When one thinks of Dixie, gangsters, mobsters, and Mafiosi do not normally come to mind. Turns out that they played a major role in the history of Hot Springs, Arkansas, during the early to mid-20th century.
In The Devil’s Town: Hot Springs During the Gangster Era, author Philip Leigh, a rising star among American historians, tells a unique and colorful story of the small Southern resort city and how it became headquarters for New York and Chicago mobs during the gangster era.
This is a richly detailed tale of a significant part of Southern history. About the exploitation of a people’s poverty, crime, evasion of law, and local and state corruption.
As Dr. Ed interviews Phil, he names the names of the gangsters who whose key operations were actually in the South. These include Frank Costello, Al Capone, Myer Lansky, “Jelly” Nash, Nick the Greek, and “Lucky” Luciano (just to name a few). Crooked cops and politicians such as Thomas Dewey, J. Edgar Hoover, and presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton also come up in the discussion.