The classic gangster book, which became a famous movie starring Edward G. Robinson. This wasn't a particularly well-written book, from a literary point of view, and it seems rather cliched today, but I'm guessing it was more-or-less the genesis of the gangster cliches.
Basically, it's the story of a tough guy who worked his way up in the Chicago gangster pantheon. Then he was identified and became a fugitive, eventually ending back in Toledo, where he'd begun his life of crime. He finds it horrible not to be a big cheese, and eventually becomes one in Toledo again, but at the cost of identifying himself. Thus, he is soon faced with the quandary of whether to be taken dead or alive.
I dunno. Other than for historical reasons, I don't see much point in taking up this book. It was ok, and short, but didn't seem imaginative.