There is no aspect of early 20th century Los Angeles history that was more important than the influence of mobster and racketeers on the city’s commercial and civic institutions. Ted Schwarz’ Hollywood Confidential is a great source on the history of the entwined and entangled relationships among the mob, both homegrown and the East Coast transplants, the city and the Hollywood studios.

The subtitle says it all: “How the studios beat the mob at their own game.” Schwarz shows that the early 20th century mobsters and movie moguls came up from the same pool recent immigrants, mostly by way of New York City. In the 1930s, when the mob syndicate set its sights on Hollywood, the mobsters they sent to Los Angeles soon realized that, in the moguls who ran the town, they had finally met their match.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

Hollywood Confidential is the first truly in-depth look at the sexy, humorous, violent, and tragic history of the mob in Hollywood from the 1920s, when Joe Kennedy decided to buy a motion picture company, to the 1980s when the last vestiges of mob influence were revealed through investigations of former Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan and his union backers. The revelations continue into the 1980s when the major studios were no longer important, the independents were on the rise, and it was no longer possible to buy, bribe, or blackmail in a meaningful way. There were deals and bad guys, but the mob as it existed was finished in Hollywood.

For more info: Taylor Trade Publishing