Circumstances denied him an extended education but he was a cultured man with a passion for opera, especially Verdi and while serving time in Alcatraz he worked in the prison library.
A devoted family man, loving his children and, in love, with his pretty, blue-eyed, blonde Irish bride Mary Josephine (Mae) Coughlin, his legendary whoring notwithstanding. Let's just say that they were there. His grandchildren are still at a loss to explain "how the same person could be so admirable and still be guilty of the terrible things he did."
Bair has once again combined meticulous research with a narrative flair to reveal another layer of the man whose name still evokes images of booze, jazz and Tommy guns.
Reader Review by Bob Glaser
As a Chicgoan i grew up familiar with the lurid yet facinating life ot the mobster and racketeer Al Capone. Having read thisbiography i came away with an entirely different view of him. Capone was a complex man. An auto didactic, self educated. brilliant organizer. His organization became a Harvard case study. Prohibition, the law banning the sale of alcohal was an opportunity for criminals to go into big business. People wanted to drink and they provided the service. Concurrent with that they operated gambling and prostitution. Drugs too was part of the business It was a competative business with competing gangs made of Italians , Irish and Jews. Turf wars lead to gang warfare with over two hundred killings. To protect their interests they bought off politicians, the judiciary , entire city governments. Al Capone ran the city of Chicago. He was popular with the people. Charitable , generous , very high profile . He loved pubblicity. The New York Mafia warned him it would lead to his downfall. Capone's backround was Neapolitan not Scicilian. With prohibition being recinded, Capone's organization branched out into labor organizing, running unions . With so much money flowing into the organization they bought up legitimate businesses. At this point the US government at the urging of the Chicago wasp oligarchy intervened. It was impossible to convict him on nothing other than income tax evasion, A corrupt judicial system compounded by bad legal advice from Capone's lawyer resulted in his being convicted and sent to prison, ultimately ending in Alcatraz, During his prison time his health and mind deteriorated the result of syphylis which was neglected by the prison authorities , Upon his release after ten years he returned to his home in Florida. His wife, mother, brothers and sister were with him when he died in his sleep. He had the mind of a seven year old and was mostly incoherent. I recomend this biography highly. Capone's family and personal life are fully explored. The cast of characters will be familiar to those who
viewed The Untouchables an untrue television and motion picture portrayal.