• The Kosher Capones

  • A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters
  • By: Joe Kraus
  • Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Kosher Capones tells the fascinating story of Chicago’s Jewish gangsters from Prohibition into the 1980s. Author Joe Kraus traces these gangsters through the lives, criminal careers, and conflicts of Benjamin “Zukie the Bookie” Zuckerman, last of the independent West Side Jewish bosses, and Lenny Patrick, eventual head of the Syndicate’s “Jewish wing.” 

These two men linked the early Jewish gangsters of the neighborhoods of Maxwell Street and Lawndale to the notorious Chicago Outfit that emerged from Al Capone’s criminal confederation. Focusing on the murder of Zuckerman by Patrick, Kraus introduces us to the different models of organized crime they represented, a raft of largely forgotten Jewish gangsters, and the changing nature of Chicago’s political corruption. Hard-to-believe anecdotes of corrupt politicians, seasoned killers, and in-over-their-heads criminal operators spotlight the magnitude and importance of Jewish gangsters to the story of Windy City mob rule. 

With an eye for the dramatic, The Kosher Capones takes us deep inside a hidden society and offers glimpses of the men who ran the Jewish criminal community in Chicago for more than 60 years.

©2019 Cornell University Press (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Kosher Capones

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Kind of scattered

I’ve tried a few times now and this is kind of all over the place. Maybe it’s the delivery but I’m not sure there’s all that much of a story here.

1 person found this helpful

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A bit dry

I found this a bit dry but well researched. Bummer bc there's a lot of potential.

1 person found this helpful

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insomnia cure

I had high hopes for this book. it's such an interesting topic!
But the book was disappointing. it's very unorganized and random. I walked away with learning nearly nothing.
I don't recommend it for anything other than background noise to which you fall asleep.

1 person found this helpful

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Informative but very dry

If you were interested in the specific topic of Jewish mobsters in Chicago you will find this book very informative. But it is extremely dry History it’s a litany of events and people they come and go in the Author does his best to give some context but it just doesn’t quite work. The performance was also pretty monotone making the book that much more boring. Having said that there was a lot of information packed into it and if you truly want to know this specific take on how organized crime was a Multi ethnic conglomeration in Chicago it does a good job of presenting Jewish involvement in the syndicate.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting but crammed!

Very interesting but there was so much crammed into the one book, the information gets lost.

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misleading title

What is kosher about organized crime? these Jewish mafia guys had nothing to do with kosher. Nothing kosher whatsoever. poor choice of title.
The story itself was all over the place. Writing needs to be tightened up.

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I had no idea!

As a huge history fan, I loved this! I will be visiting Chicago for the first time soon, so this will be a great bonus of knowledge for me. Thank you Mr. Kraus for a riveting reas/listen.

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Very interesting

This was riviting and informative history!
It's not my usual listen but it's so well written and presented, very interesting and educational!