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The Big Crowd

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Big Crowd.pdf | Language: English

Unabridged Fiction 14 compact discs/ 16.75 hours

Unabridged Fiction 14 compact discs/ 16.75 hours

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Book details

  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Recorded Books (2013)
  • English
  • 4
  • Other books

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Review Text

  • By Jim Duggins, Ph.D. on November 28, 2013

    There is no doubt in my mind that Kevin Baker is on the shortlist of best writers in America. He is no less valued as an historian. "The Big Crowd," of course, is character driven - how could it be otherwise for such an author/historian? "The Big Crowd" is a story of New York City's criminal underworld in the first half of the twentieth century - including most of the famous thugs in that dark history. Like passing an auto accident, you'll learn things you'd just as soon not know. BUT like the auto accident example, you won't be able to resist every ugly detail of the murder, the mugging, the beating."The Big Crowd" is also the story of a family, two brothers, Tom and Charlie O'Kane. Cjharlie, a successful attorney, also serves as mouthpiece for the unsavory gangland characters to the point of himself being involved enough to be investigated in a murder case. His younger brother, Tom, wants to clear his brother's name and in the process falls in love with Charlie's wife. Even more complex, the scene of these goings on move from New York to Acapulco and Mexico City. No one lacking talent as sure as author Kevin Baker's could have brought to life this complicated narrative with its many back stories.The following examples of this engaging prose offer a sample of what the book has in store for you:"Things were running well then, the City humming along. Growing steadily fatter, richer, higher, than he had ever seen it. Tom had noticed that most of the hard-eyed men back from the war were gone - including himself. .."" ... along Manhattan's great avenues the women shop like stalking tigresses, they dress like foreign spies, and they strut like courtesan ...""... A city with 150,000 municipal workers. And at the head of this great army, one man; an immigrant success story as great as any in America today. The blue-eyed boy from Bohola, the former cop on the beat, Charles C. O'Kane..."How could any reader of history and fiction put such a book down? As the English would say, "Not bloody likely!" My only problem is that Amazon doesn't go higher than five stars. "The Big Crowd" is a ten you don't want to miss.

  • By Dave Schwinghammer on October 20, 2014

    Kevin Baker is a historian; hence his reliance on real life characters and fictionalized characters based on real people. That’s the case with Charlie O’Kane, an Irish immigrant who became mayor of New York, who is probably based on William O’Dwyer post WWII mayor who was also an Irish immigrant.Charlie’s brother Tom is the main character in the novel. He’s an ADA and is trying to get his brother to tell him what really happened when mob witness Abe Reles was thrown or jumped from a safe-house window surrounded by at least a half dozen cops and other mob witnesses. This happened just as Reles, also a member of Murder Incorporated, was ready to testify against Albert Anastasia. Before all the mafia books and movies, I was fascinated with the mob. I remember pictures of Albert riddled with blood stains as he lay in his barber chair, well after the Kefauver investigations.So then the plot thread is whether Charlie was involved in the Reles incident. Apparently most people thought he was because he wound up in Mexico City, dodging extradition. That’s where the sub plot occurs. You see, Tom is in love with Slim, Charlie’s wife. They’ve been carrying on a lurid affair for years. He can’t keep his hands off her when he sees her again in Mexico. She is loosely based on Pat McCormick, the four time Olympic diver, who was also a bullfighter. Slim is learning how against old tired bulls. Tom also has a girlfriend, fellow ADA, Ellie, who’s almost as beautiful as Slim but much more forgiving. The fool tells her all about Slim.Mayor LaGuardia pops up for a few paragraphs and one of the major minor characters is Bill McCormack, Mr. Big of the New York City docks. Cardinal Francis Spellman is portrayed as an effeminate fop. We never meet Kefauver or Albert Anastasia, which would have been a treat.I was first introduced to Kevin Baker when I read SOMETIMES YOU HEAR IT COMING, one of the better fictional baseball books I’ve read. Then I read the first of the City of Fire trilogy: DREAMLAND, about the history of Coney Island. Baker’s scholastic background definitely serves him as a reliable tour guide of the Big Apple.


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