Tong wars : the untold story of vice, money, and murder in New York's Chinatown (Book, 2016) [WorldCat.org]
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Tong wars : the untold story of vice, money, and murder in New York's Chinatown

Author: Scott D Seligman
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2016.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Reading like a true-crime novel, this history of the vice district and gang wars of New York's Chinatown from the 1890s through the 1930s describes the widespread fight to control the district's gambling, opium and prostitution, "--NoveList.
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Genre/Form: True crime stories
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Seligman, Scott D.
Tong wars.
New York : Viking, 2016
(DLC) 2016031896
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Scott D Seligman
ISBN: 9780399562273 0399562273
OCLC Number: 953062993
Description: xxvi, 340 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Contents: An "army of almond-eyed exiles" --
The gamblers' union --
"A clear case of corruption" --
The Chinese Parkhursts --
The war begins --
"A regular highbinder, six-shooter war dance on the Bowery" --
A price on Tom Lee's head --
The Chinese Theatre massacre --
Profit sharing --
Have gun, will travel --
The four brothers' war --
Mock Duck's luck runs out --
Chinatown: renovated, disinfected, and evacuated --
The defection of Chin Jack Lem --
Coexistence --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Scott D. Seligman.

Abstract:

"Reading like a true-crime novel, this history of the vice district and gang wars of New York's Chinatown from the 1890s through the 1930s describes the widespread fight to control the district's gambling, opium and prostitution, "--NoveList.

Nothing had worked--not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors and opium dens, not house-to-house searches or throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. The New York district attorney was running out of ideas, and more people were dying every day as the tong men's weapons of choice evolved from hatchets and meat cleavers to pistols, automatic weapons, and even bombs. Welcome to New York City's Chinatown in 1925. The Chinese in turn-of-the-last-century New York were mostly immigrant peasants and shopkeepers making an honest living as laundrymen, cigar makers, and domestics. They gravitated to lower Manhattan and lived as Chinese an existence as possible, their few diversions--gambling, opium, and prostitution--available but illegal, even in the moral cesspool of greed and corruption that was New York. In a city where officials from rookie cops to aldermen were on the take, it wasn't long before a few resourceful merchants saw an opportunity to feather their nests by positioning themselves squarely between the vice dens and the police charged with shutting them down. Set in the Tammany Hall era, this true tale centers on two Chinese tongs (secret brotherhoods), formed to support their countrymen in a society that offered them mainly discrimination and abuse, but quickly seduced by opportunities to corner the various markets of sin. As one of them began taxing the vice dens and paying off the easily bribable authorities, the other, eager for a piece of the action, co-opted a local reformist group to foil its competitors. Soon Chinese were slaughtering one another in the streets in a succession of ruthless gang wars that raged for the next three decades. Scott Seligman paints an intricate portrait of early twentieth-century New York City, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to do-gooders, judges, prosecutors, cops, and pols of every stripe. --Adapted from dust jacket.

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