Largely forgotten now, Frankie Yale was an influential New York mobster of the early 20th century whose proteges included future leaders of New York's five Mafia families and Chicago's outfit. His influence extended to Chicago, where he personally committed two of the city's most notorious underworld assassinations and waged a five-year war to wrest control of Brooklyn's docks from Irish rivals. His murder marked New York City's first use of a Tommy gun in gangland warfare, the same weapon used in Chicago's St. Valentine's Day massacre seven months later. Yale's passing destabilized Gotham's Mafia, paving the way for an upheaval that modified and modernized the structure of American syndicated crime for the next six decades. Despite Yale's prominence during his life, this is the first biography to survey his life and career.
In the Loop: A Political and Economic History of San Antonio, is the culmination of urban historian David Johnson’s extensive research into the development of Texas’s oldest city. Beginning with San Antonio’s formation more than three hundred years ago, Johnson lays out the factors that drove the largely uneven and unplanned distribution of resources and amenities and analyzes the demographics that transformed the city from a frontier settlement into a diverse and complex modern metropolis. Following the shift from military interests to more diverse industries and punctuated by evocative descriptions and historical quotations, this urban biography reveals how city mayors balanced constituents’ push for amenities with the pull of business interests such as tourism and the military. Deep dives into city archives fuel the story and round out portraits of Sam Maverick, Henry B. Gonzales, Lila Cockrell, and other political figures. Johnson reveals the interplay of business interests, economic attractiveness, and political goals that spurred San Antonio’s historic tenacity and continuing growth and highlights individual agendas that influenced its development. He focuses on the crucial link between urban development and booster coalitions, outlining how politicians and business owners everywhere work side by side, although not necessarily together, to shape the future of any metropolitan area, including geographical disparities. Three photo galleries illustrate boosterism’s impact on San Antonio’s public and private space and highlight its tangible results. In the Loop recounts each stage of San Antonio’s economic development with logic and care, building a rich story to contextualize our understanding of the current state of the city and our notions of how an American city can form.
In the years before the Civil War, many Americans saw the sea as a world apart, an often violent and insular culture governed by its own definitions of honor and ruled by its own authorities. The truth, however, is that legal cases that originated at sea had a tendency to come ashore and force the national government to address questions about personal honor, dignity, the rights of labor, and the meaning and privileges of citizenship, often for the first time. By examining how and why merchant seamen and their officers came into contact with the law, Matthew Taylor Raffety exposes the complex relationship between brutal crimes committed at sea and the development of a legal consciousness within both the judiciary and among seafarers in this period. The Republic Afloat tracks how seamen conceived of themselves as individuals and how they defined their place within the United States. Of interest to historians of labor, law, maritime culture, and national identity in the early republic, Raffety’s work reveals much about the ways that merchant seamen sought to articulate the ideals of freedom and citizenship before the courts of the land—and how they helped to shape the laws of the young republic.