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October 15, 2017


The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago
William Elliott Hazelgrove


 Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago is a historical look at Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression. The story of Chicago fighting the hold that organized crime had on the city to be able to put on The 1933 World's Fair.

William Hazelgrove provides the exciting and sprawling history behind the 1933 World's Fair, the last of the golden age. He reveals the story of the six millionaire businessmen, dubbed The Secret Six, who beat Al Capone at his own game, ending the gangster era as prohibition was repealed. The story of an intriguing woman, Sally Rand, who embodied the World's Fair with her own rags to riches story and brought sex into the open. The story of Rufus and Charles Dawes who gave the fair a theme and then found financing in the worst economic times the country had ever experienced. The story of the most corrupt mayor of Chicago, William Thompson, who owed his election to Al Capone; and the mayor who followed him, Anton Cermak, who was murdered months before the fair opened by an assassin many said was hired by Al Capone.

But most of all it’s the story about a city fighting for survival in the darkest of times; and a shining light of hope called A Century of Progress.

From the Author

When I read A Devil in the White City I was amazed at how little I knew about the Worlds Fair of 1893. I found the book hard to put down and I thought an author only stumbles on such a great story maybe once in a lifetime. But when I started to research for another book topic I was dumbfounded to find that Chicago had a Second Worlds Fair forty years after the Columbian Exposition of 1893. And like the First Worlds Fair it was constructed against all odds with a built in Dr. Holmes in the form of Al Capone. Chicago had to rid itself of the gangster who had the city by the throat and if that wasn't enough the fair was held in the worst year of the Great Depression. How Chicago was able to pull off the Second Worlds Fair is a story of tenacity, grit, preserverance and sheer luck. It is about a city looking for a ray of light in the darkest times ever known and pinning that hope on a fair called A Century of Progress. Enjoy

Some of the dates and information  have been stated in others reviews as being incorrect. I am not that informed about the dates and such.  I read the book because of the man, Al Capone.  I was interested in some information I didn't know about him and how the criminal aspect of 1933 came to an end.   There are quite a few history lessons to learn and I found most of it fascinating.   This man was a gangster who held Chicago  paralyzed through his criminal activity. This was a dark time for Chicago as well as other cities in the U.S. Chicago was wanting to put on the World's Fair in 1933 and the criminal activity had a strong hold at that time.   That wasn't the only problem. The Great Depression had a deep hold also.    The World's Fair was to be a positive time, a time for the people of Chicago to smile, a time for the dark to subside and light to take over.   This was a time when the people were poor, life was a struggle just to survive.  How would this city stage the World's Fair that would cost so much money, when there was no money? That is when a group of six men took on the gangster mentality and went on the mission to eradicate it from Chicago.  They were called the "Secret Six".   Would they succeed?  This was a time that was so important to the people and the city of Chicago.   A historical time in or history.  A time to remember so that it doesn't happen again.  This doesn't refer to the book, but sadly to say, It happened again.  A different time, a different type of gangster, a different society, but the gangster mentality remains.  So we need to look back on 1933 and the brave "Secret Six".  This could be a shining light in our society today.  The author keeps getting better and better with each book he writes.   He gives us valuable lessons along with a history lesson each time.  Maybe some facts are wrong.  Maybe so, but I took it as an interesting read and discovered many things  I didn't know.  The characters were fascinating and at times, I stopped and thought about what life may have been back then.  A gangster, so influential, with such a hold on an entire city, until, until they had enough and a few men took on the dangerous task of stopping the criminal activity in order to put on a positive World's Fair.  A positive time for a city in crisis. This was a story of a few good men bringing the city of Chicago back to a successful, bright time. 
I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily decided to review it.
I would give this book 5 STARS.

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