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A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc.

A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc.

by Michael Cannell


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The riveting true story of the rise and fall of Murder, Inc. and the executioner-turned-informant whose mysterious death became a turning point in Mob history.

In the fall of 1941, a momentous trial was underway that threatened to end the careers and lives of New York’s most brutal mob kingpins. The lead witness, Abe Reles, had been a trusted executioner for Murder, Inc., the enforcement arm of a coast-to-coast mob network known as the Commission. But the man responsible for coolly silencing hundreds of informants was about to become the most talkative snitch of all. In exchange for police protection, Reles was prepared to rat out his murderous friends, from Albert Anastasia to Bugsy Siegel—but before he could testify, his shattered body was discovered on a rooftop outside his heavily-guarded hotel room. Was it a botched escape, or punishment for betraying the loyalty of the country’s most powerful mobsters?

Michael Cannell's A Brotherhood Betrayed traces the history of Murder, Inc. through Reles’ rise from street punk to murder chieftain to stool pigeon, ending with his fateful death on a Coney Island rooftop. It resurrects a time when crime became organized crime: a world of money and power, depravity and corruption, street corner ambushes and elaborately choreographed hits by wise-cracking foot soldiers with names like Buggsy Goldstein and Tick Tock Tannenbaum.

For a brief moment before World War II erupted, America fixated on the delicate balance of trust and betrayal on the Brooklyn streets. This is the story of the one man who tipped the balance.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250204387
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,092,712
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL CANNELL is the author of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling, The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit, and I.M. Pei: Mandarin of Modernism. He was an editor at the New York Times for seven years and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and many other publications. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Prologue: "Something Has Happened" 1

Part 1 The Rise 7

1 Schlammers 9

2 Babylon Brooklyn 18

3 The Commission 34

4 Murder for Money 40

Part 2 The Downfall 63

5 Twenty Against the Underworld 65

6 Lepke 104

7 Bill-O 137

8 The Wedge 145

9 Long Song 160

10 Mr. Arsenic 184

11 The Dance Hall 222

12 Half Moon Hotel 225

13 Kid Twist's Ghost 239

Addendum 277

Notes 283

Index 313

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