Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 2014 Issue of Informer

November 2014 Issue Contents
Editorial

The January 1947 escape of nine inmates from Brooklyn’s aging Raymond Street Jail added to the facility’s reputation as a “Swiss cheese” prison. Alarmed New Yorkers paid close attention to law enforcement efforts to round up the escapees and demanded that a more modern institution be built to hold Brooklyn prisoners. However, the public’s short attention span permitted long construction delays for what ultimately turned out to be an undersized facility, and the deteriorating Raymond Street building remained in use for sixteen more years. In this issue, Thomas Hunt examines the 1947 escape and other sensational escapes from Raymond Street and outlines the series of official missteps that grew the prison’s “Swiss cheese” reputation (PREVIEW).

For a time, it must have seemed to law enforcement officials that they were battling the ghosts or doppelgangers of “Pretty Boy” Floyd and Adam Richetti. Jeffery S. King looks at the lives, careers and deaths of bank robbers and cop-killers George McKeever and  Francis McNeiley (PREVIEW).

Also in this issue:
  • An excerpt from Christian Cipollini’s new book, Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend (PREVIEW).
  • Richard N. Warner concludes his Warner Files series on Religion and the Mafia (PREVIEW).
  • Ryan Artis reviews The Mob and the City by C. Alexander Hortis (PREVIEW).
  • Thomas Hunt discusses a traditional publisher bias and reviews The Milwaukee Mafia by Gavin Schmitt and Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend by Christian Cipollini (PREVIEW).
76 pages, including covers and advertisements.

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Brooklyn's 'Swiss Cheese Prison'

November 2014 Issue Contents
Feature

Unlearned lessons permit 1947 breakout
from the old Raymond Street Jail

Nine escape Brooklyn’s
“Swiss cheese prison”
By Thomas Hunt

"Anthony DiGiovanna approached the guard at Raymond Street Jail’s gate on Ashland Place and handed him a couple of slips of paper. The slips had been signed by the Brooklyn district attorney and granted attorney DiGiovanna access to two clients held within the jail, Joseph Caiazzo and Christopher 'Spud' Elsis. It was just before one o’clock in the afternoon of January 2, 1947..."

33 pages including 4 pages of notes and 24 photographs

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Pretty Boy Floyd #2

November 2014 Issue Contents
Feature

The Crimes of George McKeever
and Francis McNeiley 

Pretty Boy Floyd #2
By Jeffery S. King

George McKeever
"Bank robbers and killers George McKeever and Francis McNeiley contributed substantially to the legends of far better known outlaws Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd and Adam Richetti. For a time, it seemed that Floyd and Richetti had doppelgangers..."

16 pages including one page of notes and 11 photographs

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Book Excerpt: 'Self-Inflicted Wounds'

November 2014 Issue Contents
Feature

A woman’s early-morning call for help
triggers Luciano-related scandal

Self-Inflicted Wounds
By Christian Cipollini

Jean Bell
[An excerpt from Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend by Christian Cipollini.]
"In the early morning hours of Sunday July 12, 1936, a muffled plea for help came across Washington D.C. area phone lines.  Hearing the faint desperate request, a quick acting switchboard operator called the police, summoning them to an apartment building located at 1230 New Hampshire Avenue. Responders accustomed to the otherwise shocking images of crimes and injuries were in for a very extraordinary situation when they arrived..."

7 pages with 5 photographs

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The Warner Files: Religion and the Mafia, Part 3

November 2014 Issue Contents
Column

The Warner Files:
Religion and the Mafia, Part 3
By Richard N. Warner

"In this series, we looked over how certain academics considered belief in the existence of the Mafia to be akin to having blind religious faith (from their point of view) and we looked at examples of personal religious faith among former organized crime figures, whether authentic or disingenuous. Now, for the final chapter in this series, we’ll consider charges that the Mafia is in its essence anti-religious, anti-Christian or anti-clerical (they are not the same)..."

5 pages.

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Book Review: The Mob and the City

November 2014 Issue Contents
Books

'The Mob and the City'
Book Review by Ryan Artis

"In The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York by author C. Alexander Hortis, I found a book that was not quite what I expected. I initially thought the primary focus would be dispelling long-held Mafia myths. While the book does address some of these myths and works toward setting the record straight, the work’s true strength is its examination of the business practices of the Mafia..."

2 pages.

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Just One More Thing: Publishing Bias

November 2014 Issue Contents
Column

Just One More Thing:
Tackling an old bias
By Thomas Hunt

"For a very long time - too long a time - serious underworld histories and more superficial popular culture approaches to the subject of organized crime have been built upon a pronounced regional bias. That slanted foundation appears to be the result of a conclusion by traditional publishing companies that the largest markets for organized crime works (and regionally focused works in general) exist in New York City and Chicago, and to a lesser degree in Los Angeles..."

5 pages.

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