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“Queer Joints, Wiseguys and G-Men” is a collection of posts from the author’s now-deleted blog “Friends of Ours”.
“Queer Joints, Wiseguys and G-Men” is a collection of posts from the author’s now-deleted blog “Friends of Ours,” and involves gay bars, Italian mobsters and FBI agents and their crossing paths during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Included among them are the following tales: Baltimore mayor Tommy D’Alesandro – the father of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – had Mafia ties, and provided protection for the vice rackets; FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ignored an early warning about the Mafia Commission which allowed organized crime to spread; Texas mayor Sam Hoover was a mob associate who ran a burglary crew of teen boys which doubled as his stud stable; and Jack Ruby had extensive ties to the gay scene – and may have been homosexual – which the FBI investigated after he shot JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The book also includes gay bar hopping adventures across the country during this pre-Stonewall era compiled from FBI files which had identified “notorious places of amusement.”
WARNING: This review is heavily tainted with the impact this book had on me personally and has many spoilers and political commentary which everyone may not agree with.
Queer Joints, Wiseguys and G-Men (2019) is a collection of stories from Phillip Crawford Jr.‘s now-deleted blog “Friends of Ours”.
The above sentence is a tame introduction to this book as I was enthralled just reading the Introduction to this book. I love history and this is yet another facet into gay history that I did not know about and I found just as fascinating as if it was happening today instead of years ago.
It does not change my opinion of Nancy Pelosi to know the history of her father that apparently everyone else does, but I do want to know who her campaign manager is as I do not know how she got elected between her father and brother.
I can imagine the horror, even if it was thirty years later, that Crawford was printing addresses of mobsters homes in his blogs which I think as a reporter is just awesome. As I was reading it made me want to go to these houses and apartments and see if they are on a tour.
It is amazing to me that over and over again for over twenty years information was given to various Presidents and to Hoover and the Mafia was not “officially” recognized until the 1950s. The reports range from ice cream shops, to cheese shops, to laundry and oddly enough a huge gay scene in Texas in the 1950s. I say oddly because I have lived in Texas and in the 1990s I still had to go to a bar outside of the base with a red light outside of it to show that it was a gay bar. So I was amazed by this section of the book and the knowledge of the gay scene and how it was utilized for crime and all of the young men exploited and how they must feel today.
People always talk about women in being used in prostitution, but there is not much talk about gay men or the young men who are questioning whose choices due to circumstances they feel are taken away from them. I just wanted to hug all the boys as I was reading this section thinking of all of the damage done.
This is a short book to read for the amount of history it imparts and I recommend it – even if you just keep it in the bathroom or read it on the bus on the way to work. Read it a chapter at a time. It has something for everyone even if you are not part of the rainbow community. It shows how government works and how we keep making the same mistakes and that the issues we are having today are not new – we really are just repeating the past.
Attorney Crawford if you ever want to sit down and chat, the coffee is on me because I have questions. I loved this book. I have sat for many hours at a microfiche machine reading newspapers to find out just what the weather was for a particular day so that my story rings true or to get information for a client so I can imagine the work that went into your blog and I salute you.
I received this book in a giveaway and it is truly a gift. Thank you.
I received this book for free in a Goodreads Giveaway and give my opinion without prejudice and voluntarily.
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Phillip Crawford Jr.
Phillip Crawford Jr. is a retired attorney from the New York bar.
He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine from which he graduated with a B.A. in English in 1985. At Bates he was President of the Gay-Straight Alliance in 1983, and spearheaded a campaign to oust military recruiters from the campus for their discriminatory policies against the LGBT community.
Following college Phillip attended George Washington University Law School where he was a Notes Editor for the Law Review. After graduating with highest honors as class salutatorian in 1988 he clerked for Chief Judge Judith W. Rogers on the D.C. Court of Appeals, and then with Judge George H. Revercomb on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He practiced law for fifteen years in New York City including several years with the plaintiffs’ class action bar, and then retired after exposing his concerns about billing practices. Professor Lester Brickman characterized him in Lawyer Barons as a “whistle blower.”
Crawford was interviewed for VICE about his first book The Mafia and the Gays. Culture Trip includes the book on its list of 10 Books About the Mafia You Need to Read as “a surprising but essential history of the mob’s control over New York’s gay club scene well into the 1980s,” and Cosa Nostra News says it is “a worthy addition to your library of books about the Mafia.” The History Channel website cited The Mafia and the Gays in its excellent overview of the historic role of organized crime in LGBT nightlife, and Professor Marc Stein included the book among “Suggestions for Additional Reading” in his newly-released The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History.
Crawford’s second book Railroaded: The Homophobic Prosecution of Brandon Woodruff for His Parents’ Murders has been featured by OutSmart Magazine, South Florida Gay News, and Dallas Voice. Brandon Woodruff’s defense counsel stated “Mr. Crawford has done an excellent job of setting forth facts—not speculation or prejudice—that show Brandon Woodruff is innocent.”
His most recent book is “Queer Joints, Wiseguys and G-Men.”
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*PR is not offering this giveaway – just sharing the information.
***Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Goodreads.
Editor’s Note: previously published on PRW on 1 May 2019. Edited with updated content & PR standard formatting on 20 March 2020.
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