From the slot machine trust of the early 1900s to the prolific Prohibition era bootleggers allied with Al Capone, and for decades beyond, organized crime in Chicago Heights, Illinois, represented a vital component of the Chicago Outfit. Louis Corsino taps interviews, archives, government documents, and his own family's history to tell the story of the Chicago Heights "boys" and their place in the city's Italian American community throughout the twentieth century. Exploring the role of community context in the generation of criminal enterprises, Corsino delves into the social and cultural forces that created a vibrant Italian enclave while simultaneously contributing to illicit activities so pervasive the city's name became synonymous with vice. As Corsino shows, organized crime had its roots in discrimination that blocked opportunities for Italians' social mobility. The close-knit Italian communities that arose in response to such limits produced a rich supply of social capital Italians used to pursue alternative routes to success that ranged from Italian grocery stores to union organizing to, on occasion, crime. In particular he offers invaluable insights into the ways established Outfit figures brought in new recruits and how social forces worked to guarantee a pool of potential soldiers. Learned and readable, The Neighborhood Outfit throws light on a little-known corner of the history of Chicagoland organized crime.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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