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Tommy Gun Winter: Jewish Gangsters, a Preacher's Daughter, and the Trial…

af Nathan Gorenstein

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2511747,563 (4.09)4
This is the true tale of two brothers, sons of a successful Jewish contractor, who along with an MIT graduate and a minister's daughter once competed for headlines with John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde. The gang was led by the angry, violent, yet often charismatic Murton Millen, a small-time hoodlum and aspiring race-car driver. With his younger brother, Irv, and later joined by neighborhood buddy and MIT graduate Abe Faber, Murt launched a career of increasingly ambitious robberies. But it was only after his sudden marriage to the beautiful eighteen-year-old Norma Brighton that the gang escalated to murder. Their crime wave climaxed at a Needham, Massachusetts, bank on February 2, 1934, when Murt cut down two local police officers--Francis Haddock and Forbes McLeod--with a Thompson submachine gun stolen from state police. The killings, the dogged investigation by two clever detectives, and the record-setting trial with seventeen psychiatrists were national news. In Depression-era America this Boston saga of sex, ethnicity, and bloodshed made the trio and their "red-headed gun moll" infamous. Gorenstein's account explores the Millen, Faber, and Brighton families and introduces us to cops, psychiatrists, newspaper men and women, and ordinary citizens caught up in the extraordinary Tommy Gun Winter of 1934.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This reads like fiction but is frighteningly true. There are gangsters. There's a beautiful girl. And there's murder.
Tommy Gun Winter is well researched and gives you a deep understanding of the people involved: two brothers, an MIT graduate, a preacher's daughter. The story is pushed along by newspaper reporters. What I love about books like this is that not only do I get a riveting tale about crime, I get a mini history lesson in politics, reporting, and other things that change through the years. I understand a little more about the 1930's now. I really recommend this book. ( )
  MidnightRose966 | Aug 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like other reviews have said, this is a well researched account of an interesting piece of Massachusetts history. Criminals Murton and Irving Millen were no Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, though they wanted to be, and so while their story made for a good read, I found Tommy Gun Winter to be somewhat lacking. The writing is solid, though sometimes repetitive, and Nathan Gorenstein clearly knows his history, but this book isn't a must read. I couldn't help but think that Gorenstein only wrote this book because he's related to the brothers - to him, it's personal. But other readers probably won't be as enamored. ( )
  ligature | Jul 1, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a well researched, comprehensive look at a little known murderous trio that captivated the Boston area during the 1930s. Here we have all the ingredients of the best thriller novel: A wannabe gangster and his developmentally challenged younger brother, a psychopathic MIT graduate, a narcissistic young woman looking for a thrill with the bad guys, dysfunctional families, and the bumbling of early psychiatry.

Having grown up south of Boston, I was especially intrigued by the history and setting. I think this is the author's strength. The era came alive for me, complete with its pride and prejudices. This story could easily rival Bonnie and Clyde on the big screen.

The writing, for me, is a little dry, lacking that narrative flare that can turn a recitation of facts into a compelling story. At times the details feel weighty, more like textbook reading than entertainment. Still, the story holds incredible appeal. I have much respect for all the time and work Gorenstein put into his writing. ( )
  Darcia | Jun 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Tommy Gun Winter wasn't my first choice for a review copy, but I'm glad I received it. I love history, but history books range from deadly dull to enthralling. I wasn't enthralled, but I did find the book harder to put down as it progressed.

Two of the Jewish robbers, brothers Murton and Irving Millen, are collateral ancestors of the author (their father and his great-grandfather were brothers). From what we read about their home life, Mr. Gorenstein was fortunate to be descended from William Millen rather than Joe.

Joe Millen was an abusive husband and father when wives and children had even fewer [legal] remedies than they have today. It's not surprising that two of his children became criminals -- we might be more surprised that the rest of them didn't, although two got in trouble trying to save Irving, who was what we still call 'a little slow'.

The third member of the small gang, Abe Faber, was a much-loved only child who had advantages the Millen brothers didn't, including graduating from a presitgious college. Would he have gone bad if his ambitions hadn't been thwarted by the lack of jobs in his field during the Great Depression -- or if he'd never known Murt? Perhaps not.

The [former] preacher's daughter who married Murt, Norma Brighton, was a teenager with a too-strict father and a too-permissive mother who were divorced from each other. She comes across as spoiled and self-centered.

Besides the crimes themselves, including murders, we get learn how the gang was first able to 'outsmart' the cops and what tripped them up. The author takes the trouble to let us know some facts about the principal persons involved and the times. I was particularly interested in the role played by two newspaper reporters, who made better detectives than some of the police officers. The bank robbery that started the crooks' downfall, manhunt, capture, and trials (Norma's was separate), were the most fascinating chapters, although the epilogues were also good. The dueling psychiatric testimony may strike a familiar note for today's reader. I know which expert's opinions I found most credible.

I hope that all future editions of this book will include the 14 pages of photographs this first edition has. The only complaint I have about this book is that it follows the modern practice of putting all the chapter notes together instead of using footnotes. (Yes, I read all the chapter notes, even though I had to use a bookmark and keep flipping back to it.) The book also includes a bibliography and an index.

I do not hesitate to recommend Tommy Gun Winter to history and/or true crime fans. ( )
  JalenV | Jun 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well researched book telling the tale of Jewish gangsters running amok in 1930's Boston. The book reads like a novel and I could hardly put it down. In this age of DNA testing and instant news it's easy to forget the atrocities that were accomplished by criminals simply because they could get away with it. For mystery readers and true life crime afficionados this is a must read. ( )
  Brenda63 | Jun 15, 2015 |
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This is the true tale of two brothers, sons of a successful Jewish contractor, who along with an MIT graduate and a minister's daughter once competed for headlines with John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde. The gang was led by the angry, violent, yet often charismatic Murton Millen, a small-time hoodlum and aspiring race-car driver. With his younger brother, Irv, and later joined by neighborhood buddy and MIT graduate Abe Faber, Murt launched a career of increasingly ambitious robberies. But it was only after his sudden marriage to the beautiful eighteen-year-old Norma Brighton that the gang escalated to murder. Their crime wave climaxed at a Needham, Massachusetts, bank on February 2, 1934, when Murt cut down two local police officers--Francis Haddock and Forbes McLeod--with a Thompson submachine gun stolen from state police. The killings, the dogged investigation by two clever detectives, and the record-setting trial with seventeen psychiatrists were national news. In Depression-era America this Boston saga of sex, ethnicity, and bloodshed made the trio and their "red-headed gun moll" infamous. Gorenstein's account explores the Millen, Faber, and Brighton families and introduces us to cops, psychiatrists, newspaper men and women, and ordinary citizens caught up in the extraordinary Tommy Gun Winter of 1934.

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