Lucky Luciano:

The Man Who Organized Crime in America
by Hickman Powell

February 2015 | $16.95 | Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-56980-900-6

He was called the Father of Organized Crime. Born in Sicily and reared in poverty he arrived with his family on New York’s Lower East Side in the early 20th century. He grew up among Irish, Jewish and Italian youths dedicated to crime, some of them going on to become world class thugs. This book is written by a top investigative reporter who followed Luciano’s trial from its inception to the jury verdict. He not only interviewed Luciano but also the assorted prostitutes and pimps who testified against him. When the United States entered WWII, Luciano made a deal with the U.S. Government that resulted in his being set free and returned to Italy where he worked for allied interests. After the war he returned to America, but remaining persona non grata, became involved in Cuban casinos. He spent most of his time in Italy where he ran criminal operations from a distance.

Lucky Luciano was responsible for the infamous Atlantic City gathering of the nation’s top mobsters that included Al Capone, Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello and where they were persuaded to run crime as a business; Luciano structured the “Costra Nostra.” Lansky’s statement “We’re bigger than General Motors” has become a part of gangster lore.

The book is also an incisive portrait of then prosecuting attorney Thomas E. Dewey whose tireless efforts resulted in conviction. Though first published more than half a century ago, it reads like today’s news

Hickman Powell

Hickman Powell, deceased, was a successful newspaper journalist who followed Luciano’s trial from its inception to the jury verdict making it the most complete account ever printed. He became a close friend of District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey, who gave him a front seat at the trial.