Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster
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Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster

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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  700 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob, from the mid-nineteenth century all the way to the present day. History shows that the heritage of the Irish American gangster was established in America long before that of the more widely portrayed Italian American mafioso, and has held strong through the modern age. In fact, the highest-ranking organized crime fi...more
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Published February 15th 2005 by William Morrow
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Steve
The focus of most true crime books is usually narrow, centering on a particular criminal and/or crime(s). Paddy Whacked is a different beast, much more ambitious, taking a healthy swipe at being something larger: a criminal history of a people and culture, starting in the mid-1800s, and coming up to the near present (2003). In this period, author T.J. English provides you with quite a few colorful characters, and mayhem galore. Given the nature of the subject, there's a healthy (but understandab...more
Carmaletta Hilton
The actual content was very interesting, but the manner in which it was given was lacking. In the first half of the book, English proved that he was definitely not a biased journalist. He wasn't just giving us a history. He was telling us the story of his heroes. English looked up to these guys so much that he even tried to make Mad Dog Coll look sympathetic. When he wasn't extolling the greatness of these early Irish criminals, he was making sure to tell us how much greater they really were tha...more
Rick
For all the acclaim it's received, I was very disappointed with this book. The general background on the Irish gangster seems well researched but when you get down to specifics the whole effort falls way short. Errors abound throughout (Bugs Moran was actually not Irish but the son of French-Canadian immigrants and Chicago's North Side mob could hardly be considered an Irish gang), fictional dialogue is employed throughout (thankfully sparingly), and the supposed long rivalry between Irish gangs...more
Jill Hutchinson
The sons of Erin depicted in this history of the Irish mob are some pretty nasty boyos. Immigrants flocked to the US to escape the horrible conditions in Ireland brought on by the potato famine and crowded into Boston, New Orleans, and NYC. Those with ambition had three options: politics, police, or crime, all of which were tied together by the close bond of Irish brotherhood.The author traces the careers of some of the most famous and dangerous of these gangsters who controlled the cities, stat...more
Michael Cullen
This was a well researched and well written book that follows what the author calls the "Irish Mob" in the United States from its beginnings in New York City's Five Points section. English follows it all the way through Prohibition to the demise of what were, arguably, the last two real "Irish Mobs" in America; The Westies of NYC and the Winter Hill Gang of Boston, eventually led by the still fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger.

He describes how Irish gangs came into being as a response to anti-Irish...more
Morgan
The book is an overview of the Irish and their part in organized crime. The narrative starts in the 1840s with the Irish Potato Famine and the formation of gangs in New York City such as the Dead Rabbits. New Orleans in the 1850-80s, Chicago 1880-1910s, Kansas City are all covered. The Al Capone War against the O'Banion gang during Prohibition is scintillating reading. The expulsion of the Irish from organized crime starting in 1929 is detailed. Chapters are devoted to Joseph Kennedy and his var...more
Amy Eighttrack
A very good, well researched book with a surprisingly comprehensive breadth. I didn't read the whole thing. Any detailed mob history would be a bit a gruesome; and when you get the broader picture, some of the minutiae seems unnecessary. Still, it's good for the historians interested in more specific cases; and it does address well a very broad subject.

Some of what I found particularly interesting reading was: Tammany Hall in New York; the use of mob goons in strike-breaking; the background and...more
Ryan
Jan 11, 2010 Ryan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ryan by: my Dad
Much more fascinating that I expected it to be. Very suspenseful at times and some really great non-fiction narrative. The Westies gang of Hell's Kitchen that finishes the book, is particularly great, which should be expected as the author wrote an entire book about just them. The storytelling gets under your skin, and you start looking at the city life around you differently. It's not just a book about the Irish mobs, but also a look into the Irish immigrant experience and how they moved from o...more
Matthew
I liked it. I found the bootlegging material was interesting, the Kennedy connections were intriguing, the Irish history made me want to learn more (I found my next book - Paddy's Lament - in his list of references), but as a whole it didn't fit together terribly well. I feel like it could have been better if he chose one topic and focused down on it, or came at it from 5000' above, but as he tried to do both, neither came off as good as it might have otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the...more
Amanda
Aug 28, 2010 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mob stories, gangsters, or U.S. History
T.J. English really has a way of pulling you into a story. All through this book I felt as though I knew exactly what it was like for the Irish Americans in the mid 1800s until present. He explains how many Irish started on the road to crime and why, and established the framework for the Irish Mod to come. With chapters on some of the most famous Irish gangsters such as Jack "Legs" Diamond, James "Whitey" Bulger, George "Bugs" Moran, Owney Madden, and the man who started it all, John "Old Smoke"...more
K8e
It took me a very long time to read this book! It was a very interesting look into the lives of the Irish Mob from the last century or so. I think it took me about seven weeks to read it only in that, I would read a few pages, be introduced to ten people, only to find that several pages later, they got whacked... It dragged a little for me in the middle... It seemed it held the same type of storyline, introduce people, explain the no-good things they were up to, introduce the people that will ki...more
Mike
Some great tales in here, but the narration is deeply handicapped by grammatical errors, and worse than that, a ton of horseshit, recreated dialogue on the part of the author. This book could lose 70 pages easily, and be all the better for it.
Chris Castro
Finally, a alternative to the Italian history of the Mob in America. More diabolical than their counterparts from the Boot, Paddy Whacked dives into the "why" some of the most gruesome crimes occurred in the 20th century.
Jennifer
Aug 21, 2007 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book at the urging of a friend, who knows that i love all things irish... PaddyWhacked covers Irish gangs in America, from the 1800's mass immigration and the height of the Five Points (think "Gangs of New York"-- the book clarifies many of those characters), to the formation of the unions, the irish in local politics and how "the machine" worked, bootlegging and moonshining, interactions with the italian mafia, the rise of the Kennedys, the foundation of the FDNY, and all the way up...more
OCNY
The last true crime book I enjoyed as much was, well, TJ English's The Westies. His newest chronicles the history of Irish gangsterism in America, from 18th century potato famine immigrants to Boston bad boy Whitey Bulger. TJ English takes you on a terrific ride, through several major American cities (even Kansas City--who knew the dark side of the Irish were there, too?), enlightening you to think about history in a new way, ie, maybe the Mob really did have something to do w/the assassination...more
James
this was actually a really comprehensive look into the irish-american underworld and where it got started and where it (basically) ended, and gives pretty good insight into that realm.

however, it's not the most thorough (though to be so, it would probably be a LOT longer than its already 444 pages), which is a minor complaint seeing as how it is mostly an overview of the history of the irish mob, and, when it boils down to it, true crime is not necessarily my genre.

definitely a good book though...more
Michael Mcdonald
Oct 25, 2007 Michael Mcdonald rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American History
A thorough historical account of the role of the Irishman in America's criminal underworld that spans over 100 years; from the Dead Rabbits gang of Little Five Points (NYC) to Papa Joe Kennedy in the mid-20th Century, and ending with Whitey Bulger in Boston. English does a respectable job of cramming what could have easily filled several large volumes into four-hundred and some odd pages. If you're a fan of history, this is very much worth your while. If you're an American of Irish descent, it's...more
Jim
Dec 06, 2007 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: persons looking for history of the irish presence in the underworld
Well, I rated this book a 3 but I did not have a chance to finish it (I got it from the local library) It is a good book and it showed me just how intolerant Americans were toward the irish and how POORLY they were treated at the hands of government and other races. It was very well written,though I found it slow at times and I almost feel the author wanted to show just how much research he had done to write the book (meaning it could have been a bit shorter)
and wanted to prove that.
Brody Richter
I liked the book. As usual with TJ English books, the information is very comprehensive and he clearly has done a ton of research. But, as with his other books, sometimes I find it distracting and bothersome when he includes quotes or antidotes that it is difficult to imagine him knowing about. Also, he occasionally overuses "gangsterisms" which drives me crazy. Best parts about the book were the chapters on the early irish american gangs.
Drew Zagorski
If you enjoy true crime this one would make an excellent addition to your library. The author offers a full picture of the Irish mob throughout the history of the US, while highlighting the key players, gangs and events that shaped the story. When I purchased I didn't recognize the copyright date, so I was a little disappointed the capture of Whitey Bulger wasn't included. Aside from that, enjoyed this one a great deal!
Mark Weightman
Sometimes a little hard to follow. Is it about James "Whitey" Bulger or the Irish criminal classes of America in general? Sometimes hard to say. The American language can be baffling at times, too.
Angie
Very cool. It's hard to find non-fiction books in history that are not on the dry side. This wasn't the case. It was fascinating. Not that I dig organized crime, but it has it's dark allure. This book dives write into the Irish roots of it all. It touches on some of the Mafia, but it's mainly how the Paddy's really started "the mob"...why and how and where it's at today. Great stuff.
Matt
Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster. Covers New York to Boston. Long History.

I liked this book. Bunch of good data, some very good stories. I am also a big fan of T.J English. This book is a little on the long side. If you are into the Irish mob and their history including the early days. Good read. Overall mafia buffs will also enjoy this book.
Michael
This one was interesting. Especially the section about Boston and Joseph Kennedy. He ran in upper class society, but he was, no question, the boss of organized crime north of New York. Also it is clear the recent movie "The Departed" is based closely on the true story of Whitey Bulger of Boston. I had already read all the New York stuff in other books, but it was good too.
Catherine
Colorful, journalistic style history of the Irish mob. I found much of the history to be an interesting read, though some of the facts had me making notes to doublecheck them. English has an interesting spin on the events though and I think the book is worth reading for what it covers of the Irish and other immigrant experience in the U.S.
Dana
I don't know if the rating showed up, but I gave it 4 stars. It was a slow read for me compared to other nonfiction I've read. I learned a lot about more history than just the Mob. And I happened to watch "The Cotton Club" while I was finishing the book, and I recognized some of the characters that I wouldn't have known otherwise.
Margaret
Jul 24, 2011 Margaret marked it as quitter  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs an editor. T.J. English needs a better one. Not 30 pages in and already 3--THREE!--erroneous apostrophes have appeared in what appear only to be plurals. This might be overlooked when I'm not on edge studying for the bar (OK, realistically probably not, but perhaps tolerated?), but it certainly will not do currently.
Sarah
This is a fascinating book about the irish mob. I had no idea how much of american history was influenced by the mob. This book gets slow in parts because of all the players involved, but overall is well written and entertaining. However, I would recommend TJ English's other book - Havannah Nocturne - over this one.
Kat Mc
I had to give up on this book after six chapters. It just wasn't doing it for me; very disjointed in my opinion and it wasn't holding my attention. I rarely stop reading a book without finishing it, but this is my summer vacation and I must press on in my quest to read 25 books again like last year.

This book was just "meh."
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904440
T. J. English is an author, journalist and screenwriter with an emphasis on organized crime, the criminal underworld, and the criminal justice system. Many of his books have been national bestsellers, including THE SAVAGE CITY, HAVANA NOCTURNE, PADDY WHACKED, and THE WESTIES. In 2013, a collection of his journalism was published under the title WHITEY'S PAYBACK, an anthology that includes articles...more
More about T.J. English...
Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob The Savage City Born to Kill: The Rise and Fall of America's Bloodiest Asian Gang Whitey's Payback and Other True Stories of Gangsterism, Murder, Corruption and Revenge

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