Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life

Robert Lacey, Author Little Brown and Company $29.95 (547p) ISBN 978-0-316-51168-1
This biography of the notorious hoodlum by the author of The Kingdom succeeds in deglamorizing a gangland figure around whom all sorts of mythology was created, both during his lifetime and after. A product of the ghetto on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Lansky (1902?-1983) spent his adolescence developing the conviction that, if there were an honest and a dishonest way of achieving a goal, the dishonest way was preferable. Like many members of organized crime in his era, he became a specialist, working with casinos. He was rigidly honest about not cheating the public and paying his partners their due. His family life was a horror: Lansky's first wife became semi-psychotic and their three children had miserable lives; his second marriage was somewhat better. The media-generated image of a financial eminence grise worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the gangland chairman of the board, was largely fictional. A major contribution to the history of organized crime in the U.S. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55800-809-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55800-467-2
Hardcover - 978-0-517-10536-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-316-51163-6
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