Tough Jews

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1999 - History - 275 pages
2 Reviews
In an L.A. delicatessen, a group of Brooklyn natives gets together to discuss basketball, boxing, the weather back east, and the Jewish gangsters of yesteryear. Meyer Lansky. Bugsy Siegel. Louis Lepke, the self-effacing mastermind of Murder, Inc. Red Levine, the Orthodox hit man who refused to kill on the Sabbath. Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, who looked like a mama's boy but once buried a rival alive. These are just some of the vibrant, vicious characters Rich Cohen's father reminisced about and the author evokes so pungently in Tough Jews.

Tracing a generation of Jewish gangsters from the candy stores of Brownsville to the clubhouses of the Lower East Side--and, occasionally, to suites at the Waldorf--Cohen creates a densely anecdotal and gruesomely funny history of muscle, moxie, and money. Filled with fixers and schlammers, the squeal of tires and the rattle of gunfire, his book shatters stereotypes as deftly as its subjects once shattered kneecaps.

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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

A friend gave me this book to read aboyt 10 years ago. I absolutely loved it. It had me hooked from beginning to end. Its a must read for any mob/gangster aficionados.

Review: Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams

User Review  - Karen - Goodreads

A complex book: I read it with a bizarre mixture of shame (Jews aren't supposed to be thugs!) and pride (damn! no one pushed THESE Jews around). Most interesting to me were Cohen's meditations on the ... Read full review


Nate n Als
Abe and Buggsy
The Moderns
War in Brownsville
Delegates at Large
On the Lam
Dead or Out of Town
The Warriors
Epilogue Nate nAls
Afterword to The Vintage Edition
A Note on Sources

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About the author (1999)

Rich Cohen is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tough Jews, The Avengers, Monsters, and (with Jerry Weintraub) When I Stop Talking, You ll Know I m Dead. He is a co-creator of the HBO series Vinyl and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper s Magazine, among others. Cohen has won the Great Lakes Book Award, the Chicago Public Library s 21st Century Award, and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding coverage of music. His stories have been included in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. He lives in Connecticut.

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