The Starker: Big Jack Zelig, the Becker-Rosenthal Case, and the Advent of the Jewish Gangster

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Cumberland House, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
3 Reviews
Selig Harry Lefkowitz, alias Big Jack Zelig, was New York's first great gangster boss. Like many of his pre-Volstead contemporaries, his historic impact has been overshadowed by Al Capone and Murder Inc. He is listed in today's crime anthologies primarily because four members of the gang, along with corrupt cop Charles Becker, died in the electric chair for the July 1912 murder of gambler Herman Rosenthal. In New York City from 1908 to 1912, however, Zelig inspired admiration and fear, and he was synonymous with the word 'gangster.' New York editor Herbert Bayard Swope recalled that The Starker (Yiddish for 'Big Boss') threw terror into the heart of the New York underworld like no one has before or since."" Based on dozens of interviews and years of painstaking research, ""The Starker"" introduces readers to a story from New York's criminal past that is dazzling in its audacity and criminal in the success of the people responsible for the murders in covering up their own crimes. ""

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The Starker: Big Jack Zelig, the Becker-Rosenthal Case, and the Advent of the Jewish Gangster

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

True crime writer Keefe intended this as a biography of Zelig (born Zelig Lefkowitz, aka Harry Smith, etc.), but Zelig proves an elusive figure, and this book is more about his milieu. Jewish gangster ... Read full review

Review: The Starker: Big Jack Zelig, the Becker-Rosenthal Case, and the Advent of the Jewish Gangster

User Review  - Patrick - Goodreads

Big Jack attack. The Starker is the best book yet on NYC's pre-prohibition era gangland. Having researched this time period myself I was excited by the wealth of new information Rose Keefe discovered ... Read full review

About the author (2008)

ROSE KEEFE is a researcher and historian whose work has appeared in national and regional periodicals. The author of "Guns and Roses: The Untold Story of Dean O'Banion, Chicago's Big Shot Before Al Capone" and "The Man Who Got Away: The Bugs Moran Story," she lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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