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The Purples

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Elvis Presley sang about them; Al Capone was afraid of them. The legendary Purple Gang rose from a Jewish ghetto in Detroit to rule the river during the Motor City's booming 1920s heyday. Their dramatic story is revealed in THE PURPLES, a novel blending rich historical detail with nonstop suspense, narrated by the gang's leader"the cool, savvy, unforgettable Joe Bernstein. ...more
Kindle Edition, 332 pages
Published (first published May 6th 2010)
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Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took Berger 10 years to write and I tore through it in a day and change. As something of a maven for Detroit history, I loved the way he took actual events and weaved them into a convincing story.
Carla JFCL
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite things in reading is being completely (and pleasantly) surprised by a book that I expected virtually nothing from; this is exactly that kind of book. I’m not sure how or why I had this book on my Kindle, as it’s been there for awhile; I think it was a freebie I grabbed at some point because the plot sounded somewhat interesting. I’m often disappointed by these books, as I do believe we get what we pay for. Not so in this case.

I quickly found myself absorbed in the plot, charac
Ken Schloman
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent "gangster" novel. More "readable" than "The Godfather", it tells the story of Detroit's Purple gang of the 1920's and 30's. Told from the point of view of the gang's boss, it is a somewhat sanitized version of the gang's activities. Again this is understandable from the point of view being used. Based on historical fact, it only hints at some of the real gang's activities, such as a relationship with the Capone organization in Chicago as well as possible involvement in the " ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The cover quote from Michael Balkind says, "Fast moving and funny, The Purples has a hard edge, a soft heart, and an original voice." I've never read a more apt blurb.

The first page hooked me with the image of a bored gangster creating an igloo out of sugar cubes. A house of sugar. The builder is part of the notorious Sugar House gang. A symbol? Maybe. Because when his hand crushes his little project from shock at seeing Joe Bernstein--previously believed killed by other Sugar House members--it
Zohar -
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
“The Purples” by W.K. Berger tells is a (mostly) fictional story told through the eyes of real life Jewish mobster Joe Bernstein. Joe is the head of the “Purple Gang” who ran booze across the Detroit River from Canada during the Prohibition era.

Afraid of the worker’s unions in 1920’s Detroit Henry Ford’s agents, under the guise of fighting communism, arrest a multitude of people. Rachel is one of those people only that Rachel’s boyfriend is Jewish mobster Joe Bernstein.

Joe starts the “Purple Gan
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy Bertsch
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have just now finished reading The Purples by Warren Berger. It is the fictional story (albeit anchored in fact and well researched) of a group of Jewish mobsters in Detroit during the 1920’s and early 1930’s. It is told through the words of Joe Bernstein himself -- leader of the gang, and a guy you can’t help liking, however you resist the urge. Brutally pragmatic, Joe makes you see the world through his eyes, and a savage world it was, peopled by the quirky, sometimes disgusting but always f ...more
Britt Vasarhelyi
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Britt by: found it on amazon
I reviewed this book on Amazon last November but had read it some time before. I still think about it occasionally and will probably re-read it at some point. It's definitely a gangster book so if that's not your metier, I suggest not wasting your time. But for those who do enjoy this genre, I found it to be far different from anything else out there I've come across and very well done.

NOTE: I only review books that I can assign a 4 or 5 star to. I do this because I am also an author and I know
Robert Davidson
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Purples, a fictional story by Warren Berger,is reminiscent of Harry Grey's The Hoods but only because it is peopled with Jewish mobsters of the 20s and 30s and is eminently readable. There is not one iota of plagiarism. The prose is powerful and takes the reader forcefully by the literary lapels to hold his attention right from the start. The characters, peopling a plot that requires little suspension of disbelief, are larger than life but well rounded. It is obviously well researched.
The au
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Some parts of the book were very well written while others bumbled along a little. The main character, Joe, is highly likeable despite being the leader of a pretty vicious gang. not knowing the history I don't know what parts of the book are fact or fiction, but all of the characters were very believable, as were the events. Definitely worth a read, especially for the insight into life in Detroit in the 20s.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Very interesting story of the rise and fall of a gangster in Detroit during the 1920s and 30s. While the author claims the story is about the Purple Gang, there really isn't that much truth woven through. Think of it more as an imaginative telling of what gang life might have been like, and it just happens to share a name with an actual gang that existed at the time.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of the Purples before reading this book. Although this is a work of fiction it is based on fact. This was an enjoyable read, which is bizarre considering it is about bad guys with minimal redeeming qualities. Give it a shot. No pun intended.
Jon Estle
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really wanted this book to be great. Its was good, not great. Theirs not a really good movie or book about the Purples. It didn't actually go into a lot of detail about their gang activity. A weird romance was worked in unnecessarily.
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An entertaining crime drama with dark humor, set in my home town of Detroit, back in the roaring '20s. Lots of well drawn characters and plotlines. I liked this because it was different than the usual yuppie angst books I read. Also, because my husband wrote it!
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“It was dusk when I drove back into downtown Detroit. I was annoyed by how much traffic there was at that hour of the day. Being a guy with two good legs who doesn’t mind ankling, I hadn’t realized the car situation had gotten so bad in the city. I almost had two smack-ups with people who refused to yield to me. Then I bumped someone from behind, intentionally, at the new flashing traffic light on Jefferson. The guy in the car had refused to move—he just sat there waiting because the light was red. After I bumped him (not that hard), the squirt hopped out of his car red in the face, and I must admit the sight of him gave me my first laugh in two days. He said, “Can’t you see it’s a red light?” I told him a red light is just a suggestion. Then I pressed the gas lightly and started pushing his car further out into the intersection whilst he stood there in disbelief. “Better get back in, your car is leaving without you,” I said.” 0 likes
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