New Book On Jewish Mobster Alex Shondor Birns By Rick Porrello Available

By Nick Christophers

There are a few underworld characters that seldom receive the spotlight that they deserve for historical purposes. Author / Mob historian, Rick Porrello, sheds the light on one such mobster in his new book “Bombs, Bullets, & Bribes The True Story of Notorious Jewish Mobster Alex Shondor Birns”.

Rick who runs the blog is an expert on the landscape of the Cleveland mafia and all its elements. This is his fourth book the others being “The Rise & Fall of the Cleveland Mafia”, “Super Thief – A Master Burglar, the Mafia & the Biggest Bank Heist in NY History” and “To Kill the Irishman” (which was made into a major motion picture). The latter was a prerequisite to the recent novel since it gave us a glimpse of Shondor Birns.

In the film “To Kill the Irishman” Chirstopher Walken played Birns perfectly. The film was actually the story of the tough Irish gangster Danny Greene who stood up to the mob and Birns. It is one of the few mob projects that are very accurate. It is also starred Paul Sorvino (Tony Salerno), Vincent D’Onofrio (John Nardi), the late Vinny Vella (Frank Brancato) and Ray Stevenson (Danny Green). Rick for many years was a police chief and an avid drummer. He played drums internationally with Sammy Davis Jr at eighteen years old. Rick decided to swap his skins for a badge and led a 33 year career in the force.

He soon became a mob historian after learning that his family had roots in organized crime. His grandfather and three uncles were killed during gang wars in the 40’s. He did some major researching into their demise and composed his first book “The Rise & Fall of the Cleveland Mafia”. Rick became immersed in the genre and released the other three soon after. His recent project is an eye-opening look into the life and times of Alex Shondor Birns who was one of the few Jewish gangsters who had a significant role in the Cleveland underworld.

As Rick explained in the book Birns was the one of the very few who was continuously arrested but never prosecuted. Birns was constantly harassed by police who were dying to put him away for any type of infraction. Rick also offers us the many sides of Birn’s life from love interests to his knack of working with any ethnic group as long as there was money to be made. Birns was a womanizer who could not get enough of ladies much younger than himself, yet even that back-fired eventually as did his illicit dealings with the black gangsters of Cleveland.

Rick paints a vivid picture of Birns’s life from a poor upbringing to becoming one of the richest gangsters in Cleveland. Unlike most other historically based mob books Rick manages to offer us the human side of Birns. Gangster that he was he somehow had a softer side of him that was charitable when it suited him. For example, Birns looked after his sick father till he passed on. The book details all the elements of Birns’ knack of re-inventing himself and finding new ways of profiting in the illicit affairs of the street.

The book is not written in an editorial fashion but more organic and flows from one action packed page till the next. As a mob genre author myself, I would strongly recommend this fast moving historical book on the life and times of Alex Shondor Birns. You won’t be disappointed.