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Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang

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Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang is a photographic history of one of the most notorious organized crime groups of the 20th century. The photographs chronologically follow the evolution of the Purples from their days as a juvenile street gang through their rise to power and eventual self-destruction. Using rare police department mug shots and group photographs, the book trans Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang is a photographic history of one of the most notorious organized crime groups of the 20th century. The photographs chronologically follow the evolution of the Purples from their days as a juvenile street gang through their rise to power and eventual self-destruction. Using rare police department mug shots and group photographs, the book transports readers through the dark side of Prohibition-era Detroit history. Detroit had a gold rush atmosphere and a thriving black market during the 1920s that attracted gangsters and unsavory characters from all over the country.


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Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang is a photographic history of one of the most notorious organized crime groups of the 20th century. The photographs chronologically follow the evolution of the Purples from their days as a juvenile street gang through their rise to power and eventual self-destruction. Using rare police department mug shots and group photographs, the book trans Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang is a photographic history of one of the most notorious organized crime groups of the 20th century. The photographs chronologically follow the evolution of the Purples from their days as a juvenile street gang through their rise to power and eventual self-destruction. Using rare police department mug shots and group photographs, the book transports readers through the dark side of Prohibition-era Detroit history. Detroit had a gold rush atmosphere and a thriving black market during the 1920s that attracted gangsters and unsavory characters from all over the country.

30 review for Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is a visual revord and historical overview. It doesn't cut deep into history, culture, or circumstances, because that's not what the book is about. Taken for what it is, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Those looking for a deeper reckoning should look elsewhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott DeVogelaere

    Although the information was interesting to someone who only had a passing reference to the Purple Gang growing up, this book is poorly organized and is nothing but a laundry list of mugshots and names involved in the gang. One can easily find a variety of other images online that could have been used to paint a better picture. Additionally, the author misses an opportunity to educate readers about the context and subject more. Much of the information has to be pieced together by captions that o Although the information was interesting to someone who only had a passing reference to the Purple Gang growing up, this book is poorly organized and is nothing but a laundry list of mugshots and names involved in the gang. One can easily find a variety of other images online that could have been used to paint a better picture. Additionally, the author misses an opportunity to educate readers about the context and subject more. Much of the information has to be pieced together by captions that often repeat themselves and only occasionally have new information.

  3. 4 out of 5

    j cannon

    Nice background on the Purple Gang and it's origins Wondered who these guy were and why were they famous. not sure if I got that question answered but still appreciated the insight into a classic organized crime organization with its own youth development program as well ass a junior navy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I expected more context and stories. It was more pictures than stories throughout.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    A quick read about an interesting era, the photos really help.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ren

    Not much detail, writing is dull. Not much detail, writing is dull. I would highly recommend the book "Off Color" by Waugh, instead, for this subject.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elexndra

    Does not mention Gus Nichols......

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Jeffire

    I LOVE Detroit history, and this era is one of my favorites. This book is basically a picture history of one of the most brutal gangs in the history of this country, and it is utterly fascinating. I loved looking at wanted circulars for characters like "Gorilla" Davis, and learned this psychopath was only 5'2" and weighed at most 140 pounds but was one of the most feared men in Detroit. My one criticism is that I wanted to read more along with viewing the pictures. But if you love gangster lore I LOVE Detroit history, and this era is one of my favorites. This book is basically a picture history of one of the most brutal gangs in the history of this country, and it is utterly fascinating. I loved looking at wanted circulars for characters like "Gorilla" Davis, and learned this psychopath was only 5'2" and weighed at most 140 pounds but was one of the most feared men in Detroit. My one criticism is that I wanted to read more along with viewing the pictures. But if you love gangster lore and Motor City history, you've got to pick up a copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Excellent photographic history of Detroit's Purple Gang, a notorious organized crime ring that ran strong during prohibition and later ran labor unions. I wish there was more of a written historical account, but the multitude of photographs kept me locked in.

  10. 5 out of 5

    B

    would of liked a bit more substance, but a great piece for us loyal detroiters.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chriss

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Dean

  13. 4 out of 5

    jon williams

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly Walgreave garverick

  15. 5 out of 5

    david patterson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin W.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dick schultz

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dominick J. Lo Conte

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Ohlrich

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  22. 5 out of 5

    Walt

    Little more than a picture book, it has some excellent pictures of the Detroit underworld

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna Palm

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Isaacs

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Turashoff

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Zivanov

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

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