• Bugsy Siegel

  • The Dark Side of the American Dream (Jewish Lives Series)
  • By: Michael Shnayerson
  • Narrated by: Steven Jay Cohen
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a brief life that led to a violent end, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (1906-1947) rose from desperate poverty to ill-gotten riches, from an early-20th-century family of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side to a kingdom of his own making in Las Vegas. In this captivating portrait, author Michael Shnayerson sets out not to absolve Bugsy Siegel but rather to understand him in all his complexity.

Through the 1920s, 1930s, and most of the 1940s, Bugsy Siegel and his longtime partner in crime Meyer Lansky engaged in innumerable acts of violence. As World War II came to an end, Siegel saw the potential for a huge, elegant casino resort in the sands of Las Vegas. Jewish gangsters built nearly all of the Vegas casinos that followed. Then, one by one, they disappeared. Siegel's story laces through a larger, generational story of eastern European Jewish immigrants in the early- to mid-20th century.

©2021 Michael Shnayerson (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Bugsy Siegel

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Great story

Very interesting book. Great storytelling. A lot of details about the other side of famous mobster that you never hear about. Highly recommended reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting mix of charity and crime

(As posted in Goodreads)
I'm trying to figure out what it was that I really didn't care for about this book. I think my biggest problem was the author's not effectively tying the book and its story together throughout the book.
I really didn't know much about "Bugsy Siegel" (Ben Siegel; he DETESTED the nickname "Bugsy"!)
I truly would be interested in his union connections for personal reasons – My father's brother was very involved in the union seen in New York at that time…). Anyway, it was overall a good look at the past and a review of the Jewish mob and just generally politics and crime at the time.

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Strange Memorial

Strange book include those honoring Jewish lives. The book takes an almost reverential tone -- could Las Vegas have been made without him, he was good to his Mom And Dad, he supported the Jewish State -- towards a man who by its on account murdered or caused to be murdered at least 30 persons and enjoyed participating himself and fleeced the public of millions upon millions of dollars through organized crime. Interesting bio but I don't get the homages paid