X marks the spot

The absolutely phenomenal University of Illinois Library Digitized Book of the Week delivers the goods with extra Moxie in the form of “X marks the Spot: Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures” by Hal Andrews (originally published anonymously as no reporter in his right mind would craft an expose’ this graphic and let his true identity be know when Capone and company ran Chicago). In addition to the hardboiled, sardonic, and caustic writing style, I also dig the little line drawings that announce the beginning of each new chapter as shown above.

Observe the poisoned pen:

” “Little Hymie” who had a premonition of an early death, once said that although he didn’t expect to live long, he did expect to live long enough. His premonition was a good one, for he was to live but twenty-two months and fifteen days, counting from O’Banion’s death.’
” ‘Nails’ taught O’Banion to wear dinner jackets and to live in fine hotels and how to use his knife and fork and to be a gentleman. He is given credit for also teaching the blustering Irishman that political pull is more potent for a racketeer on occasions than pistols. “Get the politicians working for you” was a complicated principle which Samuel pounded (HAHA i just got that pun! Samuel “Nails” Morton pounded in the principle- your blog editor) into O’Banion’s head. It is said that “Nails” invented the famous phrase “take him for a ride” by which is meant that traitors, spies, squealers and stool pigeons, were disposed of by being placed in the front seat of an automobile and shot by somebody in the rear seat. Curiously enough “Nails” himself was taken for a ride one Sunday morning, only it wasn’t that kind of a ride. “Nails” in riding togs was en route from a stable one Sunday morning in Lincoln Park for a canter. The horse, not knowing what a tough guy “Nails” was, became unruly before reaching the bridle path and “Nails” was thrown violently to the pavement. The horse then stepped on Mr. Morton’s head. A few hours later, legend has it, Louie “Three Gun” Alterie, again rented the horse, rode it to a remote spot and then pumped a bullet into the horse’s head”
Great and grisly stuff here.


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