Monday, April 09, 2007

Legs Diamond

While I can't say much for the cover of Gary Levine's Jack "Legs" Diamond Anatomy of a Gangster, it was a good read. I really didn't know much about Diamond other than he was a bootlegger in NYC so it was interesting to read about his exploits. He was Arnold Rothstein's bodyguard. Levine makes a brief statement that Diamond may have had something to do with Rothstein's death but he doesn't elaborate. One thing is clear fidelity was not one of Diamond's strong points. With the exception of his brother he pretty much cheated on everyone (wives, lovers, associates, gang members). People made much of Diamonds ability to take a bullet surviving 5 attempts on his life until fatally shot in a rooming house but I'm not so much surprised that he survived those 5 times I'm just surprised that with the number of people he cheated that there wasn't an attempt on his life every other day. Diamond comes off as probably the worse crime manager I've read about so far. He came close to being absolutely huge but the endeavor always fell through. I finally got Rothstein's biography so it will be interesting to compare Diamond's characterization.

1 comment:

maddog said...

There is an earlier edition of this book, from I think 1979, that has a slightly longer page count, tho I haven't compared them closely enough to see what the real difference is between them. I think I read once that Gary Levine was killed in a car wreck soon after the new edition was published. Another good book that worth seeking out is Mad Dog Coll: An Irish Gangster by Brendan Delap, published in Dublin in (I think) 1999. Very scarce in this country tho Patterson Smith carried it for awhile and might still.