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

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,121 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organized crime expert T. J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike "King Mike" McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohi ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published February 15th 2005)
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Dec 11, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2008 Rick rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime, history
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
victor harris
Oct 29, 2015 victor harris rated it really liked it
Although it is the Italians who are typically associated with powerful organized crime syndicates in American urban areas, it was actually the Irish who established the template for such organizations. As early as the pre-Civil War, it was Irish gangsters who infiltrated the power structures in New York City. Among the earliest hailed from the infamous Five Points area as depicted in film. By later in the century they would be associated with the Tammany Hall political machine. Similar networks ...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
Jill Hutchinson
Feb 08, 2013 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
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
Apr 02, 2011 Michael Cullen rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
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
I am evidently one of the few people not fascinated by organized crime. I see nothing romantic about gangsters or their activities and think that celebrating it in writing just encourages people to emulate essentially ugly and violent people. Plus I typically find most stories about organized crime raciest and bigoted. If I came from one of the ethnic groups typically maligned in these books I would be insulted.

That said, this book was recommend to me primarily because the recommender thought it
Jun 19, 2014 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 25, 2014 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2013 Amy Eighttrack rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2010 Ryan rated it really liked it
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
Jun 13, 2016 Patrick rated it it was amazing
For anyone interested in the rise and fall of the Irish American Gangsters, this book is a must read. It goes well beyond English's earlier volume "The Westies", which dealt with the Hell's Kitchen (NYC) branch of the overall history of the Irish gangster. This book covers the wider aspects of the group, whose activities ranged from New Orleans, Cleveland, Boston and Chicago. It is very well-researched and the author's writing style makes it read almost like a crime thriller rather than a histor ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Wayne rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book because it chronicles the history of the Irish Mafia in America all the way from its start when the first Irish immigrants came to America up to the last days of the Irish Mob in Boston and the demise of the most corrupt relationship between the FBI and Mob Kingpin Whitey Bulger in Boston. A fantastic book that read like a great suspense novel, simply outstanding!
Oct 22, 2008 Matthew rated it liked it
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
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
Jan 18, 2015 Jeffrey Cavanaugh rated it liked it
The book is a 'True Crime' history of Irish-American gangsters and the role Irish-Americans have played in the history of American organized crime since the earliest days of the Republic. Interesting and generally well presented, but the author could have used some editing and sometimes strays into the overuse of cliched mob terms and phrases He also strays somewhat far afield by arguing that Joe Kennedy's link with Prohibition gangsters eventually led to JFK's assassination by the mob.
Paul Courchene
Jun 06, 2015 Paul Courchene rated it really liked it
Excellent historical work surrounding the rise and fall of Irish Gangsters in America. The Irish controlled the cops and fire fighters...why should they get anything else? This was written before Whitey Bulger was captured so the story remains incomplete but very, very good.
Aug 28, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 20, 2010 K8e rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
A well research work on an interesting subject. Still, the author never seemed to elevate the work above the level of a dry litany portraying a pantheon of Irish gangsters.
Robert T. McHatton

Well written and easy to follow considering all the characters involved. A good history of organised crime over the past 150 yrs or so.
Chris Castro
Jan 28, 2014 Chris Castro rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 03, 2007 OCNY rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2008 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2015 Bardia rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Fantastic book with the exception of the JFK conspiracy mongering.
Jul 09, 2015 Stephan rated it it was amazing
Great read.
Michael Mcdonald
Oct 25, 2007 Michael Mcdonald rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2016 Michael rated it liked it
David Ritter
Feb 09, 2014 David Ritter rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2007 Jim rated it liked it
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.
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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 New York Times bestsellers, including THE SAVAGE CITY, HAVANA NOCTURNE, PADDY WHACKED, and his most recent book WHERE THE BODIES WERE BURIED. In 2013, a collection of his journalism was published under the title WHITEY'S ...more
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