Billy Bathgate By: E. L. Doctorow

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By: E. L. Doctorow
Narrated by: Mark Deakins
Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
Audiobook Release date: 03-04-14
Publisher: Random House Audio




First off I have to somewhat rationalize why I read a gangster novel. I really do have an eclectic taste when it comes to reading material, but I tend to stick to my favorites, Sci-Fi & Horror, but I have been known to branch out. But Gangsters? Well what happened was that I had just seen the Movie based on this book, and around the same time E.L. Doctorow’s books were re-released as audiobooks. Synchronicity? Maybe. Coincidence? Maybe. Whatever the case I was curious and wanted to hear the book.


So what’s this book about? It is a coming-of-age story about Billy Bathgate who finds a mentor in the form of Dutch Schultz. Dutch takes Billy under his wing as a young kid and turns him into pretty much a full fledged gangster. But when Dutch’s gang falls It is Billy who survives and turns his life around in a completely opposite way than that which Dutch would have led to, but because of what he learned and Dutch’s hidden fortune Billy creates a way for gang members to go legit.

From the Bronx, to upstate New York, Saratoga, and to the docks of Manhattan, Doctorow supplies the color and the feel of the 1930’s. The feel of the book just plunges the reader into its world and with the narration by Mark Deakins his delivery keeps you in that era throughout the book.

If you like gangster movies, you’ll love this. If they aren’t your thing you may not like this but give them a shot. (pardon the pun)

Publisher’s Summary

To listen to this audiobook is to enter the perilous, thrilling world of Billy Bathgate, the brazen boy who is accepted into the inner circle of the notorious Dutch Schultz gang. Like an urban Tom Sawyer, Billy takes us along on his fateful adventures as he becomes good-luck charm, apprentice, and finally protégé to one of the great murdering gangsters of the Depression-era underworld in New York City. The luminous transformation of fact into fiction that is E. L. Doctorow’s trademark comes to triumphant fruition in Billy Bathgate, a peerless coming-of-age tale and one of Doctorow’s boldest and most beloved best sellers.

©1989 E. L. Doctorow (P)2014 Random House Audio