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Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  447 Ratings  ·  36 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,660)
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Steve
Feb 05, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 15, 2012 Daniel Pitcher rated it it was amazing
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
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
Noah Foster
Sep 25, 2013 Noah Foster rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2014 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Zama
"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
Jeffrey1994
Apr 26, 2015 Jeffrey1994 rated it really liked it
Al Capone is probably one of American people in history and after almost hundred years people are still captured by his story. People are still captured by the life and world of Al Capone. When you write a biography it is your tendency to believe the media and her newspapers but John Kobler writer of this book did more research.

John Kobler did an outstanding job by collecting information about Al Capone. And he did an outstanding job by writing about Al as realistic as possible. Al wasn't a mons
...more
Angies
Apr 28, 2013 Angies rated it it was ok
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
Jun 18, 2009 David rated it did not like it
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
Aug 18, 2014 Evan Vitale rated it really liked it
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
Julie
Excellent Book about a man I am obsessed with!
MisterFweem
Jun 12, 2013 MisterFweem rated it it was amazing
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
Don
Oct 14, 2015 Don rated it it was ok
This is an exhaustive study of the times that spawned Capone. While informative and scholarly, it often piles on way too many facts regarding politics of the time and a blizzard of names only marginally connected to Capone. As far as Capone goes, I didn't feel it offered any real insights into his character. Great for people who want to know about the Chicago era, I suppose, plenty of violence, but if you want to know Capone I suggest you look elsewhere.
Lis
Jan 04, 2016 Lis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non è solo la biografia (dettagliata) di Capone ma anche del contesto in cui è vissuto e in cui ha svolto i suoi "affari", delle bande di Chicago di quegli anni, degli intrighi, delle vendette, degli omicidi, del clima di terrore e corruzione che dominava la città.
L'opinione generale che se ne ricava degli italiani non è proprio edificante...
Lauren
Sep 15, 2015 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: other
It was okay, but there was too much about other gangsters and not enough about Capone himself. I expected a full biography on Capone, but much of the book was devoted to the dealings of other gangs. While I understand this helped to set the scene of the book, as well as show the motives and opportunities that allowed Capone to become who he was, I found it boring. It could have been condensed down to give the reader enough info without taking away from the actual subject of the book.
Matt
Nov 24, 2013 Matt rated it liked it
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
Oct 14, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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
May 24, 2010 Katjusa rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 02, 2012 Stuart Thurston rated it really liked it


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
Oct 26, 2012 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mar 10, 2010 Chriss rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2008 Jsipp rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 19, 2009 Courtney rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
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.
Joel Jokinen
Apr 13, 2016 Joel Jokinen rated it liked it
Great story but too detailed for an entertaining read. Would've preferred a simple version with no excessive lists of names, etc.
Jessica
Aug 20, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
some minor mistakes in the writing, but the detail is fantastic. wasn`t the easiest read, a lot of people to keep track of. ...more
Josh
Mar 19, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this several years ago. Its considered one of the definitive biographies on Capone. HIGHLY recommended.
Alicia
Mar 05, 2008 Alicia rated it did not like it
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
Jan 27, 2010 Walt rated it liked it
Shelves: organized-crime
The mother of all Capone books. Most subsequent biographies repeat Kobler in most respects.
Gavin
Jul 08, 2013 Gavin rated it really liked it
Pretty solid and interesting biography of Al Capone.
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