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Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow
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Billy Bathgate (1989)

by E. L. Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (14)  Finnish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
As a reader opens the pages of "Billy Bathgate" they are taken back to the days of prohibition and notorious gangsters.

One of those famous gangsters wi Dutch Schultz. He befriends Billy and becomes a father-like figure to the fifteen-year-old boy. Shultz who was born in the Bronx in 1901 built his criminal network from bootlegging, gambling and murder.

Billy lives with his mom in a run down area of Lenox Ave and 125th street. He had no father and no direction in life. He comes to idolize Schultz from his power, the way he's revered in the community and by many of New York jet setters.

There are many shady characters in the story. The reader gets to share some of the words of Walter Winchell and hear Schultz's remarks of Thomas E. Dewey.

Schultz has a girlfriend and Billy spends a great deal of time with her she is much of the reason for his sexual awakening.

I enjoyed the story and look back into a time that many of our parents and grandparents enjoyed. Their stories may be gone but in this story, some of the events of that time are brought to life once more.

The characters are well developed and become likable in their own way. It is particularly fun to witness the Jewish Schultz conversion to Catholicism as nears his trial date and he attempts to build a good-guy image. ( )
  mikedraper | Jun 22, 2015 |
Whoa--intense and fast-paced. Typical Doctorow in many ways, especially, I think, in his somewhat limited treatment of female characters, but still I like Doctorow's style and focus on historical fiction. ( )
  AlisonLea | Jan 10, 2015 |
An absolutely brilliant mix of fact and fancy. The story of the downfall of the Dutch Schultz gang as told by a young hanger-on who manages to insinuate himself into the club. Excellent full characterizations, intricate plot and wonderful use of the English language. After reading it, I looked at the real story of Dutch Schultz on Wikipedia. Doctorow did a fabulous job of using the known details and weaving Billy's story into it. Excellent story and writing. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 9, 2014 |
Billy Bathgate features Doctorow's distinctive narrative style at its best, plus a riveting plot and a thought-provoking ending. ( )
  KayMackey | Jan 7, 2014 |
A much better read 20 years later. ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. L. Doctorowprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He had to have planned it because when we drove onto the dock the boat was there and the engine was running and you could see the water churning up phosphorescence in the river, which was the only light there was because there was no moon, nor no electric light either in the shack where the dockmaster should have been sitting, nor on the boat itself, and certainly not from the car, yet everyone knew where everything was, and when the big Packard came down the ramp Mickey the driver braked it so that the wheels hardly rattled the boards, and when he pulled up alongside the gangway the doors were already open and they hustled Bo and the girl upside before they even made a shadow in all that darkness.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394525299, Hardcover)

In the Bronx of the 1930s, 15-year-old Billy Bathgate hooks up with a legendary mobster, Dutch Schultz. Schultz becomes an unlikely surrogate parent to the boy, introducing him to the ways of the world and training Billy to follow in his footsteps. After Billy falls for Schulz's latest girlfriend, he begins to question the actions of the mob he was so eager to join. As he seeks to protect the young woman, he gains strength in following his own heart and makes a courageous passage from boyhood to adulthood. E.L Doctorow won the 1990 PEN/Faulkner Award for this novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The story of Billy Bathgate, a boy who has insinuated himself into the inner circle of the notorious Dutch Schultz gang to become apprentice and protege to one of the great murdering gangsters.

» see all 2 descriptions

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