Led by two childhood pals, Thomas Snake"" Kinney and Tom Egan, the Egan's Rats emerged from St. Louis's Irish slums. They learned their trade the old-fashioned way, via robberies, brawls, burglaries, and shootings. When Kinney ran on the Democratic ticket in the third ward, his friends were at the polls to ensure he got enough votes. For nearly ten years the gang cut a large swath in St. Louis, instilling fear wherever it went. With Snake Kinney, a Missouri state senator and Tom Egan, St. Louis's most dangerous gangster, the gang boasted nearly 400 members. Nearly everyone who lived in St. Louis was touched by them in some way or another. 'Egan's Rats' provides a fascinating glimpse into a past that wasn't always idyllic. It was an era in which roving gangs of thugs terrorized voters with impunity, when alcohol was illegal, when a gangster could brag of his power in the newspaper, and when the tendrils of St. Louis crime reached all the way into the White House.""