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Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter

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A tough kid with a heart of gold, Al "Bummy" Davis grew up in the streets of Brownsville, New York on the fringes of the Jewish mob during the 20's and 30's-thanks to his older brother, a feared racketeer. But as much as he resisted the underworld of Murder, Inc. by becoming a championship fighter and a Brownsville hero, he never did escape the Jewish Mob's shadow. Though A tough kid with a heart of gold, Al "Bummy" Davis grew up in the streets of Brownsville, New York on the fringes of the Jewish mob during the 20's and 30's-thanks to his older brother, a feared racketeer. But as much as he resisted the underworld of Murder, Inc. by becoming a championship fighter and a Brownsville hero, he never did escape the Jewish Mob's shadow. Though he repeatedly stood up to mob kingpins, Bummy suffered a spectacular fall from grace as a result of a smear campaign by the press. Ron Ross' Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. is not just about one Jewish boxer, his meteoric rise to fame, and victimization by the press. Bummy's life was intertwined with the Great Depression, the survival of the Brooklyn Jewish immigrant population during Prohibition, and the inevitable offshoot of Prohibition-Murder Inc., one of American history's most notorious band of killers. Ron Ross portrays an important historical time period, an enigmatic Jewish subculture, and the surprising juxtaposition of a generation of Jews and their talent for boxing. Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. features a cast of colorful villains whom you'll love to hate, a boxing legend who was the unwitting pawn of fate, and the human drama of the boxing world. With his vivid, street-smart Damon Runyonesque writing style, Ron Ross redeems a tragic hero who fought the pull of one of the most brutal groups of killers to grace the twentieth century.


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A tough kid with a heart of gold, Al "Bummy" Davis grew up in the streets of Brownsville, New York on the fringes of the Jewish mob during the 20's and 30's-thanks to his older brother, a feared racketeer. But as much as he resisted the underworld of Murder, Inc. by becoming a championship fighter and a Brownsville hero, he never did escape the Jewish Mob's shadow. Though A tough kid with a heart of gold, Al "Bummy" Davis grew up in the streets of Brownsville, New York on the fringes of the Jewish mob during the 20's and 30's-thanks to his older brother, a feared racketeer. But as much as he resisted the underworld of Murder, Inc. by becoming a championship fighter and a Brownsville hero, he never did escape the Jewish Mob's shadow. Though he repeatedly stood up to mob kingpins, Bummy suffered a spectacular fall from grace as a result of a smear campaign by the press. Ron Ross' Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. is not just about one Jewish boxer, his meteoric rise to fame, and victimization by the press. Bummy's life was intertwined with the Great Depression, the survival of the Brooklyn Jewish immigrant population during Prohibition, and the inevitable offshoot of Prohibition-Murder Inc., one of American history's most notorious band of killers. Ron Ross portrays an important historical time period, an enigmatic Jewish subculture, and the surprising juxtaposition of a generation of Jews and their talent for boxing. Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc. features a cast of colorful villains whom you'll love to hate, a boxing legend who was the unwitting pawn of fate, and the human drama of the boxing world. With his vivid, street-smart Damon Runyonesque writing style, Ron Ross redeems a tragic hero who fought the pull of one of the most brutal groups of killers to grace the twentieth century.

46 review for Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Denali

    I should have liked this more. I really should have. The book is written as a series of snapshots and anecdotes from the perspectives of different Brownsville residents but Ross is just not a strong enough writer to pull it off. It comes off as gimmicky and irritating and I feel terrible for typing that b/c this book has a good heart. The story itself is a great one or rather two great ones-- there's lots of crossover in the story of Bummy Davis and the story of Murder, Inc. but they're not put I should have liked this more. I really should have. The book is written as a series of snapshots and anecdotes from the perspectives of different Brownsville residents but Ross is just not a strong enough writer to pull it off. It comes off as gimmicky and irritating and I feel terrible for typing that b/c this book has a good heart. The story itself is a great one or rather two great ones-- there's lots of crossover in the story of Bummy Davis and the story of Murder, Inc. but they're not put together in a particularly coherent way. The epilogue has some updates on what happened to various characters after the main action of the story and in the few places that Ross quotes them directly they capture Davis, depression and ww2 era brownsville and boxing in the kind of fascinating and funny way this whole book should have been written.

  2. 4 out of 5

    M. Newman

    This is more than a boxing book, more than a crime book and more than a book about Jewish culture. This story about a Jewish fighter from Brownsville, Brooklyn in the 1920's and 30's is a powerful novel of social history filled with fascinating characters, action and drama that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. What added to my enjoyment was that I could identify, being a Jewish kid from Brownsville, myself; and although the story took place 20-30 years before my birth, I recognized ma This is more than a boxing book, more than a crime book and more than a book about Jewish culture. This story about a Jewish fighter from Brownsville, Brooklyn in the 1920's and 30's is a powerful novel of social history filled with fascinating characters, action and drama that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. What added to my enjoyment was that I could identify, being a Jewish kid from Brownsville, myself; and although the story took place 20-30 years before my birth, I recognized many neighborhood references and landmarks.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ogborn

    This book will last long in my memory. Half biography/ half imagined fiction, it combines two of my favourites interests in boxing and New York through the 20th century. The characters are a joy to behold, the Jewish family dialogue and wise guy banter both hit the spot superbly. I will revisit this again in the future, something I rarely do. It's that good. This book will last long in my memory. Half biography/ half imagined fiction, it combines two of my favourites interests in boxing and New York through the 20th century. The characters are a joy to behold, the Jewish family dialogue and wise guy banter both hit the spot superbly. I will revisit this again in the future, something I rarely do. It's that good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bill Varon

    Good history lesson about the sport of boxing in the early 1900's, about the Italians and Jews, about Murder, Inc., and about the tragedy of always doing the right thing when it really counts. Good history lesson about the sport of boxing in the early 1900's, about the Italians and Jews, about Murder, Inc., and about the tragedy of always doing the right thing when it really counts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lenny

    Excellent portrayal of a one of a kind individual, living in and through extraordinary times in Brownsville,N.Y. One of the best biography's I ever read. Excellent portrayal of a one of a kind individual, living in and through extraordinary times in Brownsville,N.Y. One of the best biography's I ever read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Meltzer

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Namm

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Benigno

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lavie Margolin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chaim Gillig

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard Seitchick

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phil Rice

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Gillette

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jarrod

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erik L

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan Rossano

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bob Zecker

    reading it now. Brooklyn and the Jewish mob circa 1930s. Fabulous.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Marks

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Feder

  25. 5 out of 5

    C. Hall

  26. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  27. 4 out of 5

    A. Cari

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan Ross

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ross

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  31. 4 out of 5

    Scott Warheit

  32. 5 out of 5

    John Ramsey

  33. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Ammon

  34. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  35. 5 out of 5

    michael

  36. 5 out of 5

    Shandra

  37. 4 out of 5

    Michael Rizzo

  38. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Marks

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  40. 5 out of 5

    John Goen

  41. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  42. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

  44. 5 out of 5

    Brett Willner

  45. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  46. 4 out of 5

    Glen Russell Slater

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