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.