(Image courtesy Boston Organized Crime/National Archives and Records Administration)
Globe reporter, author, and local mob history buff Emily Sweeney will be filling in residents of Dorchester on the seedy underbelly of Boston Wednesday night at the Adams Street Library.
Sweeney, who recently finished writing her book “Boston Organized Crime,” will discuss what she found while researching her look at organized crime in the city and surrounding municipalities.
“This book was an incredibly interesting research project to take on,” said Sweeney, a native of Dorchester. “I was surprised to learn how many guys involved in organized crime were from Dorchester. As a native it was really interesting to see how connected the neighborhood was.”
But while Sweeney, who grew up in Fields Corner and is a Boston Latin alum, was able to dig up the dirt on some of Dorchester’s most infamous residents, she was also able to find stories and myths that have long been forgotten.
With tales about some of the most notorious murders and crimes in Boston, Sweeney aimed to show a side of the city that often isn’t captured by the movies and overlooked by historians.
“As a Bostonian and native of Dorchester is was great to be able to research and learn so much about a strange and underreported part of our history,” said Sweeney.
“All I knew when I was writing this was that a lot of people have relatives who were connected. I wanted to present the book in a respectful and accurate manner,” said Sweeney. “Once in a while I do get approached by someone who will say ‘oh that’s my uncle you wrote about’.”
Many long time residents of Boston may find a long-forgotten connection to a mobster in the city.
“Right now one of my uncles might have found a possible connection between my family and a mobster,” said Sweeney. “So he’s looking into it but unfortunately we didn’t find it till after the book was published.”
Sweeney will lead a discussion at the Adams Street Library starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night. The event is free and open to all and books will be available for sale.
If you miss Sweeney Wednesday night, she will also hold a book signing May 12 at Sugar Bowl on Dorchester Avenue from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
For more information about Sweeney and all of her work, click here.
For more information about the book "Boston Organized Crime", click here.
Below is an excerpt from the introduction of her book “Boston Organized Crime”:
"Boston has long been a hub for organized crime in New England. Of course, criminals aren’t confined by municipal boundary lines. Many gangsters who ruled Boston’s streets retreated to quiet, tree-lined roads and big mansions in tony suburbs to get their sleep. Around Boston’s periphery, nearby cities like Revere and Somerville had cultivated their own homegrown gangs and underworld networks. As Revere Police Chief Philip Gallo told the Boston Globe in 1967, loan sharks were coming out to Revere to party “because this is where the action is. Revere isn’t a bedroom town. We can’t put a fence around the place and say ‘stay out.’”
So the title of this book – Boston Organized Crime - is slightly misleading. It actually covers a much larger geography. These photographs provide a glimpse into the shady corners and back alleys all over the Greater Boston area – places where deals were made, alliances were broken, and people were executed in cold blood."