For the first twenty-five years of his career, Lucky Luciano was a vicious mobster who became the king of the New York underworld. For the next twenty-five, he was a fake, his reputation maintained by government agents. Boardwalk Gangster follows him from his early days as a hit man to his sex and narcotics empires, exposing the truth about what he did to help the Allies in World War II, and revealing how he really spent his twilight years.
Drawing on secret government documents in the United States and Europe, this myth-busting biography tells a story that has never been told before--in which the American Mafia becomes entangled with foreign war and Cold War conspiracy.
Throughout the late eighties and nineties, a gang of young Asian refugees cut a bloody swath through New York's Chinatown. They were the lost children of the Vietnam War, severed from their families by violence and cast adrift in a strange land. Banding together under the leadership of a megalomaniacal young psychopath, David Thai, they took their name from a slogan they had seen on helicopters and the helmets of U.S. soldiers: "Born to Kill." For a decade their empire was unassailable, built on a foundation of fear, ruthlessness, and unimaginable brutality--until one courageous gang brother helped bring it down from the inside.
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.
Journalist Marc Songini presents the brutal and bloody history of Boston's organized crime syndicates in the 1960s and 70s through the life of gangster Joseph Barboza.
The New England Mafia was a hugely powerful organization that survived by using violence to ruthlessly crush anyone that threatened it, or its lucrative gambling, loansharking, bootlegging and other enterprises. And psychopathic strongman Joseph "The Animal" Barboza was one of the most feared mob enforcers of all time, killing as many as thirty people for business and pleasure.
From information based on declassified documents and the use of underworld sources, Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer spans the gutters and alleyways of East Boston, Providence and Charlestown to the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. and Boston's Beacon Hill. Its players include governors and mayors, and the Mafia Commission of New York City. From the tragic legacy of the Kennedy family to the Winter Hill-Charlestown feud, the fall of the New England Mafia and the rise of Whitey Bulger, Songini's account is a saga of treachery, murder, greed, and the survival of ruthless men pitted against legal systems and police forces.
I grew up in the Old Colony housing project in South Boston and became partners with James "Whitey" Bulger, who I always called Jimmy.
Jimmy and I, we were unstoppable. We took what we wanted. And we made people disappear--permanently. We made millions. And if someone ratted us out, we killed him. We were not nice guys.
I found out that Jimmy had been an FBI informant in 1999, and my life was never the same. When the feds finally got me, I was faced with something Jimmy would have killed me for--cooperating with the authorities. I pled guilty to twenty-nine counts, including five murders. I went away for five and a half years.
I was brutally honest on the witness stand, and this book is brutally honest, too; the brutal truth that was never before told. How could it? Only three people could tell the true story. With one on the run and one in jail for life, it falls on me.
I grew up in the Old Colony housing project in South Boston, a tough, working class, mostly Irish neighborhood. I went from being a Golden Gloves boxer to a bouncer in a popular Southie bar called Triple O's. I got into many fights, knocked out a lot of people, and got noticed by one person in particular. People paid him a great deal of respect, came to him with their problems. Sure, I knew who he was. I'd heard stories. He was tough. He could be vicious. He ran the rackets in Southie. His name was James "Whitey" Bulger, although I always called him Jimmy.
In 1982 I went with Jimmy full time. We became partners, running legitimate businesses and some not-so-legitimate businesses. Basically, we were gangsters. We took what we wanted. We shook down drug dealers, bookmakers, like that. What were they gonna do -- go to the police? We beat people up; shot and stabbed them. And we made people disappear -- permanently. We were smart -- experts at avoiding microphones and cameras. We made millions through extortion and loan sharking and protection. And if someone ratted us out, we killed him. We were not nice guys.
I was there when Jimmy went on the lam in 1994 and I was his contact after he'd left Boston for good. With Jimmy gone, I ran things. Shortly before my own arrest in 1999, I found out that Jimmy had been an FBI informant even before I entered the scene. My life was never the same.
When the feds finally got me, I found myself faced with something Jimmy would have killed me for -- cooperating with the authorities.
Do I have any regrets? Nah, not really -- only that I should have spent more time with my wife and sons. But I've got a second chance now, and I gotta tell what happened -- what really happened. It's a lot different from what you read in the newspapers.
I was brutally honest on the witness stand, and this book is brutally honest, too -- the brutal truth that was never before told. How could it? Only three people could tell the true story. With one on the run and one in jail for life, it falls on me.