Boardwalk Gangster blows apart the accepted legend of Lucky Luciano by employing formerly secret government papers. One of the urban legends that Newark debunks is that Luciano was the head of a narcotics group moving drugs throughout the TransAtlantic area. Previously secret government files provide compelling evidence that American government agents puffed up Luciano’s involvement so they could pad their budgets to obscene sizes.
Interesting tidbits include the reexamination of the tragic death of Thelma Todd. She was an actress who starred in movies with the likes of the Marx brothers until her supposed suicide while she was Luciano’s girlfriend.
There is compelling evidence that Luciano helped the United States government try to stamp out Communism in Italy. Newark also tackles the story perpetuated by Luciano himself that he provided invaluable assistance to the allies during World War II.
Boardwalk Gangster is an easy read, very detailed without being bogged down in minutiae. The pacing is at times as staccato as the rat-tat-tat of a Tommy gun.
If you are a history buff and/or a fan of the immensely popular HBO series Boardwalk Empire, you are guaranteed an eye-opening fascinating read.