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Milwaukee was a city of Bullets, Blood and Beer

By MPL Staff on Jul 15, 2015 11:29 AM


Gavin Schmitt’s book The Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in the Heartland tells the story of Milwaukee’s chapter in the “American Mob Story” giving us much mystery and intrigue. The book covers the late 1800’s into the early decades of the 20th Century.  “The Milwaukee Mafia” not only delves into the Sicilian Mafiosi of the 3rd Ward and beyond but also how young Milwaukee treated her immigrant populations, her fledgling urban development, the American Dream, law enforcement and politics.  

The Mafia is known for their secrecy as well as their brutality and law enforcement definitely had its work cut out for it as it took on the monumental task of trying to pry open the mouths of tight-lipped citizens who not only denied knowledge of any/all criminal activity but that there even was a Mafia in existence, period.  The police got the runaround from almost everyone they spoke to, from the early vice days of counterfeiting to bootlegging to murder.  In order to stay alive or keep out of jail, mobsters and civilians alike kept quiet.  It’s no wonder so many crimes and murders went unsolved, the police force must have been beyond frustrated!  The Mafiosi had connections all over the Midwest so they were able to go into hiding if it was getting “too hot” to stay in Milwaukee.  Many of them were extradited back to Wisconsin to face charges, but usually beat the rap. 

Unfortunately, many of these great histories are being forgotten or relegated to pure myth, but thankfully, due in major part to Gavin Schmitt’s book, they are being revived and retold!  If you are looking to find out about Milwaukee’s darker side, read The Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in the Heartland; you won’t be disappointed!

Visit us at Central Library’s Krug Rare Books Room on Monday, July 13th at 6:30pm. Author Gavin Schmitt will be there to discuss his work and the book.  Click here for more information!  

Beth W @ Central

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