SOCIAL SCIENCES

Peppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the ’60s

. November 2012. 304p. 978-0-31258-178-7. 25.99.
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In October 1961, a sleepy little dive in Manhattan suddenly became the hottest club in town, beloved by teenagers and socialites alike. What happened? The dance craze called the Twist happened, and the Peppermint Lounge was the place in New York to do it. Little did their patrons know that, not only was the place mobbed, it was mobbed up: the owners were mafiosi who used it as a front for their illegal enterprises. The sudden popularity brought unwanted police attention, and the owners weren’t pleased, but a legend was born. In this entertaining history-cum-memoir, journalist Johnson and Selvin (Summer of Love), with Cami, son-in-law of mobster Johnny Biello, tell the story of the club, the music, and the Cosa Nostra names behind the Peppermint. While the stories in the book are slightly disjointed, they embody the spirit of the era and pull the reader along with them. ­
VERDICT This consistently entertaining account of the famous and infamous in rock ’n’ roll history will be of interest to music nostalgia fans as well as true crime buffs.

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