Mobsters and Gangsters: Organized Crime in America from...

Editor's Choice

January 26, 2003|By Michael Pakenham

Mobsters and Gangsters: Organized Crime in America from Al Capone to Tony Soprano, edited by Life Magazine, 128 pages, $19.95.

The remnants of the legendary Life magazine are now an occasional book publishing imprint, and its latest production is this gallivant through its title subject. The pictures are the heart of it, of course, and they are splendid, if you like the looks of gangsters, dead or alive. Among the earliest are the Daltons, all four of them shot down in 1892, as the gang "poses posthumously." Among the latest is Paul Castellano; a New York Daily News photo reveals his sheet-shrouded form on the sidewalk in front of Sparks steak house in Midtown Manhattan in 1985. In between are many, many mobsters, and a goodly number of their film imitations -- from James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson to Godfather shots galore, and finally today's Sopranos. A bit gory, but good, clean fun.

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