Rights offering detail :
The Secret Six
Dec. 10, 2017
William Hazelgrove
Non-fiction: Narrative
We all know the story of Elliott Ness and The Untouchables. Ness was a prohibition agent who gathered around him a group of men who couldn’t be bribed or intimidated. The movie with Kevin Costner portrayed Ness as the driven man against the backdrop of an evil modern Gotham with his beautiful wife and child. We are shown the story of how he alone stopped Al Capone and ended up convicting him on tax evasion. The problem with this story is that it’s completely made up.

The real story is much more fascinating and centers on six men who acted to stop Al Capone. The Secret Six, a new book proposed by multi-published and highly praised author Willliam Hazelgrove, is the story of the men who ultimately convicted Al Capone which is in line with the tenor of American vigilantes who take matters into their own hands. So why has this story only nibbled at the pages of history with the Elliot Ness version embraced by popular culture?

Elliott Ness was a drunk by the time he met the sports writer Oscar Fraley in the 1950s. He had a dogeared twenty-page manuscript he produced when Fraley asked if he knew any good stories from his years as a prohibition agent. Ness gave Fraley the manuscript and the sports writer went to work. By the end he had created the tale of The Untouchables that sold a million and a half copies. Elliott Ness died of a heart attack before publication and never shared in the enormous profits, leaving the writer free to say it was all true. It wasn’t.

The sports writer had no way of knowing about the Secret Six if Ness hadn’t told him. He couldn’t have known The Secret Six created their own police force and their own investigators and used techniques now that are standard in law enforcement and other methods of torture and coercion that would eventually lead to their demise. The Secret Six were influential Chicagoans who saw Al Capone as a menace that could take down the city and destroy the coming World’s Fair of 1933. How the Secret Six pulled this off at a time when Al Capone routinely murdered anyone who opposed him is a much more thrilling story than a lone treasury agent who went around breaking up Capone’s distilleries. Men did die who worked for The Secret Six but the identities of the six Chicago leaders remained secret for decades and even today no can say for absolute certainty who they were, but we have a very good idea.

The real story of The Secret Six would have given the sports writer Oscar Fraley a run for his money. Had he known about the six men who were the real agents of Capone’s demise, he may have written an entirely different story. Writers always sniff a good story and with this one there is no fiction required. It is time for Elliott Ness and The Untouchables to move over for the real tale of how the most notorious gangster of all time was apprehended. Who these men were and how they operated, and the secret police force they created is the real story of America at a crossroads of mob violence. Their legacy is the story of The Secret Six that needs to be told.

William Elliott Hazelgrove has a Masters in History and is the best-selling author of ten novels, Ripples, (Pantonne Press) Tobacco Sticks (Bantam) Mica Highways, (Bantam) Rocket Man, (Koehler Books) The Pitcher, (Koehler Books) Real Santa, (Koehler Books) Jackpine, (Koehler Books) The Pitcher 2 and the forthcoming The Bad Author and My Best Year and two narrative nonfiction books, Madame President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson ( http://fw.to/ixy1ASY) and How the West Created Teddy Roosevelt. His books have hit the National Bestseller List, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editor’s Choice Awards, three of which have been optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer-in- Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN. He runs a political cultural blog, The View from Hemingway's Attic. http://www.williamhazelgrove.com
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World Rights
Leticia Gomez
Savvy Literary Services
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