Amanda J. Parr's biography of Vincenzo Gibaldi (aka "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn) is better than most of the genre. Jack McGurn is another individual whose story is so much better than fiction.
Most people who follow 30's crime know that Jack McGurn began his career as a boxer and eventually caught the eye of Al Capone and became Capone's chief bodyguard. What isn't usually told is the story of how McGurn became a criminal. His father was a victim of a Black Hand shake down that ended his life. McGurn methodically tracked down is father's killers and exacted vengeance. According to Parr it was this act that brought McGurn to Capone's attention.
Parr manages to flesh out McGurn's character; her portrayal is a man who is decidedly human. She writes about McGurn's transformation from hardworking family man to lethal "family" man. The man who orchestrated the largest hit during prohibition comes across as more than a cold calculating killer. Don't get me wrong, Parr doesn't sugar coat McGurn's story or motives. A complex individual- yes: a good person -no.
I almost felt sorry for McGurn in the end when Nitti (who comes across as a jealous bastard) kicks McGurn out after Capone is jailed for tax evasion. Almost but not quite, it's impossible to read the book to the end and forget how much blood is on McGurn's hands. In my book McGurn goes down as yet another person who made a bad choice about how to live life and he died like he lived.