The Chicago Syndicate: Book Recommendations
Showing posts with label Book Recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Recommendations. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Mafia Wife: My Story of Love, Murder, and Madness

The seamy world of the Gambino crime family first took book form thanks to notorious turncoat Salvatore""Sammy the Bull"" Gravano, who told his story to Peter Maas for the 1997 Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia.

Linda Milito, the long-suffering wife of Sammy's partner Louie Milito (murdered in 1988 under Sammy's orders, Linda maintains, though Sammy""told the feds it was John Gotti's idea""), now tells her own tale of the mob life, as seen from the home front. Hers is not a glamorous account: she documents her husband's rise from a petty crook who robbed pay phones to a""straightened out"" tough who became a captain with the Gambinos.

The grinding monotony and terrible strife of her existence--struggling to make money legitimately while her husband languished in jail, trying to protect her son from bullies, coping with terrible physical abuse--is chilling. The image-conscious""wiseguys"" that formed her social circle (and who are rather hilariously obsessed with The Godfather) become pitiable figures, trapped in a cycle of murder and deceit.

On the whole, Milito manages to tell her story unflinchingly, without sounding self-pitying, even as she details her mental illness and her current abusive relationship. Collaborator Potterton does an excellent job of keeping the narrative running smoothly, organizing the tangle of names and connections, and maintaining Milito's honest and streetwise Brooklyn voice.

Mafia Wife: Revised Edition My Story of Love, Murder, and Madness.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit is a Revealing Portrait of #RFK from @HardballChris

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, is a revealing new portrait of Robert F. Kennedy that gets closer to the man than any book before, by bestselling author Chris Matthews, an esteemed Kennedy expert and anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball.

With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby Kennedy, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century.

Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians—both a pragmatist who knew how to get the job done and an unwavering idealist who could inspire millions.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the public and private worlds of Robert Francis Kennedy. He shines a light on all the important moments of his life, from his early years and his start in politics to his crucial role as attorney general in his brother’s administration and his tragic run for president. This definitive book brings Bobby Kennedy to life like never before and is destined to become a political classic.

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend

At the height of Prohibition, Al Capone loomed large as Public Enemy Number One: his multimillion-dollar Chicago Outfit dominated organized crime, and law enforcement was powerless to stop him. But then came the fall: a legal noose tightened by the FBI, a conviction on tax evasion, a stint in Alcatraz. After his release, he returned to his family in Miami a much diminished man, living quietly until the ravages of his neurosyphilis took their final toll.

Our shared fascination with Capone endures in countless novels and movies, but the man behind the legend has remained a mystery. Now, through rigorous research and exclusive access to Capone’s family, National Book Award–winning biographer Deirdre Bair cuts through the mythology, uncovering a complex character who was flawed and cruel but also capable of nobility. At once intimate and iconoclastic, Al Capone gives us the definitive account of a quintessentially American figure.

Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Price of Politics - See how and why Washington is not functioning

Based on 18 months of reporting, Bob Woodward's 17th book The Price of Politics, is an intimate, documented examination of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition over three and one half years.

Drawn from memos, contemporaneous meeting notes, emails, and in-depth interviews with the central players, The Price of Politics, addresses the key issue of the presidential and congressional campaigns: the condition of the American economy and how and why we got there. Providing verbatim, day-by-day, even hour-by-hour accounts, the book shows what really happened, what drove the debates, negotiations, and struggles that define, and will continue to define, the American future.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia - A Quality Work by @NateHendley

From the James gang to Nicky Barnes to John Gotti, the American gangster has become an iconic outsized American archetype, with the real criminals sometimes rivaling their fictional counterparts—like the Corleones and the Sopranos—for their ability to captivate the public and attain genuine folk antihero status.

A detailed compendium of American gangsters and gangs from the end of the Civil War to the present day.

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia, ranges from Western outlaws revered as Robin Hoods to the Depression’s flamboyant bootleggers and bank robbers to the late 20th century’s drug kingpins and “Dapper Dons.” It is the first comprehensive resource on the gangster’s historical evolution and unshakable grip on the American imagination.

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia, tells the stories of a number of famous gangsters and gangs—Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the Black Hand, Al Capone, Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels, the Mafia, Crips and Bloods, and more. Avoiding sensationalism, the straightforward entries include biographical portraits and historical background for each subject, as well as accounts of infamous robberies, killings, and other events, all well documented with both archival newspapers and extensive research into the files of the FBI. Readers will understand the families, the places, and the times that produced these monumental criminals, as well as the public mindset that often found them sympathetic and heroic.

Features

  • Comprises 50 alphabetically organized entries on American gangsters and gangs from the post-Civil War era to the present
  • Offers a wealth of primary sources, including newspaper articles dating back to the 1880s and FBI files obtained by the author
  • Includes photographs of prominent American gangsters and the aftermaths of their crimes
  • Presents a glossary of gangster slang, past and present
  • Provides a comprehensive index

Highlights

  • Spans the whole history of the gangster in the United States, from the post-Civil War era to the present
  • Features the insights and writing skills of an accomplished author of crime books
  • Makes the connection between gangsters from different eras
  • Dispels a number of misconceptions about gangsters and the destruction they cause

Nate Hendley is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Canada. His published works include Greenwood's Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography, Crystal Meth: North America's #1 Drug Problem, Al Capone: Chicago's King of Crime, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, and Edwin Alonzo Boyd: Life and Crimes of Canada's Master Bank Robber.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Mob Fest '29: The True Story Behind the Birth of Organized Crime

Bill Tonelli arrives on the scene with his brilliantly subversive Byliner Mob Fest ’29: The True Story Behind the Birth of Organized Crime. Tonelli investigates the long-standing myth of the mob’s founding—a legendary week in May 1929 in which a who’s who of American crime (Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Frank Costello, among many others) were said to have assembled in Atlantic City, the hedonistic Playground of America, to make peace and divvy up the country’s illegal enterprises. But what really happened that criminally star-studded week on the Jersey Shore?

At this informal summit, mobster bosses allegedly gathered to invent the concept of “organized crime” in America. Prohibition had transformed all of them from two-bit thugs into underworld bigwigs, and they had a vested interest in keeping illicit booze flowing easily across state lines. In Atlantic City, these hoods played as hard as they worked—if indeed they worked at all. “As legend has it,” writes Tonelli, “as many as thirty top gangsters [enjoyed] wild parties and heroic feasts, with fancy ladies provided for any who hadn’t brought his own. In short, this was nothing like the office meetings you and I have been made to attend.”

How many of these accounts are actually true, and why do they vary wildly in their retelling? Did the mobsters really wheel around the Boardwalk in rolling chairs, smoking cigars and cutting deals? Did they threaten one another in swank conference rooms in the Ritz-Carlton? Did they force Al Capone, fresh from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago, to turn himself in to the cops in order to take the heat off everyone else? And what about the infamous photo of Nucky Johnson—“the benevolent but undisputed king” of Atlantic City, better known as Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire—strolling the boards arm in arm with Capone? Was this a staged shoot caught by early paparazzi or a Prohibition-era Photoshop job designed to ignite conspiracy theories that would thrive for years to come?

At a time when the early mob days are all the rage, Tonelli sifts the facts from the malarkey and in so doing shows that when it comes to the birth of organized crime, a good lie is hard to beat.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Born to the Mob: The True-Life Story of the Only Man to Work for All Five of New York's Mafia Families

Frankie Saggio reminisces about the era of true wise guys like his Uncle Philly -a contemporary of Al Capone. After all, it was Frankie's uncle who "taught him the value of a dollar and how to steal it from someone else." Uncle Philly was from a day when being in a mafia family meant being bound by blood and honor, not like modern day families whose only concern is money.

For Frankie, the only way to avoid the modern mob treachery is to avoid getting involved with any single mob family, working "freelance" for all five. Frankie can do this because he is one of the biggest earners in the business, pulling down millions and kicking a share upstairs to the bosses. Though he fights the decision, Frankie is tied by blood to the Bonanno family, Uncle Philly's family, and current home to Philly's murderer. Soon after joining the Bonannos, Frankie narrowly escapes an assassination attempt and is busted for a major scam. With little choice, and even less loyalty to the Bonannos, Frankie turns himself over to the Feds on the one condition that he will tell the feds everything, but will not squeal on his own relatives.

Born to the Mob: The True-Life Story of the Only Man to Work for All Five of New York's Mafia Families.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Author of "John F. Kennedy Assassination: A Mafia Conspiracy" Discusses His Theory

Jim Gatewood, author of "John F. Kennedy Assassination a Mafia Conspiracy," as well as several other books, was the guest speaker for the Kilgore Rotary Club on Wednesday.

Gatewood spoke about the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, and discussed Mafia history and other facts which cement his theory that the Mafia was behind the assassination, in conjunction with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The Dallas historian gave historical facts about Mafia activity in Dallas, including details on the life of Benny Binion, now famous for opening the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas and a noted Dallas businessman around the time of the Depression.

Gatewood wove a tale which started back around the time of the Depression, and the path involved noted mobsters from New York, Dallas, Chicago and several other eastern U.S. cities, along with Texas historical figures such as Lone Wolf Gonzales and Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger who helped gun down Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana.

He tied all of that history together with a story about Oswald and his involvement in the Mafia and his association with Cuban Freedom Fighters who were mad because JFK had supposedly issued an order to have Fidel Castro killed.

According to Gatewood, Oswald waited on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository with a look-alike, a Cuban Freedom Fighter who would take the shot if Oswald would not. There were also Cuban Freedom Fighters along the motorcade route to signal the pair when it was time to be ready to fire.

Gatewood said law enforcement in Dallas County knew about an assassination attempt and had their own shooter on the top of the County Records Building to look for snipers. That shooter fired on Oswald's gun after two shots had been fired at Kennedy, causing Oswald's third shot to hit the curb and ricochet into the guard rail.

Oswald hit the president and Texas Gov. John Connally with his first two shots and, according to Gatewood, was firing at Jackie Kennedy with the third shot to make an impact on the shooting that would earn him kudos with the mob.

Oswald missed his ride in a car to the Highland Park Airport, but his look-alike was able to get on the plane.

Jack Ruby, a noted mob figure in Dallas, told Oswald if he missed his plane he should meet him at his apartment, which was near the rooming house where Oswald lived. But, before he could get there, he met Dallas police officer J.D. Tippett and shot him. Then, Oswald was captured at the Texas Theater and Ruby was sent by mobsters to gun him down on Sunday morning, which was seen by millions on national television.

Ruby remained quiet, pleaded guilty to murder of Oswald and died of cancer in prison.

Gatewood offered to discuss his theory with anyone who wanted, and he said he has all of the documentation anyone would want to back up his theory.

Thanks to Greg Collins in 2009.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco #NationalPastaDay

Nuovo Vesuvio. The "family" restaurant, redefined. Home to the finest in Napolitan' cuisine and Essex County's best kept secret. Now Artie Bucco, la cucina's master chef and your personal host, invites you to a special feast...with a little help from his friends, The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco. From arancini to zabaglione, from baccala to Quail Sinatra-style, Artie Bucco and his guests, the Sopranos and their associates, offer food lovers one hundred Avellinese-style recipes and valuable preparation tips. But that's not all!

Artie also brings you a cornucopia of precious Sopranos artifacts that includes photos from the old country; the first Bucco's Vesuvio's menu from 1926; AJ's school essay on "Why I Like Food"; Bobby Bacala's style tips for big eaters, and much, much more.

So share the big table with:


  • Tony Soprano, waste management executive "Most people soak a bagful of discount briquettes with lighter fluid and cook a pork chop until it's shoe leather and think they're Wolfgang Puck." Enjoy his tender Grilled Sausages sizzling with fennel or cheese. Warning: Piercing the skin is a fire hazard. 
  • Corrado "Junior" Soprano, Tony's uncle "Mama always cooked. No one died of too much cholesterol or some such crap." Savor his Pasta Fazool, a toothsome marriage of cannellini beans and ditalini pasta, or Giambott', a grand-operatic vegetable medley. 
  • Carmela Soprano, Tony's wife "If someone were sick, my inclination would be to send over a pastina and ricotta. It's healing food." Try her Baked Ziti, sinfully enriched with three cheeses, and her earthy 'Shcarole with Garlic. 
  • Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri, associate of Tony Soprano "I have heard that Eskimos have fifty words for snow. We have five hundred words for food." Sink your teeth into his Eggs in Purgatory-eight eggs, bubbling tomato sauce, and an experience that's pure heaven. 


As Artie says, "Enjoy, with a thousand meals and a thousand laughs. Buon' appetito!"

The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fixed: How Goodfellas Bought Boston College Basketball #NCAA Throwback

Fixed: How Goodfellas Bought Boston College BasketballFixed: How Goodfellas Bought Boston College Basketball

Using extensive background research as well as interviews with the principal characters, Fixed provides the first in-depth reconstruction of the point-shaving scandal involving the 1978-1979 Boston College basketball team, from the genesis of the plot in the summer of 1978, through the uncovering of the scheme during an unrelated investigation in 1980, to the trial that captivated the sports world in the fall of 1981 and its aftermath. This multi-layered story of greed and betrayal combines sports, gambling, and the Mafia into an irresistible morality tale with a modern edge.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Frank Vincent's A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man

A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man.

These days, it’s harder than ever to know how to act like a real man. We’re not talking about the touchy-feely, ultra-sensitive, emotion-sharing, not-afraid-to-cry version of manhood that Oprah and Dr. Phil have been spouting for years. We’re talking about the though, smart, confident, charming, classy, all-around good fella that upholds the true ideal of what is known as “a man’s man.”

Now, renowned actor and true-life man’s man Frank Vincent, famed for his unforgettable tough-guy roles in such classic films as Raging Bull, Goodfellas and HBO’s The Sopranos, is going to show how any man can be all that he can be in love, work, play, and life. Everything you need to know is covered here, including, getting the best women by being the best man, dressing like a champ and taking on the world, winning big money and big respect in Las Vegas, selecting, smoking, and savoring a great cigar, and much more.

If you want to learn how to be a man’s man, you gotta learn from a man’s man. And with the great Frank Vincent vouching for you, you’ll be on your way to getting everything you ever wanted outta life.

A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio - "Teacher of the Year" becomes Mob Artist

In DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio, renowned American artist and 3-time national award-winning “Teacher of the Year” Michael Bell has written an inspiring and brutally candid memoir that chronicles his meteoric rise to becoming one of the most highly decorated public school teachers in America, all the while, living out a storied and often controversial professional painting career as “Mob Artist” to America’s most infamous.

Go behind the scenes with his intriguing clientele on how these friendships also fueled his career—from John Gotti to Al Capone’s great-nephew, Dominic Capone to numerous actors from “the Sopranos”, “Goodfellas”, “A Bronx Tale”, and more. Then, take a roller coaster crusade through the ever-changing, volatile landscapes of the art world and a US public education system that has begun placing more of an emphasis on "data mining" than on "building relationships."

This is the ultimate story of overcoming extreme adversity and being a true champion for today’s youth from someone still in the trenches, still at the top of his game. And, in the education arena, Bell has done the unprecedented. His students have earned tens of millions in scholarships; 7 back-to-back NAEA Rising Star Awards in art—an award presented to just one student artist in the entire nation annually; and 8 Scholastic Art National Medalists 3 years straight.

Bell also discusses the impact of his family life on his art—on the tragic stillbirth of his sister; on his lifelong relationship with his Grandmother, Violet, a self-taught artist from Lyndhurst, New Jersey; on his inspiring son, Carmen, (“Lil' C”), and his battles with Autism while on his quest to become a Golden Gloves boxing champion. Then there's Bell's notorious cousin Vinnie, who was part of the longest double-murder trial in the history of the State of New Jersey. Learn how Bell, himself, went from being a troubled youth once facing twenty-years-to-life to saving one of his own students from a similar fate nearly two decades later.

DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio, is passionately written, and just as courageously vulnerable as the compelling narratives found within Bell’s paintings. So, ride shotgun alongside Michael Bell throughout his meteoric rise across two very different worlds—from the streets to the studio.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Examining the Crimes of the Calabrese Family #FamilySecrets

Why are we so fascinated by the mob? Well, there's violence: garroting, shooting, stabbing; the thrill of men hunting men. Money: While most of us sweat for our daily bread, gangsters take what they want. The unknown: Gangster stories give us special knowledge of dark, hidden places in the city and in the human heart.

That last point is important, because half the fun is pulling back the veil. The author strips away the pretenses and pleasantries of daily life and reveals how the world really is. Which is to say that force reigns supreme, not intelligence or character or merit. But part of the popularity of gangster lit is the assumption that the veil is only ever half-raised. Mob stories feed our most paranoid fears by implying that so much more remains to be told. Because we really can't see the subject whole, never know the limits of the mob's influence, we can imagine it as all-powerful, with cops, politicians and businessmen bought and paid for. Authors let us in on the secrets, but the thrilling question always remains, just how big is this menace?

That is one of the reasons that Chicago Tribune reporter Jeff Coen's "Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob" is so refreshing. He never reaches beyond his story, sticks close to his evidence, lets the carefully gathered wiretaps and eyewitness testimony and reporter's notes do the talking. Like Nicholas Pileggi's classic "Wiseguy," on which the film "GoodFellas" was based, Coen keeps it at street level, focusing on his distinct cast of characters, the gangsters and their victims, the federal agents, local cops and attorneys who played out the drama.

During the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, Frank Calabrese Sr. operated a lucrative loan-sharking business on Chicago's South Side. He had ties to higher-ups in the "Outfit," as the Chicago mob is known, men like Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, and James "Jimmy Light" Marcello. Calabrese was not a nice man. In the late '90s, his son, Frank Jr., musing on his father's abusiveness, decided to turn state's evidence against the old man. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, young Frank's uncle Nick (Frank Sr.'s brother) also decided to cooperate with the feds.

With that the Outfit's cover unraveled, and the case finally came to trial in 2007. Coen gives us fine-grained pictures of the loan-sharking and extortion, and, above all, at least 18 killings.

Nick Calabrese, a reluctant hit man, committed multiple murders at brother Frank's behest. Nick told the feds that his sibling would willingly kill him had he failed to carry out a hit. Frank Calabrese himself specialized in garroting his victims, then cutting their throats to make sure they were dead. Coen gives us gruesome accounts of the murders and burials in corn fields and at construction sites.

"Family Secrets" isn't for everyone. It is a complex narrative of a long case that resulted in several convictions. The devil is in the details, there are a lot of them, and they thoroughly de-romanticize the mob.

This is a well-written and researched book, but its subject might disappoint some readers. Unlike the East Coast mob, Coen tells us, "Chicago had been unified for much of the century, since the days of the infamous boss Al Capone. ..." That statement is true but a bit deceptive. This late 20th Century crew seems a little pathetic. They're not exactly the gang that couldn't shoot straight, but they're certainly not Capone's Outfit either. When we pull back the veil, we get a strange blend of Don Corleone and the Three Stooges.

Thanks to Elliott Gorn, who teaches history at Brown University. He is author of "Dillinger's Wild Ride: The Year That Made America's Public Enemy Number One," published this year by Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Iced: The Story of Organized Crime In Canada

If police really want to end the gang war raging throughout the Lower Mainland, they might want to have a sit-down with the Hell's Angels.

That is one of the more provocative suggestions by criminologist Stephen Schneider, who has written a new book called Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada.

"The most powerful criminal group in B.C. is probably the Hell's Angels," Schneider said. "They have a lot of ties to the United Nations gang, so they could possibly step in and end the violence."

Born and raised in Richmond, Schneider now teaches criminology at St. Mary's University in Halifax. He went to Steveston secondary. His parents, Werner and Shirley, still live in Richmond.

In an interview with the News, Schneider said organized crime has deep roots in Canada -- largely tied to smuggling -- and is not going to go away.

"If you are going to outlaw certain vices and certain substances that are in high demand -- like cocaine or marijuana -- you're going to have organized crime, and you're going to get violence. And you just have accept this is the reality."

Not that Schneider believes legalizing drugs is necessarily the answer. But neither is what he calls "ad hoc, piecemeal" laws like the Conservative government's new crime bill, which includes minimum sentences for some crimes.

For one thing, punitive measures don't have much of a deterrent on the lower echelon criminals who carry out the grunt work for organized crime, largely due to their upbringing. "It may deter you and me, but it is not going to deter the chronic offender," he said.

The biggest impact of the crime bill may be on prosecutors. "The prosecutorial services are just completely overwhelmed," he said. "By bringing in minimum sentencing, what you've done is create even more work for the prosecutors."

Richmond has been spared the recent spate of gang slayings, although it still has a significant organized crime presence, Schneider said.

The gangs here are largely Asian -- not surprising, given its demographics, he added.

Schneider said he is surprised by all the "hand-wringing" over the recent spate of gang-related shootings in the Lower Mainland.

The public is reacting like this is something new, when in fact gang wars have been erupting in Canada for the last couple of decades, he said. "It was ignored and downplayed by police officials and politicians for years, and now it's caught up to us and sort of bit us on the ass," he said. "Now we're dealing with the aftermath of a lot of neglect."

Schneider said there has been more gangland violence in the last 20 years than any other period in our history.

He blames the recent trend, in part, on a rising "underclass" that has produced a generation of young men coming from poverty and broken homes who are easily drawn into the criminal lifestyle.

He said the few countries that have had success fighting organized crime are countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland, which have put resources into addressing the root causes of crime. "They're fairly crime-free because they have such a strong social welfare system."

Schneider has studied the roots of organized crime in Canada and found they go back as far as the 17th century, when pirates operated of the Atlantic coast.

The one constant in organized crime here is smuggling.

Canada was the back door for smuggling booze into the U.S. during prohibition. And whereas today B.C. is famous for its marijuana, at the turn of the century B.C. was famous for producing opium.

With three vast coastlines to police, Schneider said Canada simply does not have the resources to stop the smuggling of drugs, or any other contraband, that fuels organized crime.

He concedes there may be some legitimacy to the criticism -- the U.S. being our harshest critics -- that Canadian laws and immigration policies are too lax and help fuel the drug trade that is the bread and butter for organized crime.

"I do believe that the lenient prosecution of marijuana traffickers may help the proliferation of the industry," he said. "But on the converse of that, there's no evidence whatsoever that strong punitive penalties have any impact on organized crime. If that were the case, then China and the United States and Russia would be the most crime-free countries in the world and they're not."

If there is any hope of ending the current gang war in B.C., it may come -- ironically enough -- from organized crime itself. "Quite frankly, law enforcement is quite limited in what they can do," Schneider said.

Gang wars draw a lot of heat, and sometimes prompt the more powerful organized crime leaders to step in because it is bad for business.

In the 1990s, a biker war in Quebec resulted in 160 deaths.

Schneider said it is widely believed that it was Montreal Mafia boss -- Vito Rizzuto -- who stepped in and helped put a stop to the killings. And in the 1980s, Schneider said it is believed some high-powered crime bosses from China intervened in a gang war raging in Vancouver among Asian gangs.

He said the Hell's Angels may well be the organization best position to put a stop to the blood feud going on.

He believes B.C. has been spared the kind of biker wars Quebec has suffered because the Hell's Angels are in control here. "There was never any biker war in B.C. because the Hell's Angels were the only biker gang in town. They controlled everything."

Thanks to Nelson Bennett

Friday, August 11, 2017

Without Fear or Favor: A Novel (A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller)

In the twenty-ninth novel in the New York Times bestselling Karp-Ciampi series featuring “the best fictional prosecuting attorney in literature” (Mark Lane, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Butch Karp and his wife Marlene Ciampi must stop a radical organization of armed militants bent on the cold-blooded murder of uniformed on-duty police officers.

When a cop shoots down the son of a respected inner-city Baptist preacher, the community rises up in anger and demands to have the officer prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But there’s something more than a call for justice at work here: a plot to bring down the city’s police force through a conspiracy so vast and malicious only Butch Karp and his band of truth-seekers can untangle it.

Full of Tanenbaum’s signature page turning intense action and heart pounding suspense from “one hell of a writer” (New York Post), Without Fear or Favor: A Novel (A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller), will keep you guessing until the final scene.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Discover "The Mafia Curse"

The Italian-American experience is a saga of tragedy and triumph - the struggle of proud, religious, life-loving people stained by an unfair curse of criminality that is still perpetuated today by crime writers, TV shows and moviesThe Mafia Curse. Author Cy Egan reveals the story of how "The Mafia Curse" began during the Italians' early life and times in America and of the exploits of an intrepid Italian-American detective who loved his fellow Italians passionately and drove himself to the limit to punish their tormentors and preserve their honor and dignity in a new found land.

Every other immigrant group that came before and after brought its own share of criminals, but most were excused on grounds that their lawlessness was bred by poverty and an inability to break into the economic mainstream. Only the Italians were burned with the brand of infamy and reviled by a nation that conveniently ignored the reality that crime infects all races and knows no nationality. The Mafia Curse, tells how the stigma was born in the late Nineteenth Century when emigrants to America from Italy were terrorized by a small band of their own compatriots and unfairly smeared as criminals by an American press seeking to boost readership by pandering to public prejudice.

Adopting the great American spirit of hard work and stick-to-it-iveness, the Italians survived the onslaught of hate with a deep devotion to family life that centered on nurturing and educating their children. They rose to the highest levels of academia, government, industry, science and show business, slowly carving out a slice of the American dream. Enshrined in the pantheon of their American accomplishments are names like Alito, Coppola, Cuomo, De Niro, DiMaggio, Fermi, Giamatti, Giuliani, Iacocca, LaGuardia, Puzo, Scalia, Scorcese, Sinatra, Stallone and Travolta. Despite these successes, one survey showed that 78% of teens and 74% of adults in America still identify Italians with blue-collar jobs or organized crime while the U.S. Justice Department says 67 percent are white collar workers and executives, and only .075 percent are mobsters.

The Mafia Curse, offers readers a refreshingly positive approach and reveals the real historical roots of how the mafia stigma began. By exploring its true origins, people's eyes will be opened to the truth and they will learn about the prejudices that led to its negative image as they further explore its history. Get a copy of this fascinating read now and discover how The Mafia Curse was born!

Mr. Egan. an award-winning crime writer, was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Journal-American and the Post in New York. He covered major news events for nearly 40 years. These included the capture of famed bank robber Willie "The Actor" Sutton, the executions of Atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the mob shootings of Frank Costello, "Crazy Joe" Gallo and other underworld wiseguys, the gangland blinding of labor writer Victor Riesel, the civil rights riots and antiwar bombings of the 1960s and 70s and dozens of famous murder cases, including the Son of Sam serial killings. An author, he also has written hundreds of articles, many on women criminals. He lives in Tryon, N.C.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Touhy vs. Capone: The Chicago Outfit’s Biggest Frame Job

Touhy vs. Capone: The Chicago Outfit's Biggest Frame Job.

When beat cop Don Herion and his partner responded to shots fired on December 16, 1959, they didn’t know that they had heard the final, fatal salvo in one of the most contorted conflicts in the history of organized crime. A canny bootlegger, Roger Touhy had survived a gang war with Al Capone, false imprisonment for a faked kidnapping, a prison break and recapture. His story dragged in all the notorious men of his day: Frank Nitti, John “Jake the Barber” Factor, Mayor Cermak, Melvin Purvis, J. Edgar Hoover, Baby Face Nelson, Dan “Tubbo” Gilbert, FDR and JFK. As Touhy’s life was ending on his sister’s front porch, Herion’s quest to unravel the tangle of events that led to his assassination had just begun.

A native of the Windy City, Don Herion joined the Chicago Police Department in 1955. On a cold winter night in 1959, he was called to the scene of Roger Touhy’s murder. Herion retired after forty-eight years on the job, including two years of undercover work for the Chicago Crime Commission. He is the author of Pay, Quit, or Die: Chicago Mob Ultimatum, and The Chicago Way.

Touhy vs. Capone: The Chicago Outfit's Biggest Frame Job.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Motor City Mafia by @burneystweets Takes You inside the Belly of the Beast

Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America), chronicles the storied and hallowed gangland history of the notorious Detroit underworld.

Scott M. Burnstein takes the reader inside the belly of the beast, tracking the bloodshed, exploits, and leadership of the southeast Michigan crime syndicate as never before seen in print. Through a stunning array of rare archival photographs and images, Motor City Mafia captures Detroit's most infamous past, from its inception in the early part of the 20th century, through the years when the iconic Purple Gang ruled the city's streets during Prohibition, through the 1930s and the formation of the local Italian mafia, and the Detroit crime family's glory days in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, all the way to the downfall of the area's mob reign in the 1980s and 1990s.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Family Secrets Mob Book by @JeffCoen is Indispensable to Know How Chicago Truly Works

If you're interested in understanding the real Chicago—and there can be no serious understanding of this completely political city without examining the Chicago Outfit—then you'll soon have a great new book on your shelves:

"Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob" (Chicago Review Press) by Chicago Tribune federal courts reporter Jeff Coen.

Yes, Coen is a colleague of mine who is well-respected in our newsroom. But the reason I recommend this book is that I've followed Coen's work chronicling this case. His careful eye and clean writing style have produced years of compelling Tribune stories and now this authoritative account of one of the most amazing Chicago Outfit cases in history.

It involves the FBI's turning of Chicago Outfit hit man Nicholas Calabrese into a top witness and informer. Calabrese's access and insight into unsolved murders, offered up at trial by the expert killer and brother of a Chinatown Crew boss, were more than astounding. And, in a creepy but necessary way, illuminating.

Calabrese, a deadly though perpetually terrified hit man, testified against the bosses about more than 18 gangland murders in the federal Family Secrets case. Now mob bosses including his brother Frank, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo and Jimmy Marcello, and fellow hit man Paul Schiro will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Later this week an Outfit messenger boy—Anthony Doyle, a former Chicago police officer who worked in the evidence section and who visited Frank Calabrese in prison to discuss the FBI's interest in an old bloody glove—also will be sentenced.

From the witness stand, Doyle gave Chicago one of my favorite words, "chumbolone," the Chinatown Crew's slang for idiot or fool. He deserves a long sentence. Federal mob watchers consider him to be close to the Outfit's current overall reputed street boss, Frank "Toots" Caruso.

Outfit helpers like Doyle, placed in sensitive government posts, in politics, in law enforcement, in the judiciary, in city inspection and business licensing bureaucracies, have long allowed the Outfit to form the base of the iron triangle that runs things.

"Doyle was one of the most interesting aspects of the case," Coen told me this week. "Here you have a police officer as a mole telling the Outfit when evidence in a murder was being sought by the FBI. I don't think the public is aware of the effort that goes into placing people in low-key clerical positions that give them great access, people that can fly under the radar."

Doyle learned the FBI was interested in a glove worn by Nick Calabrese in the murder of John Fecarotta, who himself received an Outfit death sentence for botching the 1986 burial of brothers Tony and Michael Spilotro.

"If Nick doesn't drop that glove, the FBI doesn't have the physical evidence to tell him he'd be going away forever," Coen said. "Without the glove, they wouldn't have Nick."

Nick's testimony involved the planning and surveillance of his victims, and the final end that came to them, either by a remote-controlled car bomb on a suburban highway ramp, or shotguns from a van along a country road near Joliet, or the laying on of hands and feet and ropes in a suburban basement.

The movie "Casino" depicted Outfit brothers Tony and Michael Spilotro beaten to death in an Indiana cornfield. That's how many of us thought they were killed, until Family Secrets revealed that they were actually beaten and strangled in a Bensenville basement.

In the gangster movies, the hit men are usually the roughest characters. But Calabrese wasn't a movie hit man, he was a real one, so frightened that he wet himself during his first killing.

On the witness stand and in the book, he comes off like what he is, a nerd of homicide, a man plagued by a sickening fear that settled on him at the first one and became like a second skin, and he found one way to deal with that fear—meticulous planning.

"He was nothing like a movie hit man," Coen said. "During testimony, he looked like somebody you'd bump into at a store in your neighborhood. But if the bosses pointed him at somebody, they could sleep, knowing the murder would be done."

On my shelf, there are books I consider to be indispensable to truly knowing how Chicago works. There is:


And now, there is Jeff Coen's Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob.


Thanks to John Kass

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Mob of His Own: Mad Sam DeStefano and the Chicago Mob's "Juice" Rackets

The true story of one of Chicago's most sadistic murderers who killed for power, money and pleasure. Sam "Mad Dog" DeStefano controlled the flow of money on Chicago's streets backed by the Chicago mob, he became a multimillionaire by squeezing the "juice" out of his victims. This book details the life of Mad Sam and describes the sick methods he used to kill. This book also explores Chicago's Italian mob and what was commonly known as the "juice" rackets, loan sharking, and shylocking.

A Mob of His Own: Mad Sam DeStefano and the Chicago Mob's "Juice" Rackets, explains the rackets in full detail as well as the men who made a living at killing and destroying lives.

When You Get Serious About Tailgating


Crime Family Index