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The stunning true story of the rise of Nazism in America in the years leading to WWII—and the fearless Jewish gangsters and crime families who joined forces to fight back. With an intense cinematic style, acclaimed nonfiction crime author Michael Benson reveals the thrilling role of Jewish mobsters like Bugsy Siegel in stomping out the terrifying tide of Nazi sympathizers during the 1930s and 1940s.
As Adolph Hitler rose to power in 1930s Germany, a growing wave of fascism began to take root on American soil. Nazi activists started to gather in major American cities, and by 1933, there were more than one-hundred anti-Semitic groups operating openly in the United States. Few Americans dared to speak out or fight back—until an organized resistance of notorious mobsters waged their own personal war against the Nazis in their midst. Gangland-style. . . .
In this thrilling blow-by-blow account, acclaimed crime writer Michael Benson uncovers the shocking truth about the insidious rise of Nazism in America—and the Jewish mobsters who stomped it out. Learn about:
* Nazi Town, USA: How one Long Island community named a street after Hitler, decorated buildings with swastikas, and set up a camp to teach US citizens how to goosestep.
* Meyer Lansky and Murder Inc.: How a Jewish mob accountant led fifteen goons on a joint family mission to bust heads at a Brown Shirt rally in Manhattan.
* Fritz Kuhn, “The Vest-Pocket Hitler”: How a German immigrant spread Nazi propaganda through the American Bund in New York City—with 70 branches across the US.
* Newark Nazis vs The Minutemen: How a Jewish resistance group, led by a prize fighter and bootlegger for the mob, waged war on the Bund in the streets of Newark.
* Hitler in Hollywoodland: How Sunset Strip kingpin Mickey Cohen knocked two Brown Shirters’ heads together—and became the West Coast champion in the mob’s war on Nazis.
Packed with surprising, little-known facts, graphic details, and unforgettable personalities, Gangsters vs. Nazis chronicles the mob’s most ruthless tactics in taking down fascism—inspiring ordinary Americans to join them in their fight. The book culminates in one of the most infamous events of the pre-war era—the 1939 Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden—in which law-abiding citizens stood alongside hardened criminals to fight for the soul of a nation. This is the story of the mob that’s rarely told—one of the most fascinating chapters in American history and American organized crime.
About the Author
Michael Benson is the author of more than sixty books, including the nonfiction crime titles Betrayal in Blood, Killer Twins, Mommy Deadliest, Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, and The Devil at Genesee Junction. He is the co-author, along with Frank Dimatteo, of the acclaimed American Mafia history books Carmine the Snake, Mafia Hit Man, and Lord High Executioner. He regularly appears on ID: Investigation Discovery channel and is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award.
Praise for Gangsters vs. Nazis
“Benson tells this little known chapter of American Jewish history well and with passion. The prose is colorful and direct.”
—New York Journal of Books
“From indoctrinating youth camps to jack-booted rallies promoting Adolf Hitler, pre-World War II America was threatened by the rise of Nazism. Gangsters vs. Nazis is a must-read, eye-opening account that brings to life the violent struggle between these home-brewed storm troopers and an army of unlikely patriots; gangs of fist-swinging Jewish mobsters willing to break bones and crack heads in order to turn back the Nazi menace.”
—Larry Alexander, author of the New York Times bestseller Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers
“With a knack for cinematic visualizations Michael Benson literally yanks you out of your comfort zone into the brutal 1930’s underworld of paid Mafia killers and Nazi sympathizers going head-to-head in this unwritten epoch in American history. I read it in one sitting, and you will too. Highly recommended.”
—L. Douglas Keeney, author of 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation