Books: Sluggers and Politicians

THE GANGS OF NEW YORK—An Informal History of the Underworld—Herbert Asbury—Knopf ($4.00).

That five gangsters have recently threatened the life of Author Asbury, who also wrote Up From Methodism, indicates the deadly accuracy of his exhaustive history. Fortunately for Mr. Asbury, he knows the gangs of today have lost their former prowess, that their reputation is falsely bolstered by the sporadic brawls and killings of quite another species—the bootlegger and dope-dealer.

With the first great wave of immigration, a century ago, the gangster appeared in Manhattan's congested "Five Points" and "Paradise Square," near...

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