And all the saints michael walsh
And All The Saints by Michael WalshNo crime figure of our time influenced the course of modern American culture the way Owen Madden did. Starting as the leader of the Gophers, the most violent Irish street gang in Hells Kitchen, the immigrant Madden rose to prominence as the leading brewer and bootlegger in Prohibition New York. In due course, he also became Mae Wests lover, the founder and proprietor of the Cotton Club, the owner of five heavyweight champions of the world, the man who gave his childhood friend George Raft his big break in Hollywood and more. Now, Michael Walsh has created a fictionalised memoir that uses Maddens voice to trace his life from his boyhood in England to his heyday in New York and beyond in one of the most colourful and engrossing books of the season.
And All the Saints
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By turns fascinating and familiar, Walsh's third novel after Exchange Alley and As Time Goes By is a fictionalized account of the life of Owen Madden, the so-called "Irish Godfather," who became an organized crime giant during the Prohibition years, running in the same circles as Al Capone, Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano. The chapters describing Madden's early childhood in Leeds and his impoverished family's immigration to New York are boilerplate, but the story picks up considerably when Madden begins his life of crime at age 10, joining a local Irish gang in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Madden starts selling beer during Prohibition and makes a killing, though a few stints in jail and a duel with his best friend and beer-selling rival Dutch Schultz cramp his style a bit. Walsh saves his best material for the end, when Franklin Roosevelt turns up the heat on Madden during his presidential campaign, vowing to crack down on corruption. Walsh spices up the novel with cameo appearances by George Raft, Jack Johnson, Duke Ellington and Lena Horne, though these scenes are sometimes little more than opportunities for name-dropping. The subplot about Madden's attempts to keep his louche buddies away from his sister, May, is lifeless, but the novel is saved by a crisp, compelling finale.
Born in Ireland in the late 19 th Century, Madden emigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings when he was under ten years old, and became, arguably, the most feared New York Irish crime figure of the 20 th Century. And All the Saints is his first historical novel. The story begins with Owen Madden at age ten, informing his mother, who had hoped he would grow up to be a priest, that he was, instead, choosing "gangster" in the form of the gang called "Gophers" as a career:. Then it was my turn. Something that would combine the toughness of a fighter, like my Da had been, with the cannon-enhanced authority of the cop and suasion of the padre, although morality had nothing to do with it. Young gangster Madden immediately comes under the influence and protection of Monk Eastman, a Jewish gang leader, commits his first murder while in his teens and grows into notoriety in his twenties.