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Publisher's Summary

Following up The One Man and The Saboteur, Andrew Gross's next historical thriller audiobook brings to life the dramatic birth of organized crime in 1930s New York City from the tale of one family.

After a string of New York Times best-selling suburban thrillers, Andrew Gross has reinvented himself as a writer of historical thrillers. In his latest audiobook, Button Man, he delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women's garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s.

Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at 12 years old and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until at 21 he finally goes out on his own, convincing Sol to come work with him. But Harry can't be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, whom Morris has battled with since his youth and who has risen to become the most ruthless mobster in New York. And when Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers' factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.

This new audiobook is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based on Andrew Gross's own family story and on the history of the era, complete with appearances by real-life characters like mobsters Louis Lepke and Dutch Schultz and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey, and cements Gross's reputation as today's most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.

©2018 Andrew Gross (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"As usual, narrator Edoardo Ballerini's narration is eminently listenable...He captures the rich details of the era while engaging listeners with the story's relatable family dynamics." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent historical suspense HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

BUTTON MAN written by Andrew Gross and expertly narrated by Edoardo Ballerini is a book worth listening to. This book takes place in Manhattan in the early 1900's. The setting is the garment district. This is a time of major growth in NYC but also a time of major violence and corruption.
This story has three main characters. They are Sol, Harry and Morris Rabishevsky. Morris being the foremost protagonist. For the sake of business they shorten the name to Raab.

After their father dies Morris drops out of school at the age of 12 years old become an apprentice to a cutter in the garment industry. He does this so he can earn $5 per week to help support his family. By the age of 20 he's practically running the show. When the business owner passes away Morris decides to open his own business. He brings his brother Sol in but his other brother Harry is running with thugs. These people are Jewish men who are working hand in hand with the Italian mafia. They call themselves Murder, Inc.
Meanwhile, the mob has gotten their hands into union workers. They collect the union fees but don't actually help the workers as promised. They pressure and intimidate business owners to sign up their workers but the few that refuse are bullied, threatened and eventually either maimed or murdered.
Morris continues to refuse and eventually convinces his brother Harry to join the firm. Following a gasoline arson in his warehouse he's pressured into joining forces with Thomas Dewey, a District Attorney who needs Raab's help to expose and bring down the organized crime tormenting NYC businesses. But helping the DA could cost Morris everything he's worked his life for.
This book kept me captivated and has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS!!!!
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Not The One Man, but comes close

Super interesting and exciting story.

The narration was fantastic, and the story was great as well. The only thing that kept me from giving this 5-stars in the story is that after reading The One Man by Andrew Gross, he set a very high bar. It was a fantastic novel, so if you haven't read it, you definitely should.

The characters were dynamic, interesting, and developed throughout the story. This book just wasn't quite up to par with The One Man and The Saboteur.

It is still worth the money or the audible credits. Highly recommended.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not as good as I thought it would be

The best part of this audiobook is the reader/narrator.

The reason why I am disappointed is that so many parts were inaccurate. I know that certain liberties are often taken in works of a type of historical fiction rather than a rigid adherence to historical facts, but there were too many discrepancies between the known facts of this time in New York, the operations of organized crime , the Dewy investigations, and so on and on. Also certain events described not only are improbable, they are impossible because they violate the order demanded by time and “cause and effect “. Also the maxim of “correlation is not causation “ is ignored .

Other readers/listeners may not be as sensitive to such things , but having grown up in Brooklyn, and knowing its history better than most, I just couldn’t “suspend my disbelief “ enough to really enjoy it.

I will try another of this authors’ books to see if can enjoy his treatment of another subject.

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Andrew Gross' best novel to date

I've read or listened to several of Andrew's novels, the best of which prior to this one was The One Man. And while the Saboteur was based on real events, this book had a much more 'real' feel to it. The struggles in life that people go through, from big to small, internal and external, are what shape them and their lives. The narration was perfect and the characters were tremendous. The story and the ending were as good as one could hope for when reading such a book. I thought it was fantastic.

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Very good story.

It has some degree of basis in fact but not a true story. The family relationships and other interpersonal relationships are very well done.

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Couldn't stop reading

An incredible story interwoven with history of the garment trade and the mob in New York City.

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FABULOUS! I didn't want it to end!!

I loved everything about this book. I loved the plot, the time-period, the characters, and I really loved the narration.
In my experience, it is difficult to find an audiobook where the narrator's character/accent changes don't interrupt your immersion in the story, but I did not have that issue here! Edoardo Ballerini's performance was wonderful!

I couldn't get enough of this story! I got through it within a few days and didn't want it to end. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of the tv series Boardwalk Empire or The Sopranos; fans of the podcast "Mafia" (if you've never listened - check it out!!); or anyone generally interested in mob history or NYC during the 1930's. It's a beautiful story with compelling characters. I was rooting for Morris to succeed the whole time!

Thank you, Andrew Gross, for such a fantastic novel!

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Fabulous Book

I have read many books about the NYC mafia, but this is now one of my all-time favorites. Andrew Gross brings history to life with his stories, and I learned so much about some of the actual hit men, police, and lawyers that I had never understand before. I thought I had everything figured out in this story, but I still was surprised at the end.
I had a ton of stuff to get done this week, but almost none of it is done because I could not quit listening to this book. Eduardo Ballerini is one of my favorite readers, and how he can nail so many accents is a mystery to me!
An inspiring and moving book, and I just hated for it to end. But at least now I can get my work finished...

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Truly excellent writing and narration.

I agree with the five-star reviews. This is one of the most enjoyable works that I have listened to in a long time. Edoardo Ballerini has been my favorite living narrator, maybe other than George Guidall, for years. Andrew Gross has also claimed a niche in historical thrillers. The plot has been nicely summarized by the publisher and also by the other Audible readers. Morris is the center of the book, but there are a handful of other characters who are also very vivid. You half-expect to find Jimmy Hoffa in here somewhere. I had no idea that the men who developed the unions in the 20's and 30's were serious gangsters. At this point in time unions seem to me like a benign force, helping their members accumulate power in negotiations for health insurance, pensions, investments and other benefits that those of us who are self-employed pay through the nose for. Anyone who can negotiate with insurance companies has my congratulations. Having been a health care provider for almost fifty years, insurance companies have been the bane of my existence.
Sorry: I get derailed when thinking about that topic. There is violence in the book, and some of it is stretched out for reasons that I don't quite understand. Toward the end, Morris survives an encounter with thugs that makes him seem like he should have a capital S on his uniform. A gunshot wound at close range, several knife wounds also administered at close range, then he is tied up with chains and falls (was pushed) into the East River?! And then he wrestles with a vile gangster, throws off the chains and THEN is able to swim to the next pier? Mr. Gross, you must be kidding.
Thankfully there is little of that. The rest of the book is excellent. Mr. Ballerini is so gifted that Yiddish sounds utterly natural coming out of his mouth. Mr. Guidall is Jewish, and I'm not sure that his Yiddish is as good.
This book will give you many hours of enjoyment. It once again elegantly begs the question: how much of this is fiction and how much is real?

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  • AB
  • 09-30-18

Ten stars for Edoardo Ballerini!

I bought this book because I am a huge fan of Edoardo Ballerini. He is a master at voices and accents. Each character sounds different. He even nails women's voices. I can visualize the emotions on the face of each character. He gives life to each book he reads. But that said, I really enjoyed Button Man for the story and plot itself. Very well written.