Button Man: Andrew Gross
Worlds collide and live change when a father dies and a family has to ban together to help a mother. Morris sol and Harold are brothers each with their own goals and desires. Morris business oriented at the age of 12 where sol went to college and became an accountant. Harry took a dangerous path to success forming a bond with well-known mobsters.
Morris is an astute businessman even as a teen and he takes on learning to be a marker and followed Me. Beck asking questions and creating what was expected. When the owners retired be bought the company and became well known in the garment industry with his brother Sol to keep the Books. But, Harry was affiliated with the same mobster that bullied Morris as a kid. Things get tense in his family especially when he’s out on a date with a girl named Ruthie and we begin to sees signs of discord in his family relationships.
Morris and Ruthie seem compatible but she feels he might be uneducated and not well read until she turns him on to Charles Dickens and things change. But, Harold is entrenched in the world of the mobsters and the things change when Morris takes the samples and gets jobs himself worth thousands.
The garment industry changed when unions took over but even though they fought for their members the mob was out to destroy Amalgamated needle workers union and when they refused to be taken over they destroyed the company and injured the members and killed the president. When Morris approaches Louis Buchalter the head of the New International Fur Dressers Protective. Any opposition was dealt with and dissenting was eliminated. Abe Langer the head of amalgamated needle workers union paid the ultimate price for daring to speak up against these thugs.
Threats are made and Lepke as Buchalter wants to be called is going after Morris and his brother Harry.
Thomas Dewey is heading a task force to rid the city of organized crime but first he has to known the players.
Threats were made and more were hurt as Morris’s close friend is in the hospital and Buchalter sent someone to convince him to join his union to protect his business and workers. Thomas Dewey sent someone to ask him to testify against these mobsters and he declined.
All bets are off and the danger is imminent as Harry now joined Raab Brothers and the mob is convinced that Morris will have no choice but to join him as Author Andrew Gross allows readers to hear his thoughts, fears and regrets.
Morris and sol meet with Cynthia Haddad setting the terms for their working with the Amalgamated Needle Trade Workers and Fur Dressers Protective and would now have to pay protection and a certain amount each month in order to stay alive. But would he sign the agreement?
Families would split and a fire would take away it all as a strong message was sent and now Morris had to decide in which direction to go. A traitor in his own family and another deciding no more, Morris was now on his own and the new commission was out to bust Dutch Schulz, Lepke, Luciano and the rest.
Can Morris stand the pressure of starting over? His family ties have severed as one member went against what he promised and another decided to take a different path? How do you deal with the Mob and their henchmen? Why did he decide to override their wishes and why did he mother disagree with his choices? A family that was once close learned the hardships of strife and the devastation caused when the police, the fire department and government officials were paid off to turn a blind eye as author Andrew Gross reminds us of this time period when corruption in the police and other government agencies was high and payoffs spoke. When Morris’s warehouse burned down and was destroyed why did the Detective in charge and the Fire Captain say it was not arson? Why would they not even investigate and who was supposed to guard the place and keep it locked up?
Charles Workman is the button man for Lepke and a hired killer but a low ranking member of the crime syndicate. But when Mendy Weiss and Charlie show up at the palace steak chophouse it’s not the food that’s hot on the grill but the burning gunfire that takes out some known gangsters and Harry becomes part of becoming in his mind a true Button Man.
But Harry decided to get roped into doing a job for Mendy and never realizes that the lookout man driving the getaway car might also be a fall guy.
Lives end and once again a family is at odds and Morris realizes its time to join forces with Dewey and his old friend Irving Weschler the assistant special prosecutor.
When the mob decides to enact their own form of justice Morris realizes that he needs to make a decision that would either destroy what’s left of his family or change the outlook for his industry. Now longer in coats but created a dress manufacturing company named for his newborn daughter, Morris needs to forge ahead but what will the outcome be?
The final face off will destroy another family and Morris’s life will hang in the balance. When the murder incorporated decides on a hit anyone live to talk about it? Special Prosecutor Dewey grilled many whose allegiance was to the mob and some who dared to oppose them. Based on the life of the author’s grandfather and his own experiences in the garment industry, author Andrew Gross takes us back in time when union leaders used brute force when clients dared to not pay up and the police and government officials turned a blind eye as men that completed their “work” as they called it low ranking members of mobs called like Mendy and Charles: A Button Man.
The final reveal and the fate of some many will be told as the Epilogue will bring tears to the eyes of readers as Morris reflects on his entire life and words that no one would expect him to ever say are finally spoken. Characters that are strong, true to life and a story that had to be told. Button Man is one book that everyone must read to understand the history behind the garment industry and how unions became so powerful and the fear of not being able to protect their own workers as owners came to light for so many. Once again author Andrew Gross created a story so heartbreaking, so heartfelt and so true to life.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine/MJ network