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10 thoughts on “Supermob How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Powerbrokers

  1. says:

    Supermob How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers Supermob is a massive tome that offers a perfect blend of “Yep Knew that” mixed with “Hmm Always suspected that” and “Whoa Never knew that” It has that potpourri of familiarity and surprise that I always wanted to engender as first editor and publisher of national magazines It is a well written cocktail of elements that intrigue me for some of which I rebuke myself as though I were watching and re watching some of that later excised footage of people jumping off the World Trade Center on 9 11 a macabre fascination that really shouldn’t be there Chicago and the Outfit Hollywood and its shadow infrastructure Las Vegas and its veneer of legitimacy and powerful political personalities At least with regard to the few times I have been in a position to “hear things” Supermob resonates perfectly either fitting a new jigsaw piece into what I “think” I might know or affirming a pre conceived bias So I can’t tell you how accurate this book is I can only say that it “fits” my perception of the realityCurrently I reside in a northern suburb of Chicago and commute downtown I work a few blocks from a beautiful amphitheater named after a member of the Pritzker family and see barges prominently labeled as part of a Crown company Both families are prominent business people and major major philanthropists and political donors Gus Russo casts major aspersions on the progenitors of these cultural icons by tying them with “shenanigans” tied to armed forces commissaries and exchanges construction projects union double crosses and “insider” double dealing with regard to properties seized under the Office of Alien Properties during World War II The latter is most disconcerting to me because it involved members of the FDR and Truman administrations who seemed to have operated with a wink and a wave from both respected Presidents In the past I had always felt like Truman was tainted unfairly by his early endorsement by the Pendergast Machine Russo cites evidence that makes me feel less enad with the man I consider the best POTUS of my lifetime Alas I still think he was the best—just not uite as great as I thought himOf course the book also hammers the reputation of one Ronald Wilson Reagan citing the Department of Justice’s intent to indict both MCA for its antitrust sweetheart arrangement with the Screen Actors Guild which was brokered by Reagan in exchange for the job on GE Theater p 269 On multiple occasions underworld and DOJ sources indicated that as in his presidency Reagan used his some say “impossibly” bad memory as an excuse for not remembering incriminating details “Well maybe the fact that I married in March of 1952 and went on a honeymoon had something to do with my being a little bit hazy” p 269 see also p 230 Also “When Reagan lied in denying he had been a producer while serving as SAG president the interrogators were so convinced of his perjury that they began impounding his tax returns for 1952 55” p 269 In addition the book documents the suspected underworld figures in Ronnie’s entourage as well as how he cut the Department of Justice’s budget to ensure that the organized crime project could not continue p 476 and mob sources were uoted as saying that Ronnie did their bidding unlike Carter p 481 Apparently Lew Wasserman talked Bobby Kennedy into dropping all of the criminal indictments which were pending including Reagan’s p 270 Why? Could it have been a recommendation from Hy Raskin an MCA attorney from you guessed it Chicago who served as one of the Kennedy family’s “insiders” during the 1960 campaign? Or was it that Wasserman became one of the DNC’s biggest contributors when they were dropped? Wasserman even developed the famous President’s Club in 1963 which for a 1K donation gave members a gold engraved membership card invitations to cabinet briefings and an annual club dinner along WITH promised access to JFK p 271And we probably don’t have to designate all the different ways that Nixon was dirty forming the Committee for the Preservation of the Democratic Party as an insidious way of attacking the alleged “left wing” activities of anyone who disagreed with the red baiting former Vice President—p 272 having his Attorney General John Mitchell drop the IRS’s Operation Snowball which had the goods on a lot of mob operations immediately after the inauguration—p 275 his brother Donald’s 205K “loan” from Howard Hughes that Larry O’ Brien DNC Chairman during the 1972 election had brokered and that Dick feared would be used against him in the 1972 election—so he burglarized O’Brien’s office at the Watergate to see—p 131 and His involvement with Bebe Rebozo in an offshore bank Castle Bank which was investigated for significant money laundering is also telling p 441 Supermob however isn’t really so much about any of the things I’ve already mentioned as it is about Sidney Korshak People with tech backgrounds can think of him as a neural net for organized crime with nodes that connect some of the most unlikely individuals while those without a tech background can think of Korshak as a spider who managed to weave the most vast and deadly web imaginable with tendrils in every corner of contemporary history As a result the book has layers than an onion with the writing allowing us to peel back this amazing era of corruption and covert manipulation And as one often tears up upon peeling an onion there is occasional sorrow upon finding a prominent name in the index of this bookWhy didn’t Estes Kefauver’s hearings in the early ‘50s accomplish ? According to Russo Korshak set him up with hookers in the Drake Hotel of Chicago and took incriminating pictures with infrared cameras p 121 Why didn’t Howard Hughes’ sale of RKO Pictures to mob front owners go through? According to Russo Hughes leaked it to the press in order to keep over a million dollars in non refundable earnest moneydown payment p 130 And although there was no mention of a decapitated horse Korshak allegedly “fixed” matters so that one Francis Albert Sinatra could save his career with a dramatic role in From Here to Eternity p 148 And I loved Korshak’s remark during the McClennan hearings when Bobby Kennedy tried to press him on the amount received by Korshak and associates for settling a union dispute Korshak replied under oath that he was grossly underpaid p 169 At another point he complained that Bobby offered a self righteous attitude as if he had no idea where Joe Kennedy’s wealth had originated “you might have thought I was making as much out of the pension fund as the Kennedys made out of selling whiskey” P 171It was great to read of Red Skelton’s uote at Harry Cohn’s funeral I’d heard it before but out of context and attributed to someone else “Well it only proves what they always say—give the public something they want to see and they’ll come out for it” p 156 I learned amazing bits of trivia like Frank Sinatra being obsessed with the color orange p 447 As a result of this book my favorite newspaper in the world lost some of its sparkle Los Angeles Times and I saw some new connections with regard to personal experiences that explain a few things I had only assumed before This is a terrific book and I’m delighted that I read it—even if there are times when the lines of evidence peter off into circular sources similar to conspiracy books I think most of it rings true but there are times that I just want to say that knowing someone doesn’t euate to being in league with them


  2. says:

    This is a hard book to rate Certain aspects of it like the volume of research and the connections the author makes deserve 4 or 5 stars Russo’s dissection of the Ashkenazic Jewish diaspora and their second generation experience in Chicago and subseuent success in shaping American society is an excellent eye opening analysis As the book progresses Russo’s challenges in tackling very broad subject matter become apparent The book struggles between being a biography of Sidney Korshak and an expose of a loose knit amorphous and somewhat exaggerated entity known as the “Supermob” a group of powerful and influential Jews with connections to La Cosa Nostra Russo even lumps Ronald Reagan in as a member of the Supermob But Russo clearly despises Reagan and assigning him membership in a criminal organization is just one of many ways the partisan author attacks the former President actor and union leader Russo's anti Reagan agenda causes him to go on lengthy off topic diatribes in a book that's already too long For example he sets out to show that Reagan deserves no credit for the fall of the Soviet Union in a purely political paragraph after paragraph editorial that has nothing to do with Korshak the Supermob the Outfit or any other pertinent subject of the book Russo uotes mobster Allen Friedman a career criminal serial liar and world class sleeze saying that he took a suitcase full of cash from Jackie Presser to Ed Meese for Ronald Reagan A few paragraphs later Russo says “Practically at the same time that Reagan's team received Presser's cash filled briefcase” Russo turned Friedman's dubious uote into a fact without offering any corroborating evidence for the proven liar's claim It's sneaky and it undermines the book's credibility High on Russo's long list of Reagan's sins is his anticommunism According to Russo communists in Hollywood were “fictitious 'commies p291 Nook edition which is like saying there's no Mafia in Chicago In the same paragraph Russo states that “the lefties were not aligned against the United States but were merely a reaction to World War II fascism and Reagan and cohorts surely knew it” In reality many of whom Russo refers to as “lefties” were card carrying members of the Communist Party who swore their membership oath to Stalin when Stalin was allied with fascism under the Hitler Stalin Pact For example leading Hollywood Communist Dalton Trumbo went to great lengths to protect the Hitler Stalin Pact by doing everything in his power including writing an anti war novel to prevent the US From entering the war against fascism I suspect that a researcher of Russo's stature knows the true extent of Communist infiltration of Hollywood but simply chooses to repeat old myths in service of his political agenda Other inaccuracies though usually trivial become annoying as they pile up Many gangsters were referred to as a “boss” even when they were mere soldiers Russo describes Frank Zappa on the Steve Allen Show “bashing an old car with a sledgehammer” In fact Zappa used drumsticks to ingeniously make a musical instrument out of a bicycle One has to wonder if Russo got the sledgehammer and old car from the same grab bag as Reagan's suitcase full of cash  Russo deserves credit for documenting the so called Supermob in a connect the dots saga of thoroughly researched intrigue but the book would've been better served had Russo been able to reign in his bias and his word count


  3. says:

    Most of the material I've read about the Mob aka 'The Outfit' has been in connection to the CIA and its nefarious dealings with the underworld Conseuently I was a bit in doubt about buying this rather large book up in Evanston Still it promised to focus on Chicago and on the Korshaks one of whom Marshall was a prominent politician in Illinois for most of my life Also the index revealed a lot of material about Allen Dorfman the Mob attorney who was murdered in the parking lot of the Rosemont Hyatt 'the Purple Hotel' just behind the Honeywell offices Dad worked in for decades Thus I made the purchaseArranged around the biography of Sidney Korshak this book begins with the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the pogroms that led many Russian Jews to flee to the United States and to Chicago in particular Tracing the history of their Maxwell Street and then Lawndale communities author Russo introduces the Korshak and other families who were later to play roles in the black economies of sweetheart contracts casino skimming offshore accounts tax dodges influence peddling prostitution and the likePreviously Russo had published a book The Outfit about the Chicago Mob This book is substantially about how their illegal earnings were invested hidden and laundered by the likes of attorney Korshak and their political colleagues most notably Ronald Reagan It is an unsettling story many of my 'favorite' public figures standing revealed as criminalsThe heroes of these dark tales of theft deceit extortion and murder are mostly such journalists as Seymour Hersh and others who dared expose the powerful as well as some law officers in the FBI and other agencies who tried and mostly failed to stand up against such criminally compromised bosses as J Edgar Hoover and Edwin Meese Celebrities abound in this book's stories of the corruption of Hollywood most of them riding the dark tide few standing against it I was proud to see one Chicago actor courageously oppose the Mob namely Steve AllenSupermob is dense almost too dense and well documented However the prudent reader should unlike me read the prior study The Outfit first Perhaps then the tide of information would be a bit less overwhelming


  4. says:

    I wanted to read this book because I knew some of the people involved vaguely and I was interested in the relationship between the Mob and the Entertainment business Korshak was an icon in the entertainment business when I first started but I didn't really know why I still don't Unfortunately this is the first book in years I haven't finished I am still interested in the subject But this is a disorganized barely readable collection of paragraphs in desperate search of an editor


  5. says:

    Nicely done book about the lifetimes and connections of Sidney Korshak Mob influence and connections to Chicago LosAngeles and the movie businessif you like Chicago mob books it is a must read


  6. says:

    I am of two minds about this book On the one hand it could definitely use an editor Russo is prone to rambling on about minor details that have no impact or bearing on other parts of the chapter He introduces characters and then references them again at such a lightning pace I needed some kind of a key to keep track of who everyone was It is a meandering collection of seemingly unrelated anecdotes meant to capture as many moments in a man's life as possible It's hard to suss out exactly which of these stories are embellished outright fabrications or the honest truth even with Russo's copious use of notes and references I would read this lengthy book only about 15 20 pages at a time since there was just so much to take in And yet this exhaustive style of biography and capturing of minutiae serves the book's purpose of being a memento of an era when mobsters mad their move from bootleggers to helping multinational corporations a time that many of today's movers and shakers would rather you soon forget While Russo takes his sweet time at getting to his conclusion by the time he makes it even the half remembered vague details that will come away with from this book should instill in you a different perspective on what it means to be in polite society Particularly jarring are the references to figures like Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein who while obviously very public figures had yet to take on the roles they have know in 2006 It serves as a stark reminder that as much as this book has uncovered the nasty side of those on top still lays mostly in shadow As an aggregation of primary sources or someone starting research on the mob this must be a great place to take a first crack as well But do set aside some time for this book because it is difficult to get through


  7. says:

    I had to read Supermob How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers because it was used as the basis of a class in a Life Long Learning program I read a lot of non fiction and history and I have to say that Supermob was probably one of worst books I've ever read I found several basic facts reported wrong for instance Nancy Reagan had NOT been married before she married Ronald Reagan just sort of tossed out at the reader The minute I find two errors in a work of non fiction I stop reading the book Unfortunately since it was a text for a class I couldn't throw it at the wall even though I wanted toThere is a difference in writing boring and dry history and a free for all history Gus Russo is really of a storytellerraconteur than a careful journalistauthor He puts together interesting anecdotes but appears to create his own context to make for a better story


  8. says:

    Film industry legend Robert Evans referred to Sid Korshak as The Myth since he was such a pivotal figure in US industry labor relations organized crime politics and the film industry Korshak and Lew Wasserman were key players in the rise of people like Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra yet Korshak is unknown to the vast majority of Americans Asides from a smattering of press in the mid 1970s long after Korhak had peaked in influence very little has been written Gus Russo attempts to fix that in SuperMob a book that tries to boil down all the misc threads in Korhsaks life and times to show how Korshak and his associates were at the nexus of building America at mid 20th century SuperMob traces SK's rise from better than average mob lawyer to the Chicago Mob's man in Hollywood Russo shows how pivotal SK was in engineering the flow of Mob money made during Prohibition to California from the mid 30's to 50s Capone might have been gone but the empire he and folks like Lansky built still existed Bootlegging made them flush and all that went to California to underwrite a huge chunk the states boom during and after WW2 Also key to SK's power was his role as labor lawyer In the 20's corporate America had made alliances with organized crime to help keep the labor unions in check but within a few years men like SK used their role as Union lawyers to blackmail corporate America If you ran hotels anywhere in the US you better have made the right payments to SK if the Hiltons and Pritzkers Hyatt wanted to build in Vegas or California they had to make sure SK got paid and if Hollywood wanted to make sure none of their many unions and guilds struck they had make sure the cash went thru SK Russo does a great job laying out how thorough corruption lay at the heart of mid century America Oddly enough one of the weaknesses of the book is how he never drills down on any one racket Sure some like how much the Mob made on sweetheart deals buying underpriced Cali assets seized from interned Japanese WW2 but the corruption is layered on one after another without really fleshing out the deets Dozens of the events described in this book could be a lengthy book in and of itself In the end that is why i let Russo slide on this his book merely ties together a slews of events i have read in a ton of other books like Connie Bruck's When Hollywood had a King Robert Evans' The Kid Stays in the Picture and the bookmovie Casino Although Sid Korshak is only vaguely mentioned or not even mentioned at all in these books he was a key player


  9. says:

    Well documented tale of post war American history which by the way will make you sick It's the story of power influence money the mob not that one the REAL one and their dominance over American business particularly Hollywood and Vegas and by the way labor unions manufacturing industries states cities and the nation Yeah I hate conspiracy theories too but every once in awhile you get slapped with the real deal and it hurts This is that The book is tough to get through and like much history a little too much this happened then this happened without some big picture analysis which would make it easier to digest but a stellar effort nevertheless Read it and weep Yes Donald Trump is mentioned


  10. says:

    If you're from Chicago or Los Angeles or are intrigued by the origins of Las Vegas you will enjoy this occasionally over detailed book The original lawyer without an office who predates Mickey Haller is Sidney Korshak and his all American rise to power is stunning Ronald Reagan is prominently featured as a union president who sells his soul and sells out his union to revive his career Lots of shockers


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free read ê PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ï Gus Russo

Investigative reporter Russo returns with the remarkable story of the Supermob a cadre of men who over the course of decades secretly influenced nearly every aspect of American society Presenting startling never before seen revelations about such famous members as Jules Stein Joe Glaser Ronald Reagan Lew Wasserman David Bazelon John Jacob Factor as well as infamous scrupulously low profile members Russo pulls the lid off of a half century of criminal infiltration into American business politics society At the heart of it is Sidney The Fixer Korshak who from the 194 Most of the material I've read about the Mob aka 'The Outfit' has been in connection to the CIA and its nefarious dealings with the underworld Conseuently I was a bit in doubt about buying this rather large book up in Evanston Still it promised to focus on Chicago and on the Korshaks one of whom Marshall was a prominent politician in Illinois for most of my life Also the index revealed a lot of material about Allen Dorfman the Mob attorney who was murdered in the parking lot of the Rosemont Hyatt 'the Purple Hotel' just behind the Honeywell offices Dad worked in for decades Thus I made the purchaseArranged around the biography of Sidney Korshak this book begins with the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the pogroms that led many Russian Jews to flee to the United States and to Chicago in particular Tracing the history of their Maxwell Street and then Lawndale communities author Russo introduces the Korshak and other families who were later to play roles in the black economies of sweetheart contracts casino skimming offshore accounts tax dodges influence peddling prostitution and the likePreviously Russo had published a book The Outfit about the Chicago Mob This book is substantially about how their illegal earnings were invested hidden and laundered by the likes of attorney Korshak and their political colleagues most notably Ronald Reagan It is an unsettling story many of my 'favorite' public figures standing revealed as criminalsThe heroes of these dark tales of theft deceit extortion and murder are mostly such journalists as Seymour Hersh and others who dared expose the powerful as well as some law officers in the FBI and other agencies who tried and mostly failed to stand up against such criminally compromised bosses as J Edgar Hoover and Edwin Meese Celebrities abound in this book's stories of the corruption of Hollywood most of them riding the dark tide few standing against it I was proud to see one Chicago actor courageously oppose the Mob namely Steve AllenSupermob is dense almost too dense and well documented However the prudent reader should unlike me read the prior study The Outfit first Perhaps then the tide of information would be a bit less overwhelming The Black Painting underworld Conseuently I was a bit in doubt about buying this rather large book Fire and Desire up in Evanston Still it promised to focus on Chicago and on the Korshaks one of whom Marshall was a prominent politician in Illinois for most of my life Also the index revealed a lot of material about Allen Dorfman the Mob attorney who was murdered in the parking lot of the Rosemont Hyatt 'the Purple Hotel' just behind the Honeywell offices Dad worked in for decades Thus I made the purchaseArranged around the biography of Sidney Korshak this book begins with the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the pogroms that led many Russian Jews to flee to the United States and to Chicago in particular Tracing the history of their Maxwell Street and then Lawndale communities author Russo introduces the Korshak and other families who were later to play roles in the black economies of sweetheart contracts casino skimming offshore accounts tax dodges influence peddling prostitution and the likePreviously Russo had published a book The Outfit about the Chicago Mob This book is substantially about how their illegal earnings were invested hidden and laundered by the likes of attorney Korshak and their political colleagues most notably Ronald Reagan It is an The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox unsettling story many of my 'favorite' public figures standing revealed as criminalsThe heroes of these dark tales of theft deceit extortion and murder are mostly such journalists as Seymour Hersh and others who dared expose the powerful as well as some law officers in the FBI and other agencies who tried and mostly failed to stand The Illusionists up against such criminally compromised bosses as J Edgar Hoover and Edwin Meese Celebrities abound in this book's stories of the corruption of Hollywood most of them riding the dark tide few standing against it I was proud to see one Chicago actor courageously oppose the Mob namely Steve AllenSupermob is dense almost too dense and well documented However the prudent reader should Planet of the Bugs unlike me read the prior study The Outfit first Perhaps then the tide of information would be a bit less overwhelming

free download Supermob How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Powerbrokers

Supermob How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Powerbrokers

Ou had to do in those days to get byScenes from Hollywood part 1Jimmy Bobby SidneyForty years in the desert The kingmakers Paul Lew Ronnie in CaliforniaThe new frontier Bistro days He could never walk away from those peopleScenes from Hollywood part 2A sunny place for shady peopleComing under attack From Hoffa to HollywoodFrom Dutch sandwiches to Dutch ReaganAiring dirty laundry laundering dirty money Pursued by the Fourth Estate The true untouchablesLegacies Appendices A Supermob investmentsB Pritzker holdingsC Ziffren Greenberg Genis documentsNotesBibliographyInd Well documented tale of post war American history which by the way will make you sick It's the story of power influence money the mob not that one the REAL one and their dominance over American business particularly Hollywood and Vegas and by the way labor unions manufacturing industries states cities and the nation Yeah I hate conspiracy theories too but every once in awhile you get slapped with the real deal and it hurts This is that The book is tough to get through and like much history a little too much this happened then this happened without some big picture analysis which would make it easier to digest but a stellar effort nevertheless Read it and weep Yes Donald Trump is mentioned Encounters with Rauschenberg under attack From Hoffa to HollywoodFrom Dutch sandwiches to Dutch ReaganAiring dirty laundry laundering dirty money Pursued by the Fourth Estate The true Doctors, Ambassadors, Secretaries untouchablesLegacies Appendices A Supermob investmentsB Pritzker holdingsC Ziffren Greenberg Genis documentsNotesBibliographyInd Well documented tale of post war American history which by the way will make you sick It's the story of power influence money the mob not that one the REAL one and their dominance over American business particularly Hollywood and Vegas and by the way labor Engendering Song unions manufacturing industries states cities and the nation Yeah I hate conspiracy theories too but every once in awhile you get slapped with the real deal and it hurts This is that The book is tough to get through and like much history a little too much this happened then this happened without some big picture analysis which would make it easier to digest but a stellar effort nevertheless Read it and weep Yes Donald Trump is mentioned

free read ê PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ï Gus Russo

0's until his death in the '90s wasn't only the most powerful lawyer in the world according to the FBI but the enigmatic player behind countless 20th century power mergers political deals organized crime chicaneries As the underworld's primary link to the corporate upperworld his backroom dominance talent for anonymity will likely never be eualed As Supermob proves neither will his storyCast of charactersPrefaceThe lawyer from LawndaleFrom Lawndale to the Seneca to the underworldBirds of a feather Kaddish for CaliforniaThe future is in real estateHell that's what y I am of two minds about this book On the one hand it could definitely use an editor Russo is prone to rambling on about minor details that have no impact or bearing on other parts of the chapter He introduces characters and then references them again at such a lightning pace I needed some kind of a key to keep track of who everyone was It is a meandering collection of seemingly unrelated anecdotes meant to capture as many moments in a man's life as possible It's hard to suss out exactly which of these stories are embellished outright fabrications or the honest truth even with Russo's copious use of notes and references I would read this lengthy book only about 15 20 pages at a time since there was just so much to take in And yet this exhaustive style of biography and capturing of minutiae serves the book's purpose of being a memento of an era when mobsters mad their move from bootleggers to helping multinational corporations a time that many of today's movers and shakers would rather you soon forget While Russo takes his sweet time at getting to his conclusion by the time he makes it even the half remembered vague details that will come away with from this book should instill in you a different perspective on what it means to be in polite society Particularly jarring are the references to figures like Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein who while obviously very public figures had yet to take on the roles they have know in 2006 It serves as a stark reminder that as much as this book has uncovered the nasty side of those on top still lays mostly in shadow As an aggregation of primary sources or someone starting research on the mob this must be a great place to take a first crack as well But do set aside some time for this book because it is difficult to get through