The Untouchables (1957 book)

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The Untouchables
First edition (publ. Julian Messner)
AuthorOscar Fraley[1]
CountryUnited States
Publication date
  • 10 May 1957
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)

The Untouchables is an autobiographical memoir about Eliot Ness co-written by Oscar Fraley, published in 1957.[2] The book deals with the experiences of Eliot Ness, a federal agent in the Bureau of Prohibition, as he fights crime in Chicago in the late 1920s and early 1930s with the help of a special team of agents handpicked for their incorruptibility, nicknamed The Untouchables.[3][4]

The main part of the book is written in first-person anecdotal style, as if directly from Ness's reminiscences; a foreword and afterword by Fraley provide historical context. In fact, Fraley, who was a prominent sportswriter for United Press when he worked on the book, did most of the writing, although Ness wrote a lengthy synopsis that Fraley used as a starting point, made himself available for interviews, made his scrapbooks and other memorabilia available for research purposes, and approved the final version of the text shortly before his death.[5][6][7]

The book inspired The Untouchables, a popular television series which ran from 1959 to 1963, and the 1987 film The Untouchables.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ Staff, Charles Fishman of the Sentinel. "WHO'S IN OSCAR FRALEY".
  2. ^ Pearl, Matthew. "Behind The Untouchables: The Making of the Memoir That Reclaimed a Prohibition-Era Legend". HWD.
  3. ^ Goldstein, Richard (25 March 1998). "Albert Wolff, Last of Ness's Men, Dies at 95" – via
  4. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "ALBERT WOLFF, LAST OF `UNTOUCHABLES'".
  5. ^ "Oscar Fraley; Wrote 'The Untouchables'". 9 January 1994 – via LA Times.
  6. ^ "Eliot Ness: The Real Story". Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "The Unbelievables: truth, lies and the myth of Eliot Ness". The Independent. 20 February 2014.
  9. ^ "'Untouchables' fueled by scotch; Ness felled by proofs". UPI.
  10. ^ Press, Associated (3 July 2015). "Heirs of famed Prohibition agent find lost stock certificate that could net $1m" – via