The Gangs of New York

The Gangs of New York Cover

The Gangs of New York

An Informal History of the Underworld

By Herbert Asbury; Russell Shorto (Foreword by)

Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307388988, 366pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2008

First published in 1928, Herbert Asbury's whirlwind tour through the low-life of" "nineteenth-century New York has become an indispensible classic of urban history.
Focusing on the saloon halls, gambling dens, and winding alleys of the Bowery and the notorious Five Points district, "The Gangs of New York" dramatically evokes the destitution and shocking violence of a turbulent era, when colorfully named criminals like Dandy John Dolan, Bill the Butcher, and Hell-Cat Maggie lurked in the shadows, and infamous gangs like the Plug Uglies, the Dead Rabbits, and the Bowery Boys ruled the streets. A rogues gallery of prostitutes, pimps, poisoners, pickpockets, murderers, and thieves, "The Gangs of New York" is a dramatic and entertaining glimpse at a city's dark past.

About the Author
HERBERT ASBURY (1891-1963) is the author of The Gangs of New York and its sequel, When New York Was Really Wicked, The Gangs of Chicago, The French Quarter, The Barbary Coast, and Sucker's Progress, all available from Thunder's Mouth Press.

Russell Shorto is the author of "Gospel Truth: The New Image of Jesus Emerging from Science and History," He has written for "GQ," "The New Yorker," "The Miami Herald," "Travel & Leisure," and "The New York Times Magazine," He lives in Putnam Valley, New York, with his wife and their two daughters.

Praise For The Gangs of New York

"A distinct contribution to Americana. . . . The tale is one of blood, excitement, and debauchery.”
The New York Times

"One of the essential works of the city. . . . It owns a direct pipeline to the city's unconscious.”
—Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York

“A univeral history of infamy, the history of the gangs of New York contains all the confusion and cruelty of the barbarian cosmologies.”
—Jorge Luis Borges

“One of the best American books of its kind. Mr. Asbury writes in a direct and engaging manner.”
—Edmund Pearson, The Saturday Review of Literature