Cover image for Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. : the rise and fall of the Jewish Mafia and an ill-fated prizefighter
Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. : the rise and fall of the Jewish Mafia and an ill-fated prizefighter
Ross, Ron.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
418 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6194.J4 R67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6194.J4 R67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A tough kid with a heart of gold, Al "Bummy" Davis grew up in the streets of Brownsville, New York on the fringes of the Jewish mob during the 20's and 30's-thanks to his older brother, a feared racketeer. But as much as he resisted the underworld of Murder, Inc. by becoming a championship fighter and a Brownsville hero, he never did escape the Jewish Mob's shadow. Though he repeatedly stood up to mob kingpins, Bummy suffered a spectacular fall from grace as a result of a smear campaign by the press. Ron Ross' Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. is not just about one Jewish boxer, his meteoric rise to fame, and victimization by the press. Bummy's life was intertwined with the Great Depression, the survival of the Brooklyn Jewish immigrant population during Prohibition, and the inevitable offshoot of Prohibition-Murder Inc., one of American history's most notorious band of killers. Ron Ross portrays an important historical time period, an enigmatic Jewish subculture, and the surprising juxtaposition of a generation of Jews and their talent for boxing. Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. features a cast of colorful villains whom you'll love to hate, a boxing legend who was the unwitting pawn of fate, and the human drama of the boxing world. With his vivid, street-smart Damon Runyonesque writing style, Ron Ross redeems a tragic hero who fought the pull of one of the most brutal groups of killers to grace the twentieth century.

Author Notes

Ron Ross is a native New Yorker and was a professional boxer, fight promoter, and manager. Serving on the board of directors of the Veteran Boxers Association of New York and the B'Nai B'rith Sports Lodge of New York, he divides his time between Oceanside, New York, and Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Susan.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ron Ross. St. Martin's, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 0-312-30638-5 Humming with wisecracks and crowded with oddball characters and lovable cranks, this mesmerizing anecdotal history rewrites the maligned legend of Jewish prizefighter Al "Bummy" Davis. Born Albert Abraham Davidoff in 1920, Davis was a plucky young street scrapper who rapidly became one of the most brash and charismatic boxers of his generation. With a devastating left hook and irrepressible chutzpah, Davis won many of his professional fights and nearly all of the hearts in Brownsville, the once infamous Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. Home to Abe "Kid Twist" Reles and "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss, two of the Jewish mob's most feared henchmen, Brownsville was where lighthearted kvetching and the shouts of pushcart vendors faded into the muffled screams of the mafia hit. In the hands of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter and "Big Al" Anastasia, Murder Inc. turned the business of crime into a vast, well-oiled enterprise. As the younger brother of Willie Davidoff, one of Buchalter's trusted bagmen, Davis never escaped his brother's shadow and the tabloids had a field day painting him as a dirty, low-life thug. To Ross, a former professional boxer and fight promoter, the story of Bummy Davis is inseparable from that of Depression-era Brooklyn, where the mob was still in its infancy and people were in desperate need of a champion. Having scoured the memories of Brownsville natives and boxing associates for scraps of stories, Ross stitches them together with wonderfully imagined scenes and crackling dialogue. Although the book is wreathed in the golden halo of nostalgia, Ross writes with the flair and spellbinding magnetism of a natural storyteller. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.) Forecast: The book spans a variety of genres true crime, Jewish/New York history, sports biography and is likely to draw a diverse readership. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Al "Bummy" Davis was a tough but good-hearted boxer of the 1930s and 1940s. He was also the brother of two lesser members of a New York Jewish crime gang that added a string of minor crimes to its brutal contract killings. Ross, a former boxer, manager, and promoter, writes colorfully and sympathetically of Davis's ultimately tragic career. With the Davis saga he blends the reign of Murder, Inc., under its leader Abe "Kid Twist" Reles. Reles would in the end betray his associates but pay for it with his own life when he was thrown from a Coney Island hotel. Despite the often searing details, this is a worthwhile hardboiled story for sports and crime collections. [W.C. Heinz's wonderful 1951 account of the Bummy Davis tragedy, "Brownsville Bum," appeared most recently in The Best Sports Writing of the Century (1999).-Ed.]-Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Lib., Tuscon, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.