Cover image for The Purple Gang : organized crime in Detroit, 1910-1945
The Purple Gang : organized crime in Detroit, 1910-1945
Kavieff, Paul R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Barricade Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
214 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6439.U7 D475 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The Purple Gang was a loosely organised confederation of mobsters who dominated the Detroit underworld and whose tentacles reached across the country. Beginning in the Prohibition Era, the Purple Gang prevailed in distilling alcohol and running liquor from Canada, kidnapping and labour racketeering. This is the hitherto untold story of the rise and fall of one of America's most notorious criminal groups.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The Purple Gang, a vicious group of mostly Jewish immigrants who prospered during Prohibition days in Detroit, was ruthless and untouchable for a number of years. They supplied liquor to blind pigs (establishments that sold liquor illegally), hijacked liquor shipments by land and water, watered down whiskey, and committed kidnappings, murder, and more. Toward the end of their reign, the colorful group self-destructed and started killing one another. Kavieff, an engineer at Wayne State University and a historian of organized crime, even supplies photographs of bullet-ridden bodies. But this book will be a disappointment to true-crime fans. It should have been a gripping tale of the rise and fall of organized crime in Detroit, but it lacks momentum. Each chapter starts out by recounting a gruesome crime but then meanders into related tales. Fortunately, Kavieff provides a detailed index and an extensive bibliography, which readers can use to keep the thugs straight. Recommended only as a reference/research tool for libraries with extensive organized-crime or Detroit-area history collections, though extensive typographical errors and a lack of editing should alert readers to be cautious. Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.