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Americas best known gangster Alphonse Capone was the overlord of a vast criminal empire responsible for the rampant lawlessness and massive corruption plaguing Chicago during the 1920s Prohibition Era At the same time Al Capones fame and colorful personality captured the hearts and minds of the public and press transforming himself into a mythic folk hero He was admired for his defiance of the law his rags to riches climb to fame his wealth his power and his generosity But this immaculate image many bought into was not the true reality Al Capone was brutal and violent in nature and did not hesitate to commit murder and mayhem whenever he thought necessary Upon close examination of his life especially the time before he was born up to and including his teenage years one can only ponder why more Al Capones had not evolved Al Capone was born on January 17 1899 in Brooklyn New York His Italian heritage formed molded and influenced every aspect of his life and career even before he was born Al Capones family was from Naples Italy a capital which changed power many times over the past two thousand years During the eighteenth century alone Naples was controlled by the Greeks Romans Austrians Spaniards and French at one time or another The centuries of rulers coming and going cynically exploiting the region and then carelessly abandoning it had a profound effect on the Neapolitans and Southern Italian consciousnessNeapolitans tended to be antipapist antimonarchist antiauthoritarian Bergreen 24 This atmosphere provided a perfect place for organized crime to thrive The Camorra an organized crime faction originated in the Naples prison as a force for order The Camorra controlled the streets the police and the local government A direct parallel can be established between Naples and Chicago in 1921 Chicago had a large working-class population that supported semilegitimate criminal societies working hand in glove with a corrupt local government Bergreen 26 In fact the
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