I visit the seamy side

Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster by Jonathan Eig
From page 1, this book grabbed me. Here’s what did it: the writing style.
Eig’s writing is positively fun to read. He makes the reading effortless (which probably is tough to do on the writing side of things).
And his writing is smart—he uses great turns of phrase and has wonderfully understated comic timing.
Here’s a sample: “As much as any Chicagoan, Sbarbaro embodied the city’s love-hate relationship with bootleggers. He held two jobs—one as an assistant state’s attorney, the other as a funeral home director—so that when he wasn’t putting gangsters in jail, he was putting them in coffins.” (p. 48)
Not only is the writing snappy, but the skillful characterizations bring the bad guys, the good guys, and all of the in-between guys, vividly to life.
Based on the title, I expected this book to focus solely on the plot to take down Capone, but happily, it also provides plenty of background about his rise to power. And the whole thing—the rise, the fall—all of it is captivating and seemingly too strange to be true.
Along the way, I grew wildly fond of the quiet, careful (and Iowa-born!) U.S. Attorney George E.Q. Johnson, whose work eventually led to Capone’s imprisonment for income tax evasion. The author had access to Johnson’s papers, which provided a wealth of detail and insight.
The other fascinating part of this book is the contention that the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was not ordered by Capone, but was instead planned and carried out by William “Three-Fingered Jack” White in retaliation for his cousin’s murder. Eig makes a good case, methinks.
Here’s my ringing endorsement of this book:
I nearly always get creeped out by true crime books, so usually you wouldn’t hear me going, “Great! Gangland killings! Let me read on!”
But I could not put this book down.
Here’s the trailer:

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