cover image Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago

Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago

William Elliott Hazelgrove. Rowman & Littlefield, $36 (250p) ISBN 978-1-4422-7226-2

Hazelgrove (Forging a President: How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt) adds little insight to the life and legacy of Al Capone in this superfluous history of the end of the notorious mobster’s career in the lead-up to the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. The book is a thinly sourced account that attempts the same equation as Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City by integrating a social history of a world’s fair with a true-crime story. Unfortunately, Hazelgrove’s account is weakened by fictionalized perspectives and the use of sources that he himself takes with a grain of salt, as when he describes the last thoughts of a murder victim who did not speak with anyone after his face was shot off. Later, he uses a quotation from Capone about a biography of Napoleon, but then writes that “it’s hard to believe Al Capone said any of this.” Most strikingly, Hazelgrove provides no sources whatsoever for the chapters that follow the point of view of burlesque dancer Sally Rand. Given the numerous written accounts on the subject of Al Capone in Chicago, readers are better off skipping this one in favor of a more authoritative account, such as John Binder’s Al Capone’s Beer Wars: A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago During Prohibition. [em](Oct.) [/em]