First order of business on the Good Ship Cosmic Bobo is to review a book I just read by Deirdre Marie Capone, titled: Uncle Al Capone - The Untold Story From Inside His Family.
The book is fascinating in a few aspects, predictable in a "not bad" sense, agreeable in many ways, and chock full of pictures, which is always a plus, especially when reading the Kindle Edition... which often screws you out of pix. An aside is Bugliosi's book on JFK. Thousands of pages, but no images in the Kindle Version.
During the reading the pictures were sparse, breaking no ground. At the end is a treasure chest of pictures, though some are not well focused. You still see images you've never seen before. I was extremely pleased, unlike the Chicago Press book with their glass negative images. They couldn't even get the direction right, i.e. the famous shot of Al and Sonny at the ballpark with Sonny and Big Al's scar on the wrong sides. Unforgivable for a press edition. I digress.
Some of the reviews trash this book as having been a trumped up memory in an age where there is no one left to argue about it. That's garbage. I think Ms Capone waited until she offended a few less family members by coming out. Self Serving? What book isn't?
Some brought up that Ms Capone had an unbelievable (literally) memory, yet I can remember back to my second year, maybe earlier, as I remember being in a crib, too. I probably looked like Jimmy Cagney raking my baby cup across the bars. For the sake of argument, let's say that her memory is not as tight and sure as she writes. She spent enough time with her family, them going over old stories and memories over and over until it was pretty well in her head. My mother told me something I did that I could not recall, but if I were to write about it, I would write as if from memory.
One reviewer vehemently wrote that NO gangster would tell anything to anyone about anything they did. I can't swear how close Ms Capone was to her grandfather Ralph, but he lived well into her adulthood and could very easily have told her "how things were."
Oh, snap! All the people Big Al was responsible for killing. Here we go with my take on government... I mean organized crime... I mean government -- SAME THING!
Big Al killed people. So have all of our presidents, the worst being Honest Abe. Big Al committed other crimes. So does our government every day every one of those 530 odd congressman, executives, and justices go to work. The very least by robbing us by not doing their jobs. The very most by sanctioning laws to suit themselves. Bastards one and all.
They took liquor away from us. Big Al gave it back. They make prostitution illegal, meaning I can pay two people fifty thousand dollars to have sex on film, but I can't buy it for myself for a few hundred. I'm not defending prostitution, but it is our criminal government that makes it profitable for criminals.
You must remember that when Al Capone came to Chicago we were less than two decades past Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid getting killed or escaping. I am not really fond of people being killed, but it was a different era, the main difference being that while "The Outfit" was coming into its own; so were law enforcement. Let's not forget that asshole in a dress, J. Edgar Hoover: The guy who had people shot in the back, shot the wrong criminals, and made Ma Barker out to be Elizabeth Bathory, when there is not one iota, not squat, not an ort of evidence to show that she did anything at all wrong, save some less than savory breakfasts, says Al Creepy Karpis, whose word I believe over anything JEH and our wonderful crime lords in Washington say.
So we had a mob, the old style, like the Six Families Tongs in San Francisco. There weren't as many renegade actions (random gang crapola) like we have now that our "legitimate" government has grown into it's own. I have a much better chance of being taken down by our government or the cracks in the system they caused than I would have in Al Capone's Chicago.
So, Deirdre Capone paints her family to be a tad rosier than they might be. She is offsetting decades of one-sidedness that have been put out there. Maybe there's a good reason people still show a whispering respect in Chicago when Big Al is brought up.
My only issue is that Ms Capone mentions somewhere towards the start of her book that there is someone claiming to be Al's Grandson. This person would like Al exhumed for DNA. That is not necessary if a known blood relation will volunteer. I cannot imagine everyone in the family NOT wanting to know if they have a cousin.
Take no shame in the name Capone. Different times. Different standards. Perhaps (I should say absolutely) we would have less crime now if "The Outfit" ran the country.