Book picks similar to
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston
Chin: The Life and Crimes of Mafia Boss Vincent Gigante
Larry McShane - 2016
Vinnie "Chin" Gigante displayed signs of insanity that stunned the public, stymied the police and the FBI, and secured his power for decades. Was he really crazy? Or crazy like a fox?Vincent "Chin" Gigante. He started out as a professional boxer--until he found his true calling as a ruthless contract killer. His doting mother's pet name for the boy evolved into his famous alias, "Chin," a nickname that struck fear throughout organized crime as he routinely ordered the murders of mobsters who violated the Mafia code--including a contract put out on Gambino family boss John Gotti. Vincent Gigante was hand-picked by Vito Genovese to run the Genovese Family when Vito was sent to prison. Chin raked in more than $100 million for the Genovese family, all while evading federal investigators. At the height of his power, he controlled an underworld empire of close to three hundred made men, extending from New York's Little Italy to the docks of Miami to the streets of Philadelphia--making the Genovese Family the most powerful in the U.S. And yet Vincent "Chin" Gigante was, to all outside appearances, certifiably crazy. A serial psychiatric hospital outpatient, he wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in a ratty bathrobe and slippers, sometimes adding a floppy cap to complete the ensemble. He urinated in public, played pinochle in storefronts, and hid a second family from his wife. On twenty-two occasions, he admitted himself to a mental hospital--evading criminal prosecution while insuring his continued reign as "The Oddfather." It took nearly thirty years of endless psychiatric evaluations by a parade of puzzled doctors for federal authorities to finally bring him down.This is an American Mafia story unlike any other--a strange and shocking account of one man's rise to power that's as every bit as colorful and bizarre as the man himself.
The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Biggest Single Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast
Tim White - 2016
14, 1975, eight daring thieves ransacked 148 massive safe-deposit boxes at a secret bank used by organized crime, La Cosa Nostra, and its associates in Providence, R.I. The crooks fled with duffle bags crammed full of cash, gold, silver, stamps, coins, jewels and high-end jewelry. The true value of the loot has always been kept secret, partly because it was ill-gotten to begin with, and partly because there was plenty of incentive to keep its true worth out of the limelight. It's one thing for authorities to admit they didn't find a trace of goods worth from $3 million to $4 million, and entirely another when what was at stake was more accurately valued at about $30 million, the equivalent of $120 million today. It was the biggest single payday in the criminal history of the Northeast. Nobody came close, not the infamous James "Whitey" Bulger, not John "The Dapper Don" Gotti, not even the Brinks or Wells Fargo robbers. The heist was bold enough and big enough to rock the underworld to its core, and it left La Cosa Nostra in the region awash in turmoil that still reverberates more than forty years later. Last Good Heist is the inside story of the robbery and its aftermath.
The Quiet Don: The Untold Story of Mafia Kingpin Russell Bufalino
Matt Birkbeck - 2012
His reach extended far beyond the coal country of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and quaint Amish farms near Lancaster. Bufalino had a hand in global, national, and local politics of the largest American cities, many of its major industries, and controlled the powerful Teamsters Union. His influence also reached the highest levels of Pennsylvania government and halls of Congress, and his legacy left a culture of corruption that continues to this day. A uniquely American saga that spans six decades, The Quiet Don follows Russell Bufalino’s remarkably quiet ascent from Sicilian immigrant to mob soldier to a man described by a United States Senate subcommittee in 1964 as “one of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States.”
Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa
James Neff - 2015
From 1957 to 1964, Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa channeled nearly all of their considerable powers into destroying each other. Kennedy's battle with Hoffa burst into the public consciousness with the 1957 Senate Rackets Committee hearings and intensified when his brother named him attorney general in 1961. RFK put together a "Get Hoffa" squad within the Justice Department, devoted to destroying one man. But Hoffa, with nearly unlimited Teamster funds, was not about to roll over. Drawing upon a treasure trove of previously secret and undisclosed documents, James Neff has crafted a brilliant, heart-pounding epic of crime and punishment, a saga of venom and relentlessness and two men willing to do anything to demolish each other.
Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live: Oswald, Kennedy, and the Conspiracy that Will Not Die
Steven M. Gillon - 2013
Kennedy? This riveting companion to the upcoming History Channel documentary follows Oswald in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, searching for the answers to the questions that have troubled America for a half century: Did he actually pull the trigger? Was he alone? And if so, why? Steven M. Gillon, Scholar-in-Residence at the History Channel, explores the possibility that Cuban intelligence officials may have encouraged Oswald to commit the crime and promised to help him escape. Gillon recreates in painstaking detail the long interrogation sessions and reveals that many of the police officers who witnessed the sessions were convinced that Oswald had received special training. He was simply too good at deflecting questions, too smart, too confident. With new information from recently declassified documents, and revealing photos and documents, these pages offer a refreshingly new and complicated portrait of the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise
David Kushner - 2019
Only 5 percent of Americans were using the internet at the time, and even fewer were looking online for love. He quickly bought the Sex.com domain too, betting the combination of love and sex would help propel the internet into the mainstream. Imagine Kremen’s surprise when he learned that someone named Stephen Michael Cohen had stolen the rights to Sex.com and was already making millions that Kremen would never see. Thus follows the wild true story of Kremen’s and Cohen’s decade-long battle for control. In The Players Ball, author and journalist David Kushner provides a front seat to these must-read Wild West years online, when innovators and outlaws battled for power and money. This cat-and-mouse game between a genius and a con man changed the way people connect forever, and is key to understanding the rise and future of the online world. “Kushner delivers a fast-paced, raunchy tale of sex, drugs, and dial-up.” —Publishers Weekly
Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker
Doug J. Swanson - 2014
From a Texas backwater, Binion rose to prominence on a combination of vision, determination, and brutal expediency. His formula was simple: run a good business, cultivate the big boys, kill your enemies, and own the cops. Through a mix of cold-bloodedness, native intelligence, folksiness, and philanthropy, Binion became one of the most revered figures in the history of gambling, and his showmanship, shrewdness, and violence would come to dominate the Vegas scene. Veteran journalist Doug J. Swanson uses once-secret government documents and dogged reporting to show how Binion destroyed his rivals and outsmarted his adversaries—including J. Edgar Hoover. As fast paced as any thriller, Blood Aces tells a story that is unmatched in the annals of American criminal justice, a vital yet untold piece of this country’s history.
Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays' Reign of Terror
Tony Lambrianou - 1991
He had a unique insight into the workings of a criminal organization whose reputation in the underworld remains to this day. But he was not just an observer and his role in the Kray story ultimately led to him serving 15 years in prison. Inside the Firm tells, with searing honesty, his violent history with the Krays, and the horrors of his subsequent imprisonment in top security institutions. In exorcising his ghosts, he reveals an account that is more impartial and more terrifying than Ronnie and Reggie ever could have written. From the murder of Jack "The Hat" McVitie—and the mystery of his undiscovered body—to the role of the Kray legacy in Britain’s prisons today, here is the last confession of a gangster determined to turn his back on his brutal past.
The President Street Boys: Growing Up Mafia
Frank DiMatteo - 2016
Frankie Shots. Joseph "Little Lolly Pop" Carna. Larry "Big Lolly Pop" Carna. Salvatore "Sally Boy" Marinelli. Johnny Tarzan. Louie Pizza. Sally D, Bobby B, Roy Roy, and Punchy.They were THE PRESIDENT STREET BOYS of Brooklyn, New York.Frank Dimatteo was born into a family of mob hitmen. His father and godfather were shooters and bodyguards for infamous Mafia legends, the Gallo brothers. His uncle was a capo in the Genovese crime family and bodyguard to Frank Costello. Needless to say, DiMatteo saw and heard things that a boy shouldn't see or hear.He knew everybody in the neighborhood. And they knew him. . .and his family. And does he have some wild stories to tell. . .From the old-school Mafia dons and infamous "five families" who called all the shots, to the new-breed "independents" of the ballsy Gallo gang who didn't answer to nobody, Dimatteo pulls no punches in describing what it's really like growing up in the mob. Getting his cheeks pinched by Crazy Joe Gallo until tears came down his face. Dropping out of school and hanging gangster-style with the boys on President Street. Watching the Gallos wage an all-out war against wiseguys with more power, more money, more guns. And finally, revealing the shocking deathbed confessions that will blow the lid off the sordid deeds, stunning betrayals, and all-too-secret history of the American Mafia.Originally self-published as Lion in the BasementRaves For THE PRESIDENT STREET BOYS: Growing Up Mafia "Frankie D was born and raised in this life--and he's still alive and still free. They don't come any sharper then Frankie D. A real gangster story. Read this book!" --Nicky "Slick" DiPietro, New York City"I know Frankie D from when i was a kid living in South Brooklyn. It was hard reading about my father, Gennaro "Chitoz" Basciano, but I knew it was the truth. Frankie's book is dead on the money--I couldn't put it down." --Eddie Basciano, somewhere in Florida"It's been forty years since I've been with Frankie D doing our thing on President Street. This book was like a flashback, Frankie D nails it from beginning to the end. Bravo, from one of the President Street Boys." --Anthony "Goombadiel" DeLuca, Brooklyn, New York"As a neighborhood kid I grew up around President Street and know firsthand the lure of 'the life' as a police officer and as a kid that escaped the lure. I can tell you the blind loyalty that the crews had for their bosses--unbounded, limitless, and dangerous. As the Prince of President Street, Frank Dimatteo, is representative of a lost generation of Italian Americans. If any of this crew had been given a fair shot at the beginning they would have been geniuses in their chosen field." --Joseph "Giggy" Gagliardo, Retired DEA Agent, New York City"The President Street Boys takes me back as if it was a time machine. Its authenticity is compelling reading for those interested in what things were really like in those mob heydays; not some author's formulation without an inkling of what was going on behind the scenes. I loved the book because I was there, and know for sure readers will love it too." --Sonny Girard, author of Blood of Our Fathers and Sins of Our Sons
The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer
Anthony Bruno - 1993
Using guns, knives, poison, ice picks, tire irons, baseball bats, and bombs, the family man from New Jersey killed for fun, for money, to cover up his own crimes, and to satisfy his inner rage. Law enforcement officials knew all about Kuklinski and had a list of his victims, but couldn’t get near him—until undercover agent Dominick Polifrone posed as a mobster and began a deadly game of cat and mouse. In this harrowing true-crime account, Anthony Bruno delves into the mind of a cold-blooded killer, chronicling the Iceman’s grisly crimes and probing the bizarre dynamics of Agent Polifrone’s dangerous liaison with him. For as Polifrone carefully built up a case against Kuklinksi, he knew he was running out of time—because the Iceman was planning to kill him too.
Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend
Deirdre Bair - 2016
Born in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, to poor, Italian immigrant parents, Al Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history. In 1925, during the height of Prohibition, Capone's multi-million-dollar Chicago bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling operation dominated the organized-crime scene. His competition with rival gangs was brutally violent, a long-running war that crested with the shocking St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929. Through it all, and despite the best efforts of law enforcement and the media elite, Capone remained above the fray. Federal income-tax evasion was the strongest charge that could be made to stick, and in 1931 he was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. After serving six-and-a-half years, mostly in Alcatraz, a severely impaired Capone, badly damaged by neurosyphillis, was released to live out his final years with his family in Miami. From his heyday to the present moment, Al Capone's life has gripped the public imagination, and his gangster persona has been immortalized in the countless movies and books inspired by his exploits. But who was the man behind the legend? Capone loved to tell tall tales that perpetuated his mystique; newspapers loved him and frequently embellished or fabricated stories about him to sell copies. While some remember him as fundamentally kind and good, others speak of how frightening he was, a vicious, cold-blooded killer. Was Al really such a quotable wit? Did he really shower the poor with hundred-dollar bills and silver dollars from the window of his bulletproof car? Did he really keep a bevy of mistresses ensconced in his hotel headquarters in Chicago? Writing with exclusive access to Capone's descendants, Deirdre Bair finally gets at the truth behind this eternally fascinating man, who was equal parts charismatic mobster, doting father, and calculating monster.
Doing the Business - The Final Confession of the Senior Kray Brother
Charlie Kray - 2011
Only one man knew everything about Ronnie and Reggie Kray and that was their brother Charlie. Until now nobody has ever revealed the truth about the Firm.- Gossip and rumor have been rife, fact has blended into fiction and the unwritten law of the street meant that the real story was buried. But before his death, the eldest Kray brother, Charlie, decided to set the record straight once and for all. Revealing everything to Colin Fry, his co-author, he finally told his incredible story. By the man who knew them best, this is the ultimate history of the twins who ruled the East End with their peculiar blend of seductive glamour and terrifying violence.
The Grit in the Pearl: The Scandalous Life of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll
Lyndsy Spence - 2019
Born Ethel Margaret Whigham, the only child of a Scottish self-made millionaire and a beautiful high-society woman, her childhood was rich and splendid – but empty. She was a daddy’s girl with an absent father, living with a jealous mother who sought to remind Margaret of her every shortcoming. As she grew up, her name was a byword for class and beauty; she was the debutante of her coming-out year, and her marriage to Charles Sweeny literally stopped traffic.But it was not to last: Margaret needed more.What followed was a story of tragedy, scandal and heartbreak as Margaret swung from lover to lover, society to society. This culminated in her notorious divorce case of 1963, where her soon-to-be-ex-husband produced his pie`ce de résistance: a Polaroid of her in a compromising position with two other men.In The Grit in the Pearl, Lyndsy Spence takes a look at a woman who was ahead of her time. Using previously unpublished sources and personal transcripts, this is the story of a fragile woman who was to come up against the very highest echelons of English high society – and lose.
Bitter Almonds: The True Story of Mothers, Daughters, and the Seattle Cyanide Murders
Gregg Olsen - 1993
In 1986, her biggest one came true when her husband died during a seizure, making her the beneficiary of a $175,000-plus insurance payoff—until authorities discovered Bruce Nickell's headache capsules had been laced with cyanide. In an attempt to cover her tracks, Stella did the unconscionable. She saw to it that a stranger would also become a "random casualty" of cyanide-tainted painkillers. But Stella's cunning plan came undone when her daughter Cynthia notified federal agents. And troubling questions lingered like the secret of bitter almonds...What would turn a gregarious barfly like Stella into a cold-hearted killer overnight? Why would Cynthia, a mirror image of her mother, turn on her own flesh and blood? Did Cynthia reveal everything she knew about the crimes? The stunning answers would unfold in a case that sparked a national uproar, dug deep into a troubled family history, and exposed an American mother for the pretty poison she was.Gregg Olsen's Bitter Almonds is true crime writing at its best.