Two things I didn’t know about Al Capone

By Perry Willis

Words: 301

Al Capone looms large in the history of American crime, prohibition, and the 1920s. If you had asked me, I would have assumed his career lasted for most of that decade. And yet, not so!

The always entertaining Bill Bryson set me straight in his charming book One Summer, America, 1927. Indeed, Bryson taught me two news things about Capone that startled me, and since I offer myself as a curator of interesting facts and insights, I’m sharing those two stunning factoids with you here…

The first new thing I learned about Al Capone

He actually had a very short career as a top gangster. He didn’t become the boss until the spring of 1925 and he was all washed up by the end of 1927 (Bryson, page 407). That’s just a little over two years!

During those first few months he was so little known that a local paper couldn’t even spell his name right. But after a Chicago Tribune reporter called him Scarface in 1926, his fame exploded worldwide. Somewhere during that run he even started holding press conferences! But just a short time later he was done. And shortly after that he was gone entirely, except in legend.

The second new thing I learned

Al Capone had brothers. One of them went west to find his fortune. The Capone family never heard from him again. But history knows what happened to him…

He changed his name to Richard “Two Gun” Hart in honor of the silent film cowboy star, William S. Hart. He wore a cowboy hat and boots. He served as one of Calvin Coolidge’s bodyguards. He was also an agent for…prohibition!

You can’t make this stuff up. Only history can do that!

Perry Willis was the Executive Director of the national Libertarian Party and has managed or worked on six Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He is the co-founder of Downsize DC and the Zero Aggression Project. He also co-created the One Subject at a Time Act, the Read the Bills Act, and the Write the Laws Act, all of which have been introduced in Congress.

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Perry Willis is the cofounder of Agenda Setters by Downsize DC and the Zero Aggression Project. He is a past National Director of the Libertarian Party.

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Perry Willis

Perry Willis

Perry Willis is the cofounder of Agenda Setters by Downsize DC and the Zero Aggression Project. He is a past National Director of the Libertarian Party.

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