The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob by TJ English
A decades-long saga of murder and betrayal on Manhattan’s gritty West Side
It’s men like Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone who gave Hell’s Kitchen its name. In the mid-1970s, these two long-time friends take the reins of New York’s Irish mob, using brute force to give it hitherto unthinkable power. Jimmy, a charismatic sociopath, is the leader. Mickey, whose memories of Vietnam torture him daily, is his enforcer. Together they make brutality their trademark, butchering bodies or hurling them out the window. Under their reign, Hell’s Kitchen becomes a place where death literally rains from the sky.
When Mickey goes down for a murder he didn’t commit, he suspects his friend has sold him out. He returns the favor, breaking the underworld’s code of silence and testifying against his gang in open court. From his testimony comes this incredible story of what it means to make it in a world where murder is commonplace.
“Sterling social history . . . the author’s skillful reporting makes the most of his subject.” - The New Yorker
“A disquieting look at a worthwhile subject: the frailties of justice in the big city.” - New York Times
“Masterfully told, gracefully written . . . the true story of the most violent men this nation has ever seen. Al Capone would have cringed . . . You want to cheer at the end . . . The Westies will blow you away.” - Edna Buchanan, author of The Corpse Had a Familiar Face
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