Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip

Minnesota Historical Society
2
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“Karlen offers a colorful and impressively researched account of the Minneapolis underworld and his fascinating relative that feels right out of Damon Runyon’s Guys and Dolls.” Star Tribune 

“Deliciously snappy.” American Jewish World

“Karlen brings back the days when Peggy Lee walked into Augie’s straight off the bus from North Dakota, when mid-century celebrities like Frank Sinatra visited Hennepin Avenue, and when the most powerful crime lords in the land checked their guns at the door when they visited Augie’s.” MinnPost

“Augie’s Secrets is filled with stunning, stylish prose that captures the flavor of the Jewish underworld of downtown Minneapolis down to its last rubout and pastrami sandwich.” Paul Maccabee, author of John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920–1936

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About the author

 Neal Karlen, who has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, is the author or co-author of six books. 

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3.5
2 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Minnesota Historical Society
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Published on
Apr 30, 2013
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9780873518970
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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From a National Book Award-winning biographer, the first complete life of legendary gangster Al Capone to be produced with the cooperation of his family, who provided the author with exclusive access to personal testimony and archival documents.

From his heyday to the present moment, Al Capone—Public Enemy Number One—has gripped popular imagination. Rising from humble Brooklyn roots, Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history. At the height of Prohibition, his multimillion-dollar Chicago bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling operation dominated the organized-crime scene. His competition with rival gangs was brutally violent, a long-running war that crested with the shocking St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. Law enforcement and the media elite seemed powerless to stop the growth of his empire. And then the fall: a legal noose tightened by the FBI, a conviction on tax evasion, Alcatraz. After his release he returned to his family in Miami a much diminished man, living quietly until the ravages of his neurosyphilis took their final toll. But the slick mobster persona endures, immortalized in countless novels and movies.
     The true flesh-and-blood man behind the legend has long remained a mystery. Unscrupulous newspaper accounts and Capone’s own tall tales perpetuated his mystique, but through dogged research Deirdre Bair debunks the most outrageous of these myths. With the help of Capone’s descendants, she discovers his essential humanity, uncovering a complex character that was flawed and sometimes cruel but also capable of nobility. And while revealing the private Al Capone, a genuine family man as remembered by those who knew him best, Bair relates how his descendants have borne his weighty legacy.
     Rigorous and intimate, Al Capone provides new answers to the enduring questions about this fascinating figure, who was equal parts charismatic gangster, devoted patriarch, and calculating monster.
You've met the Italian mob
in The Godfather, now welcome
to the real-life world of Irish
America's own murderous clan
of organized crime

The man who has remained silent for more than a decade finally speaks, revealing the gritty true story of his life inside the infamous South Boston Irish mob led by the elusive, Machiavellian kingpin Whitey Bulger, who to this day remains on the lam as one of the world's Ten Most Wanted criminals, second only to Osama bin Laden.

John "Red" Shea was a top lieutenant in the South Boston Irish mob, rising to this position at the age of twenty-one. Thus began his tutelage under the notorious Irish godfather James "Whitey" Bulger. An ice-cold enforcer with a legendary red-hot temper, Shea was a legend among his Southie peers in the 1980s. From the first delivery truck he robbed at thirteen to the start of his twelve-year federal sentence for drug trafficking at twenty-seven, Shea was a portrait in American crime -- a terror, brutal and ruthlessly ambitious. Drug dealer, loan shark, money launderer, and multimillion-dollar narcotics kingpin, Shea was at the pinnacle of power -- until the feds came knocking and eventually obliterated the legendary mob in a well-orchestrated sweep of arrests, fueled by insider tips to the FBI and DEA.

While Bulger's other top men turned informant to save their own hides, Shea alone kept his code of honor and his mouth shut -- loyalty that earned him a dozen years of hard time even as the man he was protecting turned out to be, himself, a rat. For in the end, in a remarkable show of betrayal, Bulger turned out to be the FBI's "main man" and top informant -- tipping off the feds for decades while still managing to operate one of the most murderous and profitable organized crime outfits of all time.

In Rat Bastards, Shea brings that mysterious world and gritty urban Irish American street culture into sharp focus by telling his own story -- of his fatherless upbringing, his apprenticeship on the tough streets of Southie, and his love affair with trouble, boxing, and then the gangster life. In prose that is refreshingly honest, personal, and surprisingly tender, Shea tells his harrowing, unflinching, and unapologetic story. A man who did the crime, did the time, and held fast to the Irish code of silence, which he was raised to follow at any cost, Shea remains a man of honor and in doing so has become a living legend. One of the last of a dying breed, a true stand-up guy.

Shea expects no forgiveness and makes no excuses for the life he chose. His story is intense, compelling, and in your face.

Babes in Toyland is a rare peek into the glamorous and tough world of rock and roll—an exclusive backstage pass for anyone who has ever fantasized about starting a band, being discovered by a major label, recording an album, and touring the country to play music in front of thousands. Also, with its revealing look at the record business—an industry that makes the rest of show business seem positively tame—this book is as immediate as a new issue of Rolling Stone, as colorful as a good mystery, and as tart and explosive as a top-ten hit.
 
Told with the gritty, up-close feel of a behind-the-scenes documentary film, this is the story of three young women who wanted to play rock and roll like the boys. It follows their coming together in the underground grunge-rock scene in Minneapolis, their early club days, and their discovery by Warner Bros. Records. It tracks their dramatic breakup (and reconfiguration), goes through the often funny, sometimes inspiring, and always emotional recording sessions for their album Fontanelle, and goes stage-side as they film their all-important video for MTV. Veteran journalist Neal Karlen was given unprecedented access to Warners marketing and strategy meetings, where he observed firsthand the star-making machinery that runs the pop music business. From punk rockers in the mosh pit to rock stars in mansions, Babes in Toyland contains revealing snapshots of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, as well as Beavis and Butt-head, today's most powerful rock critics.
 
Center-stage in this story are the members of Babes in Toyland: Kat Bjelland, the punk-rock poetess who'd dreamed of being a star since she was five years old; Lori Barbero, the dreadlocked drummer and band mother who was best friend to everybody in the alternative music scene; and Maureen Herman, the brainy bassist who struggled to fit in with the group. There's also Tim Carr, the Warner Bros. A & R man who saw in the Babes the talent and drive to make it to the top of the grunge scene. Finally, there's Babes in Toyland's triumphant spot on the 1993 Lollapalooza, the most prestigious tour in rock and roll. In this real-life version of The Commitments, readers will also see how success can do more to damage a band of best friends than failure.
Yiddish—an oft-considered "gutter" language—is an unlikely survivor of the ages, much like the Jews themselves. Its survival has been an incredible journey, especially considering how often Jews have tried to kill it themselves. Underlying Neal Karlen's unique, brashly entertaining, yet thoroughly researched telling of the language's story is the notion that Yiddish is a mirror of Jewish history, thought, and practice—for better and worse.

Karlen charts the beginning of Yiddish as a minor dialect in medieval Europe that helped peasant Jews live safely apart from the marauders of the First Crusades. Incorporating a large measure of antique German dialects, Yiddish also included little scraps of French, Italian, ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, the Slavic and Romance languages, and a dozen other tongues native to the places where Jews were briefly given shelter. One may speak a dozen languages, all of them Yiddish.

By 1939, Yiddish flourished as the lingua franca of 13 million Jews. After the Holocaust, whatever remained of Yiddish, its worldview and vibrant culture, was almost stamped out—by Jews themselves. Yiddish was an old-world embarrassment for Americans anxious to assimilate. In Israel, young, proud Zionists suppressed Yiddish as the symbol of the weak and frightened ghetto-bound Jew—and invented modern Hebrew.

Today, a new generation has zealously sought to explore the language and to embrace its soul. This renaissance has spread to millions of non-Jews who now know the subtle difference between a shlemiel and a shlimazel; hundreds of Yiddish words dot the most recent editions of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Story of Yiddish is a delightful tale of a people, their place in the world, and the fascinating language that held them together.

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