Whitey’s generation

From The Boston Globe:

Whiteysgeneration__1310154100_4284 What was life like for the tough boys of '30s and '40s Boston? It turns out they were the most closely studied troublemakers in history.

It’s the late 1920s in Boston, and thousands of boys are being born all over the city. Soon, as the Great Depression sends their neighborhoods through the wringer, some of them will start ditching school and smoking cigarettes, hanging around rail yards, stoops, and alleyways after dark. They’ll sneak into movie theaters downtown and get caught stealing candy from drugstores. As they grow older, they will cause real problems, running away from home and joining gangs and stealing cars. Before they can say “I didn’t do it,” they’ll have landed themselves in a juvenile detention center. Some of the boys will eventually quit the life and go straight. Others will keep getting into hot water.

One of them, an Irish kid from Southie with blond hair and blue eyes, will become the single most famous criminal in Boston history. As a highly effective and reputedly ruthless gangster, he will rise precipitously in the ranks of the city’s underworld before disappearing off the face of the earth and spending 16 years as a fugitive from the FBI. By the time he is apprehended at his hideout in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 81, it will be hard to imagine James “Whitey” Bulger as anything but a singular figure, much less one anonymous little street tough among many.

More here.