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The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury

Book cover for The Gangs of New York
The Gangs of New York has long been hand-passed among its cult readership. It is a tour through a now unrecognizable city of abysmal poverty and habitual violence cobbled, as Luc Sante has written, "from legend, memory, police records, the self-aggrandizements of aging crooks, popular journalism, and solid historical research." Asbury presents the definitive work on this subject, an illumination of the gangs of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia and its depiction in films like The Godfather. "A universal history of infamy [that] contains all the confusion and cruelty of the barbarian cosmologies... " - Jorge Luis Borges "The tale is one of blood, excitement and debauchery." - The New York Times Book Review "The Gangs of New York is one of the essential works of the city... " - Luc Sante, The New York Review of Books