Mel M. reviewed The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld on
This non-fiction text explores the "underbelly" of 19th century New York: the ethnic tensions and wars, the race riots, the corruption, Boss Tweed and Tammaney Hall. This text was the basis for Scorsese's film "The Gangs of New York" starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
i was really, really ready for this book to be over by the time i got to the last few pages. endless pages of names of people that i couldn't follow, but it was a very good history lesson on where i'm living. it was incredible to read about all the history of the little corners of nyc that i frequent on a regular basis and to read about what's happened there.
Bruce E. reviewed The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld on
Not a bad read especially if this city fascinates you like it does me. From a general history standpoint I found the chapters on the Civil War draft riots especially informative and enlightening. Overall for me it could have been done just as well in 100 fewer pages.
I read this fresh from seeing the movie. The book is so much more. I was astounded that such a place could exist in wonderful America! I had thought such slums could only exist in England--in the Old World. This is a very shocking history, not a novel. Today we have welfare programs, jobs programs, etc., etc. This book shows what we'd have without social programs.
Fierce fighting, mob violence and utter poverty; pirate gangs, draft riots and dance house brawls: it's all here, complete with contemporary illustrations. A great read and an eye-opener to the debauchery of early New York. This book is an excellent companion to the movie of the same name and the series "Five Points". An exciting read about a terrible time.