Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago

Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago

by Max Allan Collins, A. Brad Schwartz


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The new definitive history of gangster-era Chicago–a landmark work that is as riveting as a thriller. Now featuring a new preface, plus 115 photographs and a map of gangland Chicago.

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year

“Gripping. ... Reads like a novel.” Chicago

“Revolutionizes our understanding of Al Capone and Eliot Ness." Matthew Pearl

In 1929, thirty-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago's underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, "Scarface" became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine's Day Massacre transformed Capone into "Public Enemy Number One," the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a twenty-seven-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as "The Untouchables," Ness set his sights on crippling Capone's criminal empire.

Today, no underworld figure is more iconic than Al Capone and no lawman as renowned as Eliot Ness. Yet in 2016 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "Al Capone still awaits the biographer who can fully untangle, and balance, the complexities of his life," while revisionist historians have continued to misrepresent Ness and his remarkable career.

Enter Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz, a unique and vibrant writing team combining the narrative skill of a master novelist with the scholarly rigor of a trained historian. Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the gangster classic Road to Perdition. Schwartz is a rising-star historian whose work anticipated the fake-news phenomenon.

Scarface and the Untouchable draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves. Collins and Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface's downfall. Together they have crafted the definitive work on Capone, Ness, and the battle for Chicago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062441959
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 752
Sales rank: 104,396
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Max Allan Collins is a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master. He is the author of the Shamus Award-winning Nathan Heller thrillers and the graphic novel Road to Perdition, basis of the Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks. His innovative Quarry novels led to a 2016 Cinemax series. He has completed a dozen posthumous Mickey Spillane mysteries, and wrote the syndicated Dick Tracy series for more than fifteen years. His one-man show, Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life, was an Edgar Award finalist. He lives in Iowa.

A. Brad Schwartz is the author of Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News, based in part on research from his senior thesis at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He cowrote a documentary about the War of the Worlds broadcast for the PBS series American Experience. He is currently a doctoral candidate in American history at Princeton University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Untouchable Truth xi

Map: Organized Crime in 1920s Chicago xxi

Rogues' Gallery xxiii

Prologue: St. Valentine's Day 1

Part 1 Prairie Avenue Boys

1 1895-11920 13

2 1850-1923 29

3 1920-1925 45

4 1925-1926 61

5 1925-1926 73

6 1926-1927 89

7 1927 107

8 Spring-Summer 1928 121

9 Winter 1927-Summer 1928 137

10 August 1928-January-1929 155

Part 2 Citizen Capone

11 January-March 1929 175

12 February-October 1929 193

13 May-October 1929 209

14 December 1929-March 1930 227

15 December 1929-April 1930 243

16 March-June 1930 259

17 June-August 1930 271

18 June-October 1930 289

19 November-December 1930 303

Part 3 On The Spot

20 December 1930-February 1931 317

21 December 1930-February 1931 333

22 February-May 1931 349

23 Spring-Summer 1931 367

24 June-July 1931 385

25 Summer 1931 405

26 October 1931 423

27 October 1931 441

28 Octobr 1931-January 1932 463

29 February-May 1932 483

30 1932-1934 503

Epilogue: The Great American City 529

Acknowledgements: A Tip of the Fedora 551

Note on Sources 557

Abbreviatons 559

Source Notes 565

Bibliography 661

Rogues' Gallery Credits 675

Index 677

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