But-- He was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters

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Gefen Publishing House, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 264 pages
In ch. 8 (pp. 218-247), "Defenders of Their People, " relates how many Jewish gangsters in the 1920s-40s (e.g. Meyer Lansky, Samuel "Nails" Morton, Jack Zelig, Abner "Longy" Zwillman, Max "Puddy" Hinkes, Davie Berman) defended Jewish immigrants and Jewish neighborhoods in big cities from the assaults of antisemitic gangs and individuals. In the 1930s they disrupted pro-Nazi rallies, especially those of the Silver Shirts Legion and of the German-American Bund. Many ordinary Jews appreciated the gangsters' protection; communal leaders, however reluctantly, sometimes accepted and even solicited their aid.

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User Review  - JoelMack - LibraryThing

A thoroughly compelling book and one of a kind. The apt title was chosen due to a response Rockaway’s mother gave when he was talking about a Jewish gangster – “But he was good to his mother!” What ... Read full review

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User Review  - blumsclues - LibraryThing

I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. Rockaway does an excellent job giving the reader a history lesson- I didn't even know I was getting one!! Well written, satirical- gets the reader right into the roaring 20's... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Rockaway is Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Jewish History, Tel-Aviv University.

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