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    Book by English Professor is Award Finalist

    “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, was one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Union League Club of Chicago’s Outstanding Book on the History of Chicago Award 2021.
    April 12, 2021

    A book written by University of Scranton English and Theatre Professor Joe Kraus, Ph.D., was a finalist for the inaugural Union League Club of Chicago’s Outstanding Book on the History of Chicago Award 2021, which was presented in a virtual format on April 7. His book, “The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters,” was one of 10 finalists. The 2021 award was presented to “Occupied Territory” by Simon Balto.

    In 2019, Dr. Kraus’s book, “The Kosher Capone,” won the 2019 bronze Indie Award in the category of history (adult non-fiction).

    “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.

    Dr. Kraus is chair of the Department of English and Theatre at Scranton. He joined the faculty at the University in 2004. From 2015 to April of 2021, he served as president of the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS).

    A resident of Shavertown, Dr. Kraus 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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