Billy Bathgate by E.L. Doctorow

This book is an interesting peek into the lives of gangsters in 1930's New York. Billy Bathgate was born in the Bronx slums, living a fatherless and reckless life, until he is befriended by famous gangster, Dutch Schultz. Schultz shows him the inner workings of crime, killing, gambling and bootlegging. Billy latches on to this less-than-admirable life as way to scratch some type of existence for his insane mother and himself. An opportunist and a quick study, Billy seems to be numb to the unethical lifestyle of a gangster. That is, until he falls in love with Schultz's girlfriend...(more).