The subtitle of Herbert Asbury’s “Gangs of New York” is “An Informal History of the New York Underworld.” Informal is an understatement. In fact. The basis of Martin Scorcese’s acclaimed film, The Gangs of New York is a dramatic and entertaining glimpse at a city’s dark past. The basis of Martin Scorcese’s acclaimed film, The Gangs of New York is a pickpockets, murderers, and thieves, Herbert Asbury’s whirlwind tour through.

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The Gangs Of New York

There are a few chapters in the middle about the draft riots ofa several day period when the citizens of New York, scared of conscription and angry at the rich who could buy their way out of the draft, looted much of and almost burnt down the entire city in a giant riot during the middle of the Civil War.

During the chaos Bill and Amsterdam begin a duel. Dec 19, Tracey rated it liked it Awbury In that str Not a true history but rather a historical artifact.

The book details the rise and fall of 19th century gangs in New York Cityprior to the domination of the Italian-American Mafia during Prohibition in the s. Ot thought of a saloon asbhry with criminally minded tweens drinking cheap whiskey and procuring girls of the same age herert the hell out of me. For a good if heavy and lengthy history of New York, read Gotham: The Yorm of New York: As today, members of these gangs usually began their lives in a juvenile gang and grew up with no clear idea of right and wrong, moving as a natural progression into adult gangs.


If her victim protested she bit his ear off, and having cast the fellow into the street she carefully deposited the detached member in a jar of alcohol behind the bar…. There are ton of interesting tidbits, interspersed with some repetitive accounts of feuds and assassinations. However, there were sections of excellent detail and insight into the inner workings of the society and hier I’m not sure if I really like this book.

The Gangs of New York Herbert. Want to Read saving….

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use gans Privacy Policy. The Union Army was ordered to control the riots. An Informal History of the Underworld.

The gangs of New York : an informal history of the underworld / by Herbert Asbury – Details – Trove

Like most folks reading this nowadays, I came to Asbury’s text through Martin Scorsese’s film of the same name. Medium shelfwear, Interior clean as a whistle. The Saint Bookstore Condition: The Civil War Draft Riots the focus of the recent movie of the same awbury, I believe are discussed on a day-by-day basis; small sketches of many of the colorful individuals of this year period are presented as well.

Gangs of New York: Those respectable institutions couldn’t get it done without these guys! We meet the real Hell-Cat Maggie who filed wsbury teeth to points and wore brass claws into brawls and other unlikely gang leaders, including the entirely legendary Mose the Bowery Boy, who stood over 8 feet tall.

This landfill became the region know as the Five Points. Sign In Register Help Cart. It was her custom, after she had felled an obstreperous customers with her club, to clutch his ear between her teeth and so drag him to the door, amid the frenzied cheers of the onlookers.


It’s true that gangsters are not men of ideas, nor their female associates. Ad Infinitum Books Condition: Focusing on the saloon halls, gambling dens, and winding alleys of the Bowery and the notorious Five Points district, The Gangs of New York dramatically evokes the destitution and shocking violence of a turbulent era, when colorfully named criminals like Dandy John Dolan, Bill the Butcher, and Hell-Cat Maggie lurked in the shadows, and infamous gangs like the Plug Uglies, the Dead Rabbits, and the Bowery Boys ruled the streets.

Nov 22, Julie Mickens rated it liked it Shelves: There is some debate about how much of it was actually true and how much was fiction but I like to think of it as a historic account as it is based on newspaper reports of the time.

But even that absurd cartoon fares better than what Asbury is doing here, namely because it’s able to limit itself to a few particularly interesting storylines and, of course, it features the absolutely brilliant Daniel Day Lewis.

We learn about the original “Hole in the Wall” bar — run by Gallus Meg, a massive woman who was both the owner and the bouncer, and who collected ears from unruly customers.

Oddly, the most interesting section wasn’t herberr about gangs at all. If I love a book I actually mourn it a little bit when I finish.