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    Book by Faculty Member Wins Indie Award

    “The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters,” by Joe Kraus, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of English and Theatre at The University of Scranton, won the 2019 bronze Indie Award in the category of history.
    August 11, 2020

    “The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters,” by University of Scranton English and Theatre Professor Joe Kraus, Ph.D., was awarded the 2019 bronze Indie Award in the category of history (adult non-fiction). The award recognizes the best books published in 2019 from small, indie, and university presses, as well by self-published authors.

    “The Kosher Capones,” published by Northern Illinois University Press, tells the story of Chicago’s Jewish gangsters from the end of the 19th century into the 1980s. Dr. Kraus’s grandfather and great-uncles were part of the notorious Miller Brothers of the Jewish West Side, who were among Chicago’s early Jewish gangsters. Dr. Kraus spent thirty years collecting details from newspapers, archives, photo collections and other sources. The book traces the changing political, demographic, and economic pressures that transformed the opportunistic gamblers and bootleggers of Maxwell Street and Lawndale into some of the under-the-radar architects of the Chicago Syndicate that grew out of the gang made famous under Al Capone’s leadership.

    “This is an academic book, but I wanted it to be something fun to read, too,” said Dr. Kraus. “I appreciate this award as it says to me that people have enjoyed it.”

    Dr. Kraus, Shavertown, is chair of the Department of English and Theatre at the University. He joined the faculty at Scranton in 2004. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree from Columbia University and his doctorate from Northwestern University.

    The Kosher Capones is available in hardcover, paper, audio and as an e-book. For more information about the book, visit www.thekoshercapones.com.

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