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(Lyons Press 2017) 

Gangsters have played a shady role in shaping Greater Boston’s history. While lurking in local restaurants or just around the corner inside that inconspicuous building, countless criminals have quietly made their mark on the city and surrounding communities. Packed with photos, Gangland Boston reveals the hidden history of these places, bringing readers back in time to when the North End was wrought with gun violence, Hanover Street was known as a “shooting gallery,” and guys named King Solomon, Beano Breen, and Mickey the Wiseguy ruled the underworld.

Drawing upon years of research and an extensive collection of rare photographs, author Emily Sweeney sheds light on how gang violence unfolded during Prohibition, how the Italian mafia rose to power, and how the Gustin Gang came to be. She also uncovers little-known facts about well-known crime figures (Did you know the leader of the Gustin Gang was an Olympic athlete? Or that a fellowship at a major university was named after a big-time bookie?)
From South Boston to Somerville, Chinatown to Charlestown, and every neighborhood in between, readers will get to know mobsters in ways they never have before. 

Readers will find out:

* Exact addresses where mobsters lived, worked, and played around Greater Boston
* How an Olympic athlete became one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters
* The untold history of the Gustin Gang
* Frank Sinatra’s connection to a long-forgotten Massachusetts racetrack
* Little-known facts about David “Beano” Breen, Charles “King” Solomon, Harry “Doc” Sagansky, Raymond L.S. Patriarca, and other legendary crime figures



(Arcadia Publishing 2012)

Boston Organized Crime features historic crime scene photographs and rare mug shots, many of which have never been published before. 

Press reviews of Boston Organized Crime

“...it's a really fun book.... I recommend it highly."
                                                                               -- Howie Carr  

“Boston Organized Crime showcases vivid and hard-to-find shots fit to hurtle readers back in time.”

“... a must-have for history buffs, organized crime historians and anyone interested in law enforcement and underworld figures and events that helped shape Greater Boston as it is today.”


Boston has had its share of bookies and loan sharks, gangsters and wiseguys, hoodlums and hit men. From the Great Brink’s Robbery, which was hailed as the crime of the century; to the long-forgotten Cotton Club in Roxbury, where the legendary nightlife kingpin Charlie “King” Solomon was gunned down; to the infamous Blackfriars Massacre, a brutal gangland slaying that left five men dead, slumped over a backgammon game in a cramped basement office—all of these dark moments in time are a part of Boston’s history that is rarely spoken about.

Boston Organized Crime  explores the region’s shadier side and takes a closer look at the mobsters and racketeers who once operated in the Greater Boston area. Drawing upon an eclectic collection of crime scene photographs, mug shots, and police documents, author Emily Sweeney takes readers on an eye-opening journey through Boston’s underworld, from the bootlegging days of Prohibition to the bloody gangland wars of the 1960s.

Boston Organized Crime is an illustrated history of organized crime in The Hub. It features over 100 pages of rare crime scene photographs and mug shots, many of which have never been published before. 


Emily Sweeney is an award-winning journalist who researched and wrote “Greatest Hits: A Mob Tour of Boston” for the Boston Globe. Sweeney is also featured as a guest commentator in "Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie, and The Departed," a documentary film about organized crime in South Boston. Sweeney is from Dorchester, Mass. and her knowledge of the city and its history runs deep.  She has been a staff writer at the Boston Globe since 2001.