This biography of celebrity gangster Mickey Cohen digs past the sensational headlines to deliver a remarkable story of a man who captivated, corrupted, and terrorized Los Angeles for a generation. When Bugsy Siegel was murdered, his henchman Mickey Cohen took over the criminal activity in Los Angeles. Mickey Cohen attained such power and dominance from the late 1940s until 1976 that he was a regular above-the-fold newspaper name, accumulating a remarkable count of more than 1,000 front-pages in Los Angeles papers alone, and was featured in hundreds of articles in national and international periodicals. His story and the history of mid-century L.A. are inextricably intertwined. Mickey Cohen is a seductive, premium-octane blend of true crime and Hollywood that spins around a wildly eccentric mob boss. Author Tere Tereba delivers tales of high life, high drama, and highly placed politicians, among them RFK and Richard Nixon, as well as revelations about countless icons, including Shirley Temple, Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra, and the Reverend Billy Graham. Meticulously researched, this rich tapestry presents a complete look at the Los Angeles underworld.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Are you missing the HBO series "The Sopranos" as much as I am? I'm pretty sure if the show was still running the writers would be incorporating a scene where Tony is sitting at his desk with his feet up flipping through this Mickey Cohen book. I was unaware during the 16 years I lived in LA that there was such a rich and far-reaching history of syndicated crime in this city. "Mickey Cohen: The Life & Crimes of LA's Most Notorious Mobster" clued me in to this fascinating subculture that is not surprisingly intertwined with Hollywood's entertainment industry. The book shines a light on legendary Mickey Cohen--a larger-than-life original bad boy that ran with celebrities while committing murder and mayhem in the city of angels. Packed with vintage photos (the one of then-ingenue Joan Collins receiving lessons on how to be a stripper from Cohen cohort Candy Barr is in itself worth the price of the book!), this first offering from author Tere Tereba is the perfect poolside snack to have...
Gangster Mickey Cohen would have been proud of his cinematic afterlife. He was portrayed by Harvey Keitel in _Bugsy_, and by Paul Guilfoyle in _LA Confidential_. It won't be long before Sean Penn plays him in _Gangster Squad_, which will probably be his greatest celluloid apotheosis. Movies have portrayed gangsters for decades, but they have usually been the New York or Chicago version; Mickey Cohen was a hometown Hollywood hero, or antihero. It may be that the upcoming movie will get his biography spot on, but in case you find that unlikely, you might want to look beforehand into _Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster_ (ECW Press) by Tere Tereba. This is the first book by Tereba, who is a fashion designer and has written for Andy Warhol's _Interview_ (and been a film actress for him). It is rough, florid, lively, and detailed, with plenty of celebrities in supporting roles and lots of Hollywood scandal. Tereba sums Cohen up as "a dangerous man, full of...
Above all, this is a compelling story that takes you down dark alleyways with some of the most successful sociopaths of the 20th century. It's history with fresh insights, in-depth psychological portraits of vivid and infamous characters with names like Candy Barr and Big Jack "The Enforcer" Whalen.
Tere Tereba traces mob history, including Al Capone, Bugsy - sorry, Benjamin - Siegel, Nick the Greek, Whitey Bulger, Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano...they're all here. The emphasis always returns to Mickey Cohen, but he's put in the context of those he learned from, partnered with and stepped over along the way, as well as the "legit" politicians and cops who enabled his rise. I've lived in Los Angeles for 25 years and now see my city in a different light.
The details are exquisite: settings gritty and lush. Clothing right down to a peek inside Cohen's closet. A doomed childhood, from a previously unknown illness to illiteracy and a string of jobs to support his...
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