Grady Hendrix's Reviews > The Gangs of New York

The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury
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's review
Sep 30, 2008

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Research. Mostly lies cobbled together by the degenerate hack, Asbury, but the important thing is that they're interesting lies. And who isn't moved by the tale of Gallus Mag biting off the ear of her mortal enemy, the river pirate Sadie the Goat, and keeping it pickled in a jar behind the bar of her dive for decades before the two women became friends and Gallus fished out Sadie's ear and gave it back to her while crying on her shoulder and hugging her tight? BFF.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie I was thinking about reading this book. Should I not?

Grady Hendrix It's a hell of a lot of fun, just realize that a lot of it is made up. Or Very Loosely Based on Facts. Asbury also wrote ALL AROUND THE TOWN which is in a similar vein but covers scandals, weirdness, and general freakery in early New York, including the really funny tale of NY's cross-dressing governor, Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. Asbury didn't let the fact that the claims of the Earl's cross-dressing were mostly spread by his political enemies and didn't have a basis in reality stop him from telling a good story.

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