Book Reviews

Book Review: Sam Giancana by Susan McNicoll



This book was reviewed for Netgalley

McNicoll’s Sam Giancana looks at the tumultuous life and ignominious death of one of Chicago’s top Mafia men. Born to Sicilian immigrants, Giancana grew up in the Patch, and it wasn’t long til he was running with a street gang. He wanted more though. Giancana wanted to be one of the big players, and Prohibition offered this chance. Establishing himself as a skilled wheelman, Giancana made himself invaluable. Eventually, and not without serious bloodshed, Giancana found himself top dog of Chicago. Giancana would meet his death at the hands of a ‘friend’ turned traitor, who put several bullets into his head after a hit was ordered on the once powerful gangster who had started to become a liability.

When I think of Chicago, and Mafia, my mind immediately conjures the spectre of old Scarface. I find this era fascinating, but my interests have always been on New York- Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel. Especially Charlie Lucky. McNicoll’s book is a great introduction to Giancana and his influences. This book opened my eyes to different facets of history that I’d not really focused on before, like the Mafia ties to the Kennedy dynasty. Photos were scattered throughout, and there was a great bibliography that suggested to me other books to add to my always-growing TBR pile! An entrancing step back to a time of ‘civilised’ violence.

🎻🎻🎻🎻 Recommended for history buffs interested in the Mafia, especially Chicago, and, of course, Sam Giancana himself.

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