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Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wante

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  518 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Drawing on thousands of pages of recently discovered government documents, wiretap transcripts, and Al Capone’s handwritten personal letters, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the nation’s most notorious criminal in rich new detail.

From the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1920, Capone found h
ebook, 480 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2010)
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John Hood
Author reveals the flaws in Al Capone's legend
The Miami Herald June 6, 2010

Special to The Miami Herald

As Jon Stewart said when he had Jonathan Eig on The Daily Show, the author's new book, Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster, should be subtitled Everything You Thought You Knew About Capone Is Wrong. Eig, who previously covered the lives of Lou Gehrig (Luckiest Man) and Jackie Robinson (Opening Day), ``thought it would be fun to
For those who don’t know it, I grew up in a part of Illinois that’s relatively close – just a bit downstate – from Chicago. (No, I won’t mention it by name.) Now, I’ve never been able to verify this story, but rumor has it that some of the men who used to work for Al Capone made a visit to my humble little town. It was very late in Roaring Twenties, and allegedly the men were looking to muscle in on some of the gambling dens that had taken hold in that part of the county. When the local stiffs p ...more
Paul Pessolano
The 1920's were a unique time in American History. It was the time of Probibition, Jazz, Speakeasies, the Great Depresson, and the birth of tha American Gangster.

"Get Capone" is more than a biography of Al Capone, it is a story of the times. Jonathan Eig tells the story of a nation and a city (Chicago) caught up in a turbulant time brought about by the passage of Prohibition.

Jonathan Eig tells how Al Capone was able to rise rapidly through the ranks of organized crime, in fact, he became organiz
Jill Hutchinson
Most people know the story of Al Capone.....or maybe they don't. So many myths have sprung up around him that it is hard to know who he really was. The author has tried to paint a picture of the man and the times in Chicago when men were gunned down in the street, elected officials were as crooked as those who bribed them, and booze was as easy to purchase as a loaf of bread.....Prohibition be damned was the general attitude of many.
This book has been researched well and the events leading up to
George Huner
Enjoyed this book, I like reading about the time period of the 30's. I found from the book jacket that I had read Jonathan Eig's other books (about Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson). Some good info on the effects of prohibition, Hoover as president, and descriptions of life in Chicago during that time period. When I was reading about Eddie O' Hare, one of Capones gambling partners, I was waiting to find out that the airport in Chicago had been named after him. Glad to read later it was his son But ...more
Sean Wicks
Well researched, detailed and entertaining chronicle of Al Capone's rise to be the king of the Chicago underworld. Starting with his days partnered with Johnny Torio (part of HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE's storyline)it covers everything from the problems created by prohibition - well for the government as it created a criminal element that gripped the streets of Chicago - to the tax-evasion case against Capone spearheaded by Georg E.Q. Johnson that eventually brought him down, to his final days in pri ...more
Popular culture has done an injustice to George Johnson and Frank Wilson, the men who had more to do with arresting Al Capone than Eliot Ness ever did. This is a great book for Chicago-lovers, especially when you realize how many Windy City streets and sites you've frequented that were once tainted by Tommy Guns!
Herb Hastings
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eig's written a book that not only gives one a pretty good feel for Capone himself, but also paints a helpful picture of the political landscape in the US through the '20s and into the '30s. Further, in reading this book, I think I got a helpful understanding of this history of the city of Chicago. Eig writes well; the book moves along at a good clip and draws the read into Capone's complicated and sordid story. The author doesn't focus on the obscene, but leave the details off stage where they ...more
I wonder what book some reviewers have been reading. This book edges up the very precipice of being an apology for Alphonse Capone. Some of the new and exciting sources are at best questionable if not out and out as misleading as much of the whole Outfit story often becomes to the new aficionado of Chicago Crime.

The author, Jonathan Eig, has suddenly discovered court documents that shed a slightly different light on Capone, or has he? As some of the 'records' come from academic archives taken fr
Christian Petrie
When it comes to history, I am always interested in learning something new about the past. This could be an expansion upon a footnote in history, or giving us a new perspective. Get Capone falls into this category.

Compared to other events in history, his could be regarded as more recent, yet this book presents additional information to change your view on Capone. Instead of being the rich and powerful gangster movies lead us to believe, instead we see how he had influence, but in realty was livi
Eig, Jonathan. GET CAPONE: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster. (2010). ****. This is an interesting enough review of the life and times of Al(phonso) Capone, born in Brooklyn and bred in the streets of Chicago under the tutelage of Johnny Torrio. He managed to come of age at the right time, when Prohibition came into effect, and there was big money to be made for members of the underworld who could supply the goods that were in demand. Although the author has based his ...more
Having read many other biographies of Al Capone, this is something of a refreshing deviation from the norm. It is true that Eig makes some arguments and statements supporting some suspect theories; but he took a widely different approach to the topic.

It seems like most Capone books all resemble each other. Kobler, Schoenberg, Bergreen, Allsop, and others read a script of who did what to whom. The point is mostly to cover as much blood-letting as possible. Schoenberg and Bergreen did expand a lit
I enjoyed reading this book much more than I thought I would and never would have picked it up but I'm taking a writing class at Chautauqua this coming week and the teacher is Jonathan Eig. I was curious of course to sample some of his writing so got cracking on this book.

Expertly written, it kept my interest as I am interested in this time period. Both my parents were born in 1906, so as I was reading the first half of this book which was set in 1920 to 1930, I'm thinking about my parents who w
A lot of this books is new to me, since I have actually read very little about Capone. That made things like the author's constant references to the flaws of past autobiographies a little annoying and unnecessary, since I was not aware of the problems in the first place. On the other hand this book did offer things such as a plausible explanation for the Valentine's Day Massacre, something that I had heard a lot about. It was in explanations like this, clearly well researched, that this book int ...more
Over the years I've read two - possibly three - other bios of Al Capone. All were interesting but for the most part portrayed him as an omniscient overlord running Chicago and all that went on in it, ruthlessly eliminating all competition. That's a nice neat way of looking at things and having an answer for every question and someone to blame for every crime. Ultimately it leads me to wonder where the reality leaves off and the mythology begins. Eig doesn't take this approach and the result is a ...more
Anthony V.
This was a great book outlining the birth of organized crime in America. This showed the early days before The Commission where violence and death was brought upon the mobs own society. The only way that the Federal Government could connect Capone with a crime was through the violation of tax evasion. He was sent to prison for just a few years but when he was released, his empire was gone and he was in poor health, dying in FL.
Meg M
A book that starts off fast and fascinating, with an added bonus for Chicago residents who might find themselves saying to themselves things like, "I go right by there on my way to work!"

The second part of the book gets a little more mundane as its bogged down with the less flashy aspects of the people involved with Capone's downfall. Eig does a great job of giving mini bios of the main players and explaining how laws worked during Capone's era. The problem is, the real story is often less neat
Bookmarks Magazine
Certainly enough has been written about Capone to make new books on the gangster and the hunt for him seem extraneous, but Eig takes a fresh approach to his subject by relying on new interviews and IRS files on Capone's 1931 prosecution. Critics praised Eig's solid reporting and ability to draw a rich, historical context and tease out Capone's complexity. "He's wiped away the garbage and given us a man," noted the Chicago Sun-Times, "[s]omeone monstrous, in short, but recognizably human." A few ...more
Gangsters are not my favorite characters to read about. I bought this book because I took a writing class, bringing your characters to lif, at Chautauqua in the sumer of 2012. Jonathan know this subject well. I actually enjoyed reading about Al and his early life, his marriage, his homes, his jail cell where he conducted so much of his business. The clothes that Al fancied, the diamond belt buckles...that he bought by the bagfull to give to his business associaet at Chistmas.

I have to confess th
A well crafted biography that plays out against a detailed portrait of American society in the years between world wars. Cutting through myth and hype, the author presents Capone as a very flawed human, a man who deeply loved his family but in a twisted manner.
In general I found this to be a most fascinating read.
Rob Deters
Feb 05, 2014 Rob Deters rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History / Crime / Legal Thriller Fans
A pretty decent and evocative account of how Capone was actually brought down. As a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago I appreciated its fairly accurate recounting of the legal history to his case. A lot of good insight and colorful anecdotes. A great read.
Barry Hammond
A fascinating historical read, based on the papers of George E.Q. Johnson, the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Capone for tax evasion. It reveals the details of the campaign to bring down the elusive gangster, who was noted for his evasiveness, starting at the top with President Hoover, down to the men and women who put together the nuts and bolts of the case against him. It cuts through all the mythology built around both Capone and figures like Eliot Ness to try to tell the actual story of what h ...more
Dean Jobb
A remarkable book -- fast paced, thoroughly researched and thoroughly enjoyable. If you think you know the story of Al Capone and the gang violence that plagued 1920s Chicago, think again. Eig delivers the truth in this definitive biography of America's most notorious crime boss.
Tom Gase
Another great biography by Jonathan Eig, who also wrote Luckiest Man, about Lou Gehrig. This book brings to light how Al Capone was brought to prison for income tax evasion, and how the Untouchables, especially Elliot Ness, really didn't have much to do with it. I learned a lot about the man, who seldomly did hits his own, if ever, but had his goons carry out orders for him. I also learned a lot about the St. Valentines Day massacre. I couldn't believe that papers would put in those photos back ...more
Capone not as bad as history has made him to be? Ness just some publicity whore who probably never even met Capone? The book is filled with various views of Ness's supposed accomplishments that really call into doubt how accurate the "Untouchables" story was. The author even questions whether Capone even knew who Ness was. Ness was always sure to bring along media on his busts, but his busts were not really that damaging to Capone's business, and ultimately, the tax evasion case that brought Cap ...more
Lucy Perry
The first time I read the book I was 13. I loved it and I still do. It's a great book full of interesting facts and information.
I really love Erik Larson's work. The reason being, Larson will not print a word of text unless it can be proven, established, sourced. Eig does a great job, but there were times he stretched the descriptive without any established sources. To say that the wind whipped through this person's hair, or this person thought that he...blah, blah, is conjecture unless it's established as factually having happened.

When an author posits without stating where he or she got that information I tune out, I
Laura Enright
This is a really fascinating book dealing with the real reason Capone wound up in jail. It was great reading and not only dispelled a lot of myths but also brought up a lot of information not normally heard about in tales of Capone. I highly recommend it.
This reads like an almost good enough final draft. Eig or his editor should have been more judicious in their editing. A number of examples are repeated, word for word. In addition, there is no real story arc here. Eig tries to make the prosecutor Johnson some kind of central figure, and fails quite miserably. There are no new revelations here and no new way of writing about them. Eig appears to have read a few books and dropped in random tidbits from each for no apparent reason. Capone remains ...more
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Jonathan Eig is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a New York Times best-selling author who has written four books: "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig;" "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season;" "Get Capone;" and "The Birth of the Pill."
More about Jonathan Eig...
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution Playing With Fire: A Story Of Genius, Madness, and Music I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS

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