Hol­ly­wood’s Celebri­ty Gang­ster: The Incred­i­ble Life and Times of Mick­ey Cohen

Brad Lewis
  • Review
By – February 20, 2012

Mick­ey Cohen was a hood built for Hol­ly­wood, a ruth­less Jew­ish gang­ster who sought accep­tance among the movie moguls and stars even as he prof­it­ed from their vices. He was,” accord­ing to a quote attrib­uted to jour­nal­ist Peter Noyes, everyone’s ide­al of a gang­ster in this town.” He was also a Zion­ist whose sup­port for the nascent state of Israel may or may not have been invalu­able, but was also cer­tain­ly embar­rass­ing to many people. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Brad Lewis’ new book on Cohen comes up short. Fast and furi­ous, befit­ting its sub­ject, the book is also scat­ter­shot and unfo­cused. There’s inter­est­ing mate­r­i­al through­out (includ­ing all sorts of tid­bits in the volu­mi­nous end­notes), but the pre­sen­ta­tion feels some­what ran­dom. The author seems to be on uncer­tain foot­ing at times, afraid to trust his own research. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, end­notes, index.

David Cohen is a senior edi­tor at Politi­co. He has been in the jour­nal­ism busi­ness since 1985 and wrote the book Rugged and Endur­ing: The Eagles, The Browns and 5 Years of Foot­ball. He resides in Rockville, MD.; his wife, Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen, writes Jew­ish children’s books.

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