Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Retail Gangster:
Yeah, the title is already awesome. I got nothing.
The story of “Crazy Eddie” Antar, an electronic store czar who was just a huge crook.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:
Craze Eddie actually created a med school. Yes, really. It was the University of St. Lucia School of Medicine. It didn’t do great.
Fun Fact for History Nerds:
The company knew people hated their commercials. They knew by hating them, they remembered them. So basically, they cracked the code of the internet before it was a thing.
My Take on Retail Gangster:
This book brought me back to my childhood in the most ridiculous way possible. It made me vividly remember the most obnoxious commercials ever. “Mom, why is that guy yelling?” Because it was a Crazy Eddie commercial, that’s why.
Retail Gangster tells the story of Eddie Antar, the aforementioned Crazy Eddie. It chronicles more than just his amazing fraud scheme, though. Author Gary Weiss digs into the family dynamics, the methods of the fraud (of which there were many), and the personalities of the people involved. The sheer number of names in this book can be dizzying.
However, Weiss makes this a very easy and enjoyable read. He never gets bogged down in any one aspect of the story. He also tells you just enough about the financial chicanery without confusing financially illiterate readers (of which I am one). I am clearly at least partially biased by nostalgia, but I think a lot of people will love this book like I do.
And now I know for certain. His prices actually were, “insaaaaaaaaaaane.”
This book is crazy (pun intended!). Read it. Buy it here!
I can recall even earlier obnoxious TV commercials for Carvel Ice Cream. The owner Tom Carvel – a grumbling, marble-mouth octogenarian – was the spokesman.