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The Outfit

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  584 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
This is the never-before-told story of the great Chicago crime family called The Outfit, the secretive organized crime cartel that began its reign in prohibition-era Chicago before becoming the real puppet master of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C. Moving with purpose and panache, The Outfit blended effortlessly with upperworld corporate leaders, Hollywood moguls, ...more
ebook, 560 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2002)
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Kurt Reichenbaugh
An alternative history of America in the 20th Century. The book focuses on the heirs to Al Capone's criminal empire after he was sent to prison. Most of the shots were called by Joe Accardo, Curly Humphreys, Paul Ricca, Johnny Rosselli and Jake Guzik. The most fascinating one of the bunch, to me, was Curly Humphreys, the brains of the Outfit, so to speak. Along the way we're shown how the Outfit got footholds into the entertainment industry (Music and Movies), Gambling, Las Vegas, the service in ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good god I relish Joe Kennedy! What gangster hubris! Let's piss off the Wasp elite, the Chicago mob, and the Texas oil barons, just because why not - and see what happens. Bullets in your sons. You tangled with the wrong folks.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a revelation to me. I feel that I just woke up after reading this. How naïve to not consider the ramifications of the dark side making so much happen in our American history. The Volstead act brought these men together, but it was just the beginning. The underworld meshes with the upper world seamlessly. Together they elect presidents, governors, corrupt judges, bribe police and politicians and generally make things happen their way. The author puts it very well, "Without doubt, the ...more
Ian Foster
Aug 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How can someone make a book about the mafia boring? This one did. I read every word for about 150 pages and then found myself skipping whole paragraphs, then whole pages, then whole chapters - just because it was so boring and poorly written. The book just didn't flow and was badly in need of a stronger editor.

On the plus side, it was obviously thoroughly researched. I found the lengthy discussion (every discussion in the book was lengthy) of Joe Kennedy's mafia ties very interesting. I don't t
Christos Bouras
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
O δημοσιογράφος Gus Russo έγραψε ένα πραγματικά εξαιρετικό έργο αναφορικά με την ιστορία της αμερικάνικης μαφίας. Μια ιστορική αλλά και δημοσιογραφική αναδρομή της ιστορίας της μαφίας μέσα από από την Οργάνωση του Σικάγου από το 1920 μέχρι και το 1990 οπότε πεθαίνει και ο τελευταίος πρωταγωνιστής της οργάνωσης. Οι κατά βάση ιταλικής καταγωγής οι μαφιόζοι (Κολοσίμο, Τόριο, Καπόνε, Αρκάντο, Νίτι, Ρίκα, Ροσέλι, Τζιανκάνα, Λουτσιάνο κα) παρελαύνουν από τις σελίδες του έργου αυτού οργανωμένοι κάτω απ ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The information is interesting if the writing is not.
Brittany Kubes
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I finally understand the difference between the Italian mafia and gangs after reading this book. There are obviously many similarities: crime, organization, code of conduct, simulated family, but the essential difference is that the mafia’s chosen crimes are white collar (racketeering, alcohol during prohibition, gambling, entertainment industry, POLITICS), whereas street gang crimes involve mostly drugs, petty thievery, and territorial violence. Actually, the mafia is vehemently against drugs ( ...more
Clair Belmonte
Content: awesome. Delivery: meh.
It came as no surprise that Gus Russo is an investigative journalist for PBS - this reads just like a PBS special. Holding your hand the whole way through, Russo gently guides you from Capone's bootlegging to Nixon's election and never misses a step. Regularly reintroducing you to characters you may have forgotten (but probably didn't), Russo explains each of the gang's money schemes - you know, booze, the "new booze," the "new booze two," and so on. For all the
Pat Camalliere
The best part of this book was that it encompassed a wide range of material but stayed primarily about the Chicago Outfit. Many books of this type take a broader view that winds up distorting the readers impressions of what happened in Chicago. However, I was disturbed by the organization of the material, and had trouble following when events happened. As presented the material spanned time periods and jumped between then, often with poor transitions that required me to backtrack constantly to f ...more
"The Outfit" gives readers a detailed and fascinating look at what was, at one time, the most powerful organized crime group in the entire United States. Author Gus Russo focuses on what is arguably the Outfit's glory years, the post-Capone era into the early 1970s, and details how Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo (whom the author refers to as "Joe Accardo", a mix of his given name and the nickname he preferred and was usually used by his compatriots, "Joe Batters"), & co. had their hands into every ...more
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  • Mr. Capone
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  • For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life
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  • King of the Godfathers
  • Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster
  • Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
  • The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
  • L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City
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  • Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires
  • Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family
  • American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
  • Murder City: The Bloody History of Chicago in the Twenties
  • When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down
  • The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers
  • The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America

Gus Russo is a veteran investigative reporter, musician, and author. His first book, Live By the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK (Bancroft, 1998), was praised by the New York Times as “compelling, exhaustively researched and even handed.” Kirkus Reviews called Sword, “Probably the last book on the Kennedy assassination you will need to read....Gripping and convincing!” T
More about Gus Russo...
“It would be easy to mistake Daley's tolerance of the Outfit for simple corruption. However, the more accurate assessment appears to be that Daley understood better than most that the sooner the hoods were promoted up the social ladder, the sooner they would disappear into the landscape much the same way as the Founding Fathers who institutionalized the enslavement from the African subcontinent, or the westward explorers who orchestrated the demise of more than six million Native Americans, or the aging robber barons who defrauded untold millions of their life savings. Why, Daley must have wondered, should Chicago's greedy frontiersmen be treated any different from their predecessors? Mayor Daley seemed to know innately what Kefauver had failed to grasp, and what Professor David Bell of Columbia University had labeled 'the progress of ethnic succession': The violence associated with the process was, at least in the case of organized crime, overwhelmingly intramural, and when it spilled over, it seemed to dissipate once the gang obtained what it believed was its rightful share of the American Dream. As Daley once responded to a question about his indulgence of the Outfit, 'Well, it's there, and you know you can't get rid of it, so you have to live with it.” 2 likes
“McDonald, who was known to hate policemen, was once approached by two cops for a two-dollar donation. “We’re burying a policeman,” one of them said, to which Mike responded, “Here’s ten dollars. Bury five of them.” 0 likes
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