Bombs, Bullets, and Bribes: the true story of notorious Jewish mobster Alex Shondor Birns

Rick Porrello (Author)


A 2020 International Book Awards True Crime Award Finalist Alex Shondor Birns-Public Enemy Number One, friend of powerful Jewish and Italian mobsters, and trusted partner of black gambling racketeers. He went toe-to-toe against relentless challenges -the cops wanted him in prison, immigration officials wanted him deported, and the IRS wanted his nightclub, car, and cash. Black gangsters wanted the old white man out of the numbers racket, and rogue underlings wanted to kill the king.

One prot g in particular had Birns on the ropes in a high-finance mystery stretching from the US to Israel, and Canada to Cuba. Then along came Ellie, a second grade schoolteacher thirty-three years his junior. She was an unlikely paramour and ally, but clearly smitten with Shon.

For half a century, the charismatic hood beat the odds, cultivating allies high and low, including ambitious reporters whose careers he helped build via blazing front-page coverage. Combine the name Shondor Birns with stories of bribes, bullets, and bombs, and it sold newspapers. It was this notoriety that Shondor embraced through the decades as his turbulent story was memorialized. Until, that is, it reached a shocking crescendo.


Author, drummer, and former police chief Rick Porrello has a knack for writing books that attract interest from filmmakers. Hollywood snapped up To Kill the Irishman-the War that Crippled the Mafia and turned it into the movie Kill the Irishman, starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Christopher Walken, and Val Kilmer. A motion picture based on Superthief-A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Burglary in U.S. History is in development.

Product Details

$18.95  $17.43
Rick Porrello
Publish Date
October 09, 2019
6.0 X 0.72 X 9.0 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author

Rick Porrello wears several hats. He is a Cleveland-area police chief and author of The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia. Porrello began writing this first book during research into the murders of his grandfather and three uncles who were mob leaders killed in Prohibition-era violence. Published in 1995 by Barricade Books of New York City, it quickly became a regional favorite, went through several hardcover printings, then was republished in paperback. His 1998 book, To Kill the Irishman, the definitive story of mobster Danny Greene, was optioned for a motion picture by filmmaker Tommy Reid. It was adapted for the 2011 movie Kill the Irishman starring Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vincent D'Onofrio, and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. To Kill the Irishman was also the basis for a documentary produced by Reid. Rick's most recent title is Superthief - A Master Burglar, the Mafia and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History. It is under option for a motion picture. Porrello conducts presentations based on his books about Cleveland Mafia history, and his writing and publishing journey. He is also an accomplished jazz drummer having spent two-and-a-half years traveling worldwide with the Sammy Davis Jr.