Broadway Butterfly: Vivian Gordon: The Lady Gangster of Jazz Age New York (Hardcover)

Broadway Butterfly: Vivian Gordon: The Lady Gangster of Jazz Age New York By Anthony M. DeStefano Cover Image
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The definitive, jaw-dropping account of the Jazz Age con woman, escort, speakeasy owner, and racketeer Vivian Gordon, whose sensational murder – and the damning list of powerful politicos, gangsters, and businessmen left behind in her diary - captivated Prohibition-era New York, obsessed its then-governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ensnared its mayor, and exposed the city’s dark underbelly of police corruption. From Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning mob historian Anthony M. Destefano.

Like so many other pretty butterflies, Indiana-born Vivian Gordon fluttered to New York in 1920 looking for fame and fortune. Before long, the flame-haired chorus girl parlayed her youth, beauty, and ambition into more profitable means as a tough and glamorous symbol of Prohibition-era excess. She was a speakeasy owner, blackmailer, high-end escort, extortionist, racketeer, and con woman. But given her dangerously intimate associations—from ruthless underworld gangsters to corrupt high-ranking city officials—Vivian was also a woman who knew too much and who rightfully feared for her life.

On February 26, 1931, Vivian’s bludgeoned and garroted body was found dumped in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. Now, in the first in-depth biography of its kind, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist Anthony M. DeStefano unravels her tumultuous life and the headline-making murder that became an obsession for many, including then-Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The evidence Vivian left behind was damning: a diary with more than 300 names implicating powerful officials, philanthropists, businessmen, and every major gangland figure in collusion and corruption. The probe eventually resulted in the career-ending investigation of James “Jimmy” Walker, disgraced mayor of New York City. Ultimately, Broadway Butterfly finally finds a place in history for Vivian, a woman with a rare legacy in gangster lore, whose demise was as tragically inevitable as the brutality of the city’s demimonde during Prohibition.

About the Author

Anthony M. DeStefano is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and preeminent mob historian. He has covered organized crime for more than three decades, and his books on the subject include Broadway Butterfly, The Big Heist, Gangland New York, King of the Godfathers, Mob Killer, Top Hoodlum, and Gotti’s Boys. As a reporter specializing in criminal justice and legal affairs for Newsday for the past thirty years, he has covered major crimes and trials, including the Gilgo Beach serial killer, the reputed Gambino crime boss Peter Gotti, former Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino, the so called “Mafia Cops,” Bernard Madoff, and the Happy Land Social Club fire, among others. He lives in New Jersey and can be found online at TonyDeStefano.com.

Praise For…

Praise for Broadway Butterfly

“In Broadway Butterfly, mob expert Tony DeStefano tells the little-known story of Vivian Gordon, one of Prohibition’s most notorious racketeers, who, along with the corrupt cops and politicians of her day, set New York on a crooked path that is often followed today.” —Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy and Casino

Product Details
ISBN: 9780806543147
ISBN-10: 0806543140
Publisher: Citadel
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English