Al Capone and His American Boys

Al Capone and His American Boys

Memoirs of a Mobster's Wife
William J Helmer
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/07/2012
Format: Paperback 70 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00969-2
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Silver Medal, True Crime category, 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards2012 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

When her husband was murdered on the orders of Chicago mobster Frank Nitti, Georgette Winkeler—wife of one of Al Capone's "American Boys"—set out to expose the Chicago Syndicate. After an attempt to publish her story was squelched by the mob, she offered it to the FBI in the mistaken belief that they had the authority to strike at the racketeers who had killed her husband Gus. Discovered 60 years later in FBI files, the manuscript describes the couple’s life on the run, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Gus was one of the shooters), and other headline crimes of that period. Prepared for publication by mob expert William J. Helmer, Al Capone and His American Boys is a compelling contemporary account of the heyday of Chicago crime by a woman who found herself married to the mob.

Author Bio

William J. Helmer is author (with G. Russell Girardin) of Dillinger: The Untold Story (IUP, 1994) and The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar as well as other books on the gangland era.


“Upon her mobster husband's murder, Georgette Winkeler tried to expose the Chicago Syndicate and failed. 60 years later, this compelling contemporary account of the heyday of Chicago crime emerged from FBI files.”

“Helmer delights history buffs once more with his research and inimitable style, bringing us the memoirs of a primo gangster's moll. Hers is a first-hand account of being married to one of Al Capone's travelling psycho-circus of killers called the 'American boys' who moved from St. Louis to Chicago to live the gritty gangland life of the Roaring Twenties.”
 — Mario Gomes,

“Deemed too hot by its publisher in 1934, this incredible and revealing story sheds new light on major crimes, including the St. Valentine's Day Massacre—the defining moment that cemented Chicago's reputation as a city of criminal mayhem. . . . A candid look at the era of Capone, Frank Nitti, Georgette’s husband Gus, and a group of Public Enemies who continue to fascinate a new generation of readers.”
 — Richard C. Lindberg, author of The Gambler King of Clark Street: Michael C. McDonald and the Rise of Chicago's Democratic

“Al Capone and His American Boys is more than just fascinating history—it's built on the human interest element of living a gangster's life. ”

“Al Capone and his American Boys is highly recommended for those interested in an insider's view of the major criminal events of the Gangster Era. ”
 — Informer

“This is not another Capone book; he is but a tangential figure in this fascinating account. . . . For true crime and gangster story fans. May 15, 2011”
 — Library Journal

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Table of Contents

Foreword by John Winkeler
Foreword by Rose Keefe
About This Book
A Note on Georgette and Gus Winkeler
"A Voice from the Grave": The Memoir of Georgette Winkeler
1. The Seventh Child
2. "For Better or for Worse"
3. Heist Guy--Egan's Rats and the Cuckoo Gang
4. The Bad Pennies
5. Affairs with the Police
6. Fugitives on the Lam
7. Workhouse Widow
8. Gratitude--and Murder
9. Flight from St. Louis
10. Meet Al Capone
11. The Toledo Killing
12. Frankie Yale
13. Murphy's Tough Skull
14. The St. Valentine Day Massacre
15. Hiding Out
16. On the Run
17. "Killer" Burke and the Policeman's Murder
18. New Face and New Fingerprints
19. "Killer" Burke on the Lam
20. The Car Crash
21. Capone to the Rescue
22. The Greatest Bank Robbery
23. Chicago's "Secret Six"
24. Enter Father Dwyer
25. The Shooting of Frank Nitti
26. Nitti's Revenge
27. "The Informer"
28. The Boom Days
29. A Promise Kept
30. Gus and the Planted Gun
31. Legal Beer at Last
32. Gus Winkeler and the New North Side
33. The Kansas City Massacre
34. Gus and the "Miller Massacre"
35. Beginning of the End
36. The Syndicate Closes In
37. The Police Called It Suicide
38. "They've Taken Him to the Morgue"
39. Gus Goes Home
40. Who Killed My Husband?
41. The Widow and Her World
42. "The Gas Lisped Its Song of Death"
43. Rebirth and Revenge
44. End of the Empire
45. "Do You See This Gun?"
46. Confronting the Mob
47. On the Spot
48. Resolution
Georgette Talks to the FBI
Biographies and Historical Notes

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