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The Killers Historical Context

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Historical Context

1920s

When Hemingway wrote "The Killers" in 1926, the United States was at the height of the Prohibition era, and criminal activity, particularly in Chicago, was rampant, with gangsters such as Al Capone and Dutch Schultz controlling the bootlegging industry and a good part of the police force as well. In 1919, Capone had come to Chicago from New York City, where he had worked for crime boss Frankie Yale. In Chicago, he worked for Yale's old mentor, John Torrio. Capone took control of Torrio's saloons, gambling houses, racetracks, and brothels when Torrio was shot by rival gang members and left Chicago. Historians estimate the income from Capone's interests from illegal activities at $100,000,000 a year between 1925 and 1930. This is the image readers had in mind in 1927 when they read that Ole Andreson "got mixed up in something in Chicago."

However, Hemingway wrote the story in Madrid, Spain. Like many American...

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This section contains 680 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Killers Study Guide
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The Killers from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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