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Summary

It's men like Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone who gave Hell's Kitchen its name. In the mid-1970s, these two longtime friends take the reins of New York's Irish mob, using brute force to give it hitherto unthinkable power. Jimmy, a charismatic sociopath, is the leader. Mickey, whose memories of Vietnam torture him daily, is his enforcer. Together they make brutality their trademark, butchering bodies or hurling them out the window. Under their reign, Hell's Kitchen becomes a place where death literally rains from the sky. But when Mickey goes down for a murder he didn't commit, he suspects his friend has sold him out. He returns the favor, breaking the underworld's code of silence and testifying against his gang in open court.

From one of the writers behind NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street comes an incredible true story of what it means to survive in the world of organized crime, where murder is commonplace.

©2006 T. J. English (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about The Westies

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Skip the first chapter!!!

A stunningly-detailed recounting of the rise and fall of The Westies in New York's Hell's Kitchen from the '50s to 1980s.

The write has done his research in astonishingly details, as he is able to recount stories and events that would only be remembered by those who were in the situation at the time.

With a lot of supporting character, English helps you to identify each major player involved without getting too bogged down in explaining who has done what, while also keeping the narrative running.

The only downside is that he reveals the book (and Westies) climax in the first chapter, thereby colouring your view of the whole story. So skip the first chapter if you download this audiobook.

6 people found this helpful

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Great

A real eye opener, I find this kind of crime book so engrossing. I have a bit of a morbid curiosity for mafia history and this didn't disappoint. It did however make me feel a little sick.

4 people found this helpful

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What a book

Excellent listen from start too finish had me on the edge of my seat "bravo"

3 people found this helpful

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get this book

A really well written, well researched book and very enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone

1 person found this helpful

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Great listen

These types of books are often hit and miss but this is one of the good ones. The type of story that has you so interested you start Googling the real life characters to see what they looked like. Recommended.

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Loved this

On so many levels I have enjoyed this book. Educational and really interesting.
Highly recommend and really enjoyed the narrator James Anderson Foster.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good work

great audio book five stars from me.

Very interesting read about the Irish American mob.

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riveting

slow start but then it kicks of with an increditable, well researched , well written and narrated tale of a criminal gang I had never heard of.

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loved it

first audio book absolutely loved it. Would highly recommend this for anyone who likes this genre

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Wow what a story

The best book on the westies there is couldn’t I recommend enough it’s an amazing story

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  • Julio
  • 28-06-18

Great book

Started slow and was a bit confusing to follow all the characters. But ended in a great way. Highly recommend this book for anyone that is into true crime books.

5 people found this helpful

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  • avid reader
  • 29-09-17

Documentary that reads like a novel.

This history of Hell's Kitchen and the Irish immigrants that formed an organized crime dynasty is well told, with great detail, and without politicization. The reader can form their own opinions as the events unfold. I especially like the follow up at the end that gives the reader closure on the participants.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Armstrong
  • 11-09-17

TJ English's best. Love his work.

I really love TJ English's well document, well researched books. The Westies is my new favorite. I visited Hell's Kitchen a few years ago. Now I have to go back with this story fresh in my head. An outstanding crime story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • C.J. Sellers
  • 04-06-19

Good in depth Irish Mob book!

I knew almost nothing about The Westies before this book. It goes from the beginning to the end of the crew with all the details laid out for you. Narration is great and its the perfect length to hold your attention the entire time!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Laurie A. Bobskill
  • 06-07-18

Very good narrator, absorbing true story

If someone were to write this tale as a novel I would not have believed it. incredible research.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis Larocque
  • 28-06-18

incredible

one of the best accounts of old time gangs and gangsters I have ever read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • R. Bayuk
  • 26-04-18

Fascinating story

If you are a fan of non-fiction mafia or organized crime stories, this is a must listen to book. Delivery was good with a true reading of the book. The story was a bit biased towards Mickey but perhaps not undeserving.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Scott A. Medley
  • 29-08-21

Compelling and engaging story (audible version)

This is based off of a true story. All of the events and characters described are real people. But the listener could be forgiven for occasionally mistaking some of these stories for what they see on tv or on Netflix. I myself was caught off guard by some of the casual descriptions of brutality that took place in Hells Kitchen at the time as well as the trust that these violent gangsters had in other people in the community to help cover up their crimes. Now this story does seem to largely take place from the POV of one Mickey Featherstone and is about his journey through the Hells Kitchen Irish Mob so yes you will hear about the history of the Hells Kitchen Irish gangs as well as some information about the infamous Mickey Spillane as well as Jimmy Coonan but this is by large an account of Mickey Featherstone's life and trials. And I have to say it's a very fascinating story and I woudl recommend this to any of my friends and family to read.

As for the overall presentation? Both the author and the narrator go out of their way to create an almost authentic "urban Irish" air about the story. T.J. of course is an expert in the field of organized crime and has written extensively about not just Irish American gangs but also about the Italians, Cubans, etc. . He's proven an invaluable resource for me personally in researching this kind of subject. He also puts a personal touch to his writing, you get the sense that this is a subject that he is very intimate with whether that's from growing up where he's grown up, culture, what have you. James Anderson Foster, I haven't heard of the guy from before this listen, but he seems to be great at portraying the casual pub storyteller in this read. Like he narrates this story in a way I could imagine a 55 year old union electrician telling a story at Lucky's to his nephew over (more than a few) drinks. So very good work there I must say. I'd recommend both of these guys to audible listeners.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joseph Savickas
  • 27-06-21

Fascinating!

The Irish were every bit as violent as their Italian counterparts, maybe even more so!

1 person found this helpful

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  • daniel
  • 21-06-21

frightening

it is just crazy how psychotic individuals like this just walk around executing people with such deference to life and ignorance of the effects!

1 person found this helpful