Download : But He Was Good to His Mother : The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters [Paperback] by Robert A. Rockaway

But He Was Good to His Mother
A seldom-covered aspect of true crime history and Jewish history, "But He was Good to His Mother" is a fine read for anyone interested in either. It delves into the histories of several gangsters, their misdeeds, relationships to the Jewish community and anecdotes that shed some light on what these crimelords were really like.

Plenty of photos are included. Rockaway does a fairly good job of striking a balance in tackling a delicate subject. He points out the occasional admirable deeds of the gangsters (protecting American Jews from anti-semites, for example) while making it quite clear that these were very bad men.

He fesses up that these killers and lawbreakers were admired by some in the community, but by no means all. Occasionally, books about influential Jews get a little hokey when they gush over how the values of the Jewish community produced so many great people. (As though, without centuries of respect for learning by the Jews, Einstein might never have come up with relativity; whatever.) As a Jew myself, I think it feels more honest and refreshing to see it acknowledged that these same values and shared history produced some no-goodniks along the way, too. And ones who broke the stereotypes about Jews at that.