The Gangs of New York
has long been hand-passed among its cult readership. It is a tour through a now unrecognizable city of abysmal poverty and habitual violence cobbled, as Luc Sante has written, "from legend, memory, police records, the self-aggrandizements of aging crooks, popular journalism, and solid historical research." Asbury presents the definitive work on this subject, an illumination of the gangs
of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia and its depiction in films like The Godfather.
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Organized crime has operated in America's large cities since the nation's early years and is often structured by ethnic as well as geographical divisions. New York City at the mouth of the Hudson River is the largest city in America.