NEW YORK -- The grandniece of infamous American crime czar Al "Scarface" Capone, is hoping a tell-all book she has penned will clear up decades of half-truths and falsehoods about the former overlord of bootlegging and gambling.
"Was Al Capone a mobster? Yes, he was. Was he a monster? No, he was not. He was a man of the times. He provided a service and he could not understand why some people were after him," Deirdre Marie Capone said last week, while promoting her new book, "Uncle Al Capone," at the Museum of the American Gangster in New York City.
"My family was only involved in three businesses -- one was gambling, one was alcohol [and] the other was prostitution. All of those are legal somewhere," Capone joked as the modest audience gathered around her laughed.
She is the last member of the family born with the name Capone and is, according to her, the most qualified to pen the book, having grown up in close quarters with her uncle.
"It took me three years to write the book and it was at the urging of my children, because my kids would see derogatory remarks about Al Capone and ... they wanted me to tell the world there is a human being by the name Capone and a family by the name Capone," she said.
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In her book, Capone touches on the lighter side of the beer baron and describes how her uncle taught her to ride a bike and play the mandolin. As for his gangster lifestyle, Deirdre Capone is adamant her uncle had nothing to do with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre -- the name given to the Feb. 14, 1929 murder of several gang members of Capone's rival, George "Bugs" Moran, in a Prohibition-era conflict.
"No Capone -- no member of the outfit -- had anything to do with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre," Deirdre Capone said.
"It turns out the police were stealing cases of alcohol off the back of Bugs Moran's trucks and, when Bugs Moran's soldiers said that they were going to complain to the police lieutenant, well, that's who did the evil deed and tried to make it look like Al Capone. If you understand Al Capone, you understand his M.O. If Al Capone wanted to get Bugs Moran, he would have gotten Bugs Moran."
"Uncle Al Capone" is available for $13.49 on Amazon, where it has been reviewed 45 times and has a current rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars.
Speaking exclusively with The Huffington Post after the book promotion stop, Deidre Capone said her work to clear the Capone name is far from over.
"I would like to establish a foundation in the family name to do something to end corruption in government," she said. "For instance, my family would not have been in the business they were in if it was not for all the politicians and police helping, and the same thing is happening with drug cartels today -- [government and law enforcement] corruption. That's my long-range goal. I am 72 now and I hope to realize it."