Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles

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Macmillan, Aug 7, 2012 - History - 549 pages
19 Reviews

“Read this man’s book.” --James Ellroy

A harrowing, edge-of-your-seat narrative of murder and secrets, revenge and heroism in the City of Angels—the real events behind the blockbuster Warner Brothers film starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

GANGSTER SQUAD chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and other hoodlums from Los Angeles after WWII. In 1946, the LAPD launched the Gangster Squad with eight men who met covertly on street corners and slept with Tommy guns under their beds. But for two cops, all that mattered was nailing the strutting gangster Mickey Cohen. Sgt. Jack O’Mara was a square-jawed church usher, Sgt. Jerry Wooters a cynical maverick. About all they had in common was their obsession. So O’Mara set a trap to prove Mickey was a killer. And Wooters formed an alliance with Mickey’s budding rival, Jack “The Enforcer” Whalen. Two cops -- two hoodlums.  Their fates collided in the closing days of the 1950s, when late one night “The Enforcer” confronted Mickey and his crew. The aftermath would shake both LA’s mob and police department, and signal the end of a defining era in the city’s history.

Warner Brothers developed the film Gangster Squad based on the research award-winning journalist Paul Lieberman conducted for this book, which reveals the unbelievable true stories behind the film. He spent more than a decade tracking down and interviewing surviving members of the real police unit as well as families and associates of the mobsters they pursued.  Gangster Squad is a tour-de-force narrative reminiscent of LA Confidential.               

  

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It's book was very difficult to read. - Goodreads
Very well researched, put together, and executed. - Goodreads
This is no Hollywood ending, in the best sense. - Goodreads
I was put off by the author's writing style. - Goodreads

Review: Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles

User Review  - Jonathan Le - Goodreads

I had high expectations for this book but was disappointed. I was put off by the author's writing style. For a professional reporter, the style was choppy, disjointed and extremely hard to follow. It ... Read full review

Review: Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles

User Review  - Jack Khandjian - Goodreads

The theme statement of Gangster Squad is to never steal and always do what is right. The story takes place in Los Angeles. The setting of the book is about a group of guys who try to stop a really ... Read full review

Contents

A Violin Case Under the
1
THE WHALENS MOVE WEST TO THE CITY OF ANGELS
7
The City Where Evil Comes from Without
16
Young Jack Whalen Takes a Plane Ride
27
THE GANGSTER SQUADS SERGEANT JACK OMARA
43
OMaras Mulholland Drive Sneeze
68
Mickey Moves Up Bugsy Moves Six Feet Down
77
The Fake DriveBy
86
Fiftyeight Rubouts and a Wedding
165
The Bedbug
176
Mickeys Turn
191
The Trap
206
SERGEANT JERRY WOOTERS AND THE DEADLY
219
How Jack Whalen Became The Enforcer
266
Mickey Gets
290
Machine Gun Shootouts on the Big Screen
531

OMara Meets the Whalens
96
A Bug in Mickeys
102
Florabel to the Rescue
153
Acknowledgments
547
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

PAUL LIEBERMAN spent 24 years as a writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times and before that was projects editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  He has won dozens of journalism honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy Awards Grand Prize, a George Polk Award, Gerald Loeb Award and American Society of Newspaper Editors Award. He also shared in two team Pulitzer Prizes at the L.A. Times, as a writer on its coverage of the Los Angeles Riots and an editor of its reporting on the Northridge Earthquake. A native New Yorker, Lieberman is a graduate of Williams College and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where he studied law and social history. He lives in Westchester County with his wife, Heidi, a school administrator.

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