Al Capone: The Man and the Myth

By Michael Collins Piper. The real bosses of organized crime in America have found the legend of Al Capone a convenient cover to redirect public attention from their activities. Even the most cursory examination of any substantial scholarly literature on the topic of organized crime suggests that the story of organized crime in America remains largely unknown. Forget about the legend of “the Mafia.” Here are the facts.


Fuggeddaboutit. That’s supposed to be lingo of “Mafia wiseguys” that sometimes means “forget about it” and, well, sometimes not. In any event, as far as everything you think you know about legendary mob figure Al Capone: forget about it.

Capone was a big man and a colorful one, quite worthy of attention. But the Chicago mob boss was never as big as history— and Hollywood (which, in many respects, writes—or re-writes—history) suggest he was. [Read the entire article as PDF…]

Taken from
The Barnes Review, May/June 2003: Al Capone: The Man and the Myth

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