Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster” as Want to Read:
Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This biography of celebrity gangster Mickey Cohen digs past the sensational headlines to deliver a remarkable story of a man who captivated, corrupted, and terrorized Los Angeles for a generation. When Bugsy Siegel was murdered, his henchman Mickey Cohen took over the criminal activity in Los Angeles. Mickey Cohen attained such power and dominance from the late 1940s until ...more
Paperback, 323 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by ECW Press (first published 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mickey Cohen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mickey Cohen

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  200 ratings  ·  32 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Do you miss the HBO series "The Sopranos"? I'm sure if it were still running the writers of the show would have Tony Soprano conspicuously flipping the pages of Tere Tereba's fabulous book "Mickey Cohen: The Life & Crimes of LA's Notorious Mobster". You'll want to read it, too!

I can't believe I was unaware during the 16 years I lived in LA that there was such a rich and far-reaching history of syndicated crime in this city. "Mickey Cohen: The Life & Crimes of LA's Most Notorious Mobster" gave me
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is simply not good history. The author forgets that one does not write a book unless there is something new to say on the subject, and the few things that the author did discover new about the life of Mickey Cohen, are boasted about as exclusive, like something a cheap newspaper would do. Actually this book reads a lot like a cheap tabloid. It is full of gossip and scandal more than anything else. The author is challenged chronologically, and would rather go out of the way to write in juicy ...more
Readable entertaining true crime. Hollywood high crime and name dropping
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mickey Cohen was my first mobster. I was a rather strange child, and one of my early memories is one of the attempted hits on him, probably in 1949. By 1952, at the age of 7 I'd move up a bit and was advising my Republican parents that Richard Nixon was not trustworthy. But that's another story.

I was very excited to find this book by accident at Barnes & Noble recently. Although the Mick was my first mobster, I'd not read anything much about him. (My academic field is organized crime and I've re
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this after I saw the movie Gangster Squad and my mom said "You've never heard of Mickey Cohen??" Um, no. . . .

Well, now I know. I also learned that the movie Gangster Squad is more Hollywood sensationalism than an accurate bio of Mickey Cohen.

I learned a lot reading this book. There were so many characters I couldn't keep them all straight. At times it seemed like it dragged a bit, not a lot of action. I was still trying to figure out at the end just HOW he controlled L.A. like he
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received his book through Goodreads giveaways.

As a lover of history I was really looking forward to reading this book. I did not know much about Mickey Cohen or the other mafia in L.A I don't believe this book helped me understand Mickey's reign as mob boss.

I found the book hard to follow as it jumped from one person to another to different years then back again. I found that I learned a lot about other mobsters, policeman and movie stars. Although I liked that part of the book/history I didn'
May 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I just finished reading Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster by Tere Tereba. As a lover of non-fiction I was truly looking forward to reading this book. I did not know much about Mickey Cohen or L.A. during his reign as the 'Boss'. I still don't.

What I wound up learning was the name of every criminal, police officer, prostitute and movie star in Mickey's lifetime. The book read more like a gossip column from the 1940's. Perhaps there is a good reason that Mickey Cohen's
This was a pretty dry book. I don't think it was the author's fault but that of the person it was written about. Mickey was quite the mobster. He had OCD, a love of fame and power, and felt he needed to rule everything. He became a bookie without realizing that he didn't know how to read, write, or add. I would think that would be something that should have been given some thought.
Steve Gross
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The Life and Crimes of Mickey Cohen, an LA gangster of the Bugsy Siegel era. Workmanlike biography but Cohen, all in all, is not a very interesting person.
Justin Robinson
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thorough. Stops short of being gossipy.
Rachel Dows
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Underwhelming, but relatively interesting. Took me forever to get through.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
While very detailed and informative, this book wasn’t all that riveting.
Todd Stockslager
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Review title: Send lawyers, guns, and money

Amongst the fun facts that enliven this lightweight tabloid-level biography of gangster Cohen I learned that Warren Zevon's father was a lower-level associate of Cohen. Perhaps Warren wrote the song based on his father's accounts of his old gangster days.

I also learned that there really was a Gangster Squad, a small elite unbadged corps within the LAPD given free reign to bring down Cohen. I don't know how the recently released movie tells the story, bu
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, true-crime
I enjoyed this book. I had signed up to win it on here a few months ago and lost and to be honest, I forgot all about this book. One day while checking out the new non-fiction shelf I saw this book and checked it out and then couldn't put it down. It doesn't go into a lot of details about Cohen's life but it does give you a quick, easy to read brief biography of LA's little big man. It brings in all sorts of hoods you have probably heard of and a lot you haven't. This book ties in a lot of A-lis ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

My opinion of the audiobook edition of ‘Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.’S Notorious Mobster,’ by Tere Tereba (Kate Reading, Narrator) ran the gamut from ‘a total piece of exploitation crap’ to ‘an amazingly interesting and insightful look’ at both the underworld on the west coast, and at the mid-20th century history of Los Angeles. Often sounding (/reading) like a Hollywood Confidential gossip rag, with exhausting lists of names, addresses, dates and FBI fi
Jun 06, 2013 added it
A biography of an Old Time gangster of L.A. I enjoyed the book primarily because it was a window into the times of L.A. of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Mickey Cohen was a colorful character, almost fitting the Hollywood stereotype of a gangster of that era. I also found the book fascinating since it provided a picture of what old school LAPD use to be like during the days of Chief William Parker.
Pat Lampe
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Very interesting history of Los Angeles in the 40s and 50s. Wish I had known more about it and could have discussed with my parents. The narrator had a pleasant voice but someone should have corrected her pronunciation of streets and even common words such as penitentiary. And Melvin Belly instead of Melvin Bell-eye. Distracting to say the least.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting. I knew the studios ran the lives of their actors. I didn't know how Mickey Cohen and other mobsters were involved with or influence the studios. Readers of mob and/or motion picture history should enjoy this book.
Nicole Marble
I grew up in the LA area and recall Mickey Cohens name in the news from my early years, but really knew nothing about him. Now I do.
The writing is good and the story interesting.
But this was an audio book and the reader mispronounced, well, a lot.
William Matthies
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I've said in other reviews, I enjoy non fiction crime stories, particularly those about individuals who lived when I did or just before. Mickey Cohen is one of those and his story takes place Los Angeles where I was born during the height of his prominence.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've read a lot of books about organized crime and find the topic interesting. However, this one lacked a cohesive story to tie it together. It was hard to follow with tons of names being thrown out and accounts coming out of order. Overall, it read too much like a textbook.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won
I found the material was an easy read & very interesting. ...more
Carol Storm
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The definitive Bio of LA's crime king! A must read for all James Ellroy fans!
Joseph Luizzi
May 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I found the most interesting fact, was that before he was a kingpin in LA, he was a hood in Cleveland. Back then it was the fifth largest city in America. Times have changed!
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
It's great as a factbook. The writing was too convoluted for my taste. A lot of run-on sentences.
Mark Levandoski
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting history lesson of the crime fraction of L.A. . If you liked the movie LA Confidential you will like this book.
Scott Tappa
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Seemed like it should've been fascinating story but never really was.
Sep 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Didn't finish didn't like
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Very informative..but definitely spotlighted the fact that MC was a minor player in the organized crime leaderboard...definitely not one of the upper echelon in the family.
Tony Wilson
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Not a lot of new info in this, but it did spur an interest in Candy Barr. Hubba hubba.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall
  • Problems in Modern Latin American History: Sources and Interpretations
  • Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition
  • The Blank Wall
  • The Drive-Thru Crematorium
  • 500 Essential Words: GRE Vocabulary Flash Cards (Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides)
  • Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America
  • The Romans Who Shaped Britain
  • Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions
  • Facing the Promotional Interview
  • Youth Strength Training: Programs for Health, Fitness, and Sport
  • Ty's Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room
  • Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster
  • The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1)
  • Gangland New York: The Places and Faces of Mob History
  • Oath of Honor (Logan West #2)
  • The Tale of the Devil: The Biography of Devil Anse Hatfield
  • The Last Man (Mitch Rapp, #13)
See similar books…

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
47 likes · 20 comments