National Affairs: Big Al

He was born in Naples and brought up in Brooklyn. He was hot-tempered, dramatic, sentimental and tough; a hairy, meaty youth with cold eyes and a brawler's arms. An ugly scar disfigured his left cheek—the mark of a fiery little Sicilian who was the first and last man ever to cut him with a knife. He fought with either his fists or a pistol. By the time he was 19, he was skilled in robbery, and was suspected of two murders.

Then he moved to Chicago. In Prohibition days, Chicago was easy pickings for...

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