After watching a few episodes of Boardwalk Empire, my interest in Chicago’s violent Prohibition-era past was rekindled. In the process of browsing around on various message boards, Lesy’s book came up as a recommendation and I was duly excited about reading it. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a let down.
The book is a history of murder in the 20s, though not as gang-focused as you might think. Instead, the average person’s romantic entanglements gone awry, their intrigues and violent outbursts. It sounded promising and I was really excited to read it. Once I started, however, I was quite disappointed. The author’s writing style is very choppy but seemingly without rhyme or reason; he would create sentence fragments constantly throughout a paragraph but with little regard for emphasis. It made the reading very rough and occasionally confusing. It didn’t help that the chapters were poorly organized and the subjects chosen without rhyme or reason (yes they were all murders but the order seemed totally arbitrary).
You’d probably be better off just reading newspaper accounts of the incidents in question. Sadly, this was not a good use of my reading time.