Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Tough Jews

The mafia is a rarely discussed piece of Jewish history, one that is overshadowed by major events like the Holocaust or minor events like "my son, the doc-tah".  When most people think of Jews, they think of the stereotypes.  The smartypants.  The weaklings.  But guess what: in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, it was a group of Jews who ran a large portion of the mafia.  They were as ruthless as the Italian mafia that is publicized and even glamorized in the media, but most people have all but forgotten they existed.

The only mob boss in history to be executed was Jewish.  Outwardly, most Jews will wince at this fact, ashamed at the black mark the Jewish mafia has left on our history, afraid it unravels all the accomplishments the Jewish people have racked up ever since.  But a small part of [most of] them is happy to have the mafia on their ethnic record.  It defies the stereotype of the nerdy Jew and makes them a little more like everyone else.  The men Rich Cohen describes in Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams are ones who made things happen.  People answered to them, not the other way around.  Is this behavior ok?  Absolutely not.  But is it exciting?  You bet.

4 out of 5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails