an interest in Capone, this is a s
...more
Jennifer
This was just a plain good gangster book. It really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but the info was put together well and in an entertaining manner. I especially enjoyed the biographical sketches of other figures from the era, and the fact that it gave a bit of history about the places involved. A good book for someone looking for an introduction to this subject or for someone who just likes reading about it.
Katjusa
Intensely detailed. I can understand why some people are overwhelmed by the density -- it can be tough to slog through passages with dozens of gangster names and nicknames and relationships to keep straight. Even so, I think it's worth it. Kobler lavishes just as much attention on rich visual descriptions and seemingly minor details (characters, quotes, etc.) that bring alive the period of the '20s in Chicago.
Stuart Thurston


Incredibly detailed yet very readable. The narrative does jump around somewhat, as is typical of many American histories, while Kobler builds a picture of the labyrinthine connections in Capone's underworld and his rise to prominence. However, the overall effect is to impress upon the reader how unlikely was his otherwise seemingly irresistible success, and to
Jehu
Sep 24, 2009 Jehu is currently reading it
I've learned from this book many things about mobsters normal livin'. It's good book in that way, but because I read it in Finnish, it has a little sentence mistakes. But with this book, I have covered myself with a lot of information, what mobster did in those days. If you're interested in mob 'n' mobsters, you should read this book.
Serge Pierro
This is probably the definitive biography of Al Capone. There is a tremendous amount of detailed information on Capone. I found it to be a fascinating look into both his life, and the world/times that he lived in.
Chriss
Details and facts not found in other Capone biographies. Felt like I was going along for the ride on a dark voyage through the criminal underworld but still wanted to know more.
Jsipp
This book not only features Capone but it gives you a good idea about Chicago in the early 1900's, brothels, sports clubs, politics, and bootlegging. Fascinating!
Courtney
I started reading this, but stopped within the first chapter and a half because it just wasn't interesting me at all. I was highly disappointed.
Jessica
some minor mistakes in the writing, but the detail is fantastic. wasn`t the easiest read, a lot of people to keep track of.
Josh
I read this several years ago. Its considered one of the definitive biographies on Capone. HIGHLY recommended.
Alicia
Mar 05, 2008 Alicia rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: An insomniac
Recommended to Alicia by: No one
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I was really excited to read this book, it was awful I couldn't even finish it. I kept waiting for the point...
Walt
The mother of all Capone books. Most subsequent biographies repeat Kobler in most respects.
Gavin
Pretty solid and interesting biography of Al Capone.
Buffy B
Jan 06, 2008 Buffy B rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those mob cats
Really hard to get into, but enlightening in the least.
Julie
Excellent Book about a man I am obsessed with!
keong nakal
Aug 14, 2007 keong nakal rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all
Shelves: biography
don'tcha mess around with me, capice?!?!?!
Kristie Loonam
Read for school really opened my eyes
Michael Carter
Great read... a real eye opener!
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