Gus Russo The Outfit

ISBN 13: 9781582342795

The Outfit

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The never-before-told story of the great Chicago crime family called The Outfit.

It is a common misperception that all the true-life organized crime stories have been written. Yet perhaps the most compelling gangster tale is one that has been, until now, too well-hidden. This is the story of 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.

The Outfit recounts the adventures and exploits of its bosses, Tony 'Joe Batters' Accardo (the real Godfather), Murray 'The Camel' or 'Curly' Humphreys (one of the greatest political fixers and union organizers this country has ever known), Paul 'The Waiter' Ricca, and Johnny Rosselli (the liaison between the shadowy world and the outside world). Their invisibility was their strength, and what kept their leader from ever spending a single night in jail. The Outfit bosses were the epitome of style and grace, moving effortlessly among national political figures and Hollywood studio heads-until their world started to crumble in the 1970s.

With extensive research including recently released FBI files, the Chicago Crime files of entertainer Steve Allen, first-ever access to the voluminous working papers of the Kefauver Committee, original interviews with the members of the Fourth Estate who pursued the Outfit for forty years, and exclusive access to the journals of Humphrey's widow, veteran journalist Gus Russo uncovers sixty years of corruption and influence, and examines the shadow history of the United States.

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About the Author:

Gus Russo is the author of Live By the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK. He is an investigative reporter who has worked for various major television networks, including PBS' Frontline series.

From Publishers Weekly:

Investigative reporter Russo (Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK) offers an impressive in-depth history of Chicago's elusive crime syndicate. Unlike their trigger-happy East Coast counterparts, Chicago's gangsters stressed businesslike discretion following the chaotic Capone era, and they had a wide-ranging impact on American culture, entertainment and politics that has never been fully documented. Russo has new sources, ranging from entertainer Steve Allen's "crime files" to the widow of the book's most memorable figure, the Outfit's financial manager, "Curly" Humphreys. Others, like Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, will be known to Mob aficionados, but even they will note Russo's novel thesis, that the lucrative scams carried out during the group's 40-year heyday involved members of the respected "upperworld." These ventures ranged from the well known, such as the gambling operations that fueled Chicago's civic corruption, to the surprising (Mob-linked dairies were the first to use "sell by" dates). The Outfit started off-track betting and Top 40 charts and, in its declining years, the Outfit's "fixer," Sidney Korshak, vetted the cast of The Godfather. According to Russo, their "respectable" partners who publicly abhorred the gangster element included Joe Kennedy, MCA president Jules Stein, Bing Crosby, Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, and innumerable public servants. Russo humanizes the shadowy gangsters without denying their violent proclivities. He also examines them in the context of traditional immigrant ambitions. Russo's illuminating history may disorient some readers; still, this is the book to beat in examining this midcentury criminal empire. B&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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