List of Abbreviations vii
List of Illustrations ix
List of Characters xi
Prologue: Naked City 1
1 Reel Gangsters-Mobsters and the Movies 13
2 Real Gangsters: Abe Reles and the Origins of Murder, Inc. 31
3 Gangster City 54
4 Fiorello La Guardia and the Cinema of Redemption 75
5 Gangbuster: Thomas Dewey and Imperfect Justice 97
6 Murder, Inc.: "I Got Used to It" 126
7 A Theater of Ethics: Mr. Arsenic and the Murder, Inc., Trials 157
8 Ethics of Ambiguity: The Canary Could Sing but Couldn't Fly 185
Epilogue: "That Dangerous and Sad City of the Imagination" 209
Murder, Inc. and the Moral Life: Gangsters and Gangbusters in La Guardia's New York tells the story of the notorious 1930s Brooklyn gang nicknamed "Murder, Inc" and offers an extended moral reflection on the phenomenon of gangsters.
Robert Weldon Whalen is Carolyn G. and Sam H. McMahon Jr. Professor of History at Queens University of Charlotte. His publications include Sacred Spring: God and Modernism in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna; "Like Fire in Broomstraw": Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931; and Assassinating Hitler: Ethics and Resistance in Nazi Germany.
"Murder, Inc., and the Moral Life: Gangsters and Gangbusters in La Guardia's New York is a keen account of organized crime during the first half of the twentieth century. Most significant is the book's integral, cogent analysis of the unfortunate marriage of criminality, in all of its diversity, and the general population's fascination with it. A must-read for anyone interested in the complex story of gangsterism in the United States!" -- -Anthony Julian Tamburri Dean, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute "In Murder, Inc. and the Moral Life, Robert Weldon Whalen connects the real gangsters to the 'reel' gangsters and the forces that shaped and fought them. He explores our fascination with the gangster figure through the moral and ethical questions that helped to shape American culture for the past one hundred years. With sound research, good clear writing, and a critical sense of history, Whalen adds new dimensions to the study of this truly unique American archetype of crime and masculinity." -- -Fred Gardaphe Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies, Queens College/CUNY and author of From Wiseguys to Wise Men