Milwaukee is best known for its beer—and rightfully so. But in the days of Prohibition, the big alcohol suppliers were not Miller, Blatz, Schlitz, and Pabst. The Mafia had control, and it made its money by running alcohol as far away as Canada and Indiana, as well as with counterfeiting, the numbers racket, and two of the biggest heists in American history. From then on, the sky was the limit, as the Mafia indulged in extortion, protection rackets, and skimming from Las Vegas casinos. The Cream City had its crooked lawyers, corrupt cops, and even a mayor on the take. There was the blood of those who dared to stand in the syndicate’s way, who were found dead in ditches or as victims of car bombs. The members of the Mafia included doctors, real estate men, restaurateurs, tavern owners, funeral directors, union presidents, and the most famous Milwaukee gangster of all, Frank Balistrieri. While now considered extinct, the Milwaukee Family was once a dominant force in the Midwest.
About the Author
Author Gavin Schmitt has combined his own photographs with those from various historical societies, libraries, archives, and the personal collections of relatives, police officers, and federal agents. Most of the images contained in this book have never before been made public.