Tereba, Tere. Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster
Booklist Reviews 2012 April #2
He hung out with people like Bugsy Siegel, Nick the Greek, Frank Sinatra, and Candy Barr. Ben Hecht wrote about him. Robert F. Kennedy went after him. Nikita Khrushchev complained that gangsters like him prevented him from visiting Disneyland. Mickey Cohen was at the epicenter of criminal Los Angeles in the 1950s and '60s, and there was something charismatic and charming about the tiny (five-foot-five) Russian Jew who hailed from a Jewish ghetto in Brooklyn, got his swagger in Cleveland fight clubs, and inherited Siegel's L.A. when Bugsy was murdered. Tereba brings the bantamweight crook back to vivid life in this biography, along with the night clubs and race tracks he frequented and the no-holds-barred L.A. in which he flourished. This is a remarkable biography, in that Tereba takes a long-gone, mostly forgotten criminal and through her lively re-creation of the '20s and '30s, the decades in which Cohen was formed, and the later years when he ruled, makes you care. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2012 May #1
Fedoras, tommy guns, and brutal public assaults are the province of the silver screen, but they were at one time a fixture of Hollywood life. Journalist and fashion designer Tereba's biography of Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen (1913–76) sets out to reveal the true story behind the glitzy legends and traces Cohen's influence through Tinseltown and beyond. The number of people in Cohen's life was so great that Tereba includes a "cast of characters," not seen for this review. Although the writing sometimes veers into film noir territory, it's hard not to get caught up in the descriptions of the opulent lifestyle maintained by the gangster and his cronies, despite the heavy toll it took on them, financially and physically. Cohen's personal habits and predilections are given particular attention, and the author channels Cohen's calm when recounting explosions, beatings, and the burials of bodies in lye. VERDICT For readers who revel in old movies, stories about gangsters in double-breasted suits, and midcentury Los Angeles. Recommended.—Kate Sheehan, Bibliomation, Middlebury, CT[Page 88]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.