©2008 Philip Carlo; (P)2008 Tantor
I was looking for some insight into mob history in the United States. This book has some of that, but it was so biased towards Anthony Casso it was ridiculous. It got to the point where I thought the author had some sort man-crush on this guy. The narrator was fine, but I would not recommend this book.
The author, childhood friend of the subject, spends most of the book idolizing Gaspipe. Instead of a portrait of a low-life criminal and murderer (Gaspipe was both) we get a glossy picture of a "man of honor". The author glosses over the facts and insists that gaspipe is some sort of hero simply because he stayed married, refrained from killing too many people directly in his own neighborhood and managed to bribe his way out of legal trouble for a while. Aside from this, the writing is terrible. The author reuses certain phrases to the point of distraction.
Gaspipe uses the author to tell his cherished view of his life. This is more like an autobiography. In this story Gaspipe is a criminal's criminal. He's loyal to his loving family, always keeps his word, protector of the downtrodden, and devoted to the rules of omerta. The author seems oblivious that this gold plated presentation runs contrary to the very facts he presents. Gaspipe is a vicious narcissistic murderer who in the end screws everybody he comes in contact with. He unfaithful to his personal family, his crime family, and his closest friends. Like Sammy Gravono's book, he presents himself as a victim of those that ratted him out. So he rats them out too, Omerta be damned. But you ignore the self-serving fluff the book is quite listenable to. In its favor is it names names & dates and does show the inner machination of the mafia world. If you are an aficionado of the NY families it doesn't break much new ground.
A well written book is a gem.
The writing in this book is superlatively bad. Was there an editor who read this? I don't think so. An English teacher would have rejected this by the first chapter. Words like trite, and every synonym you can use for trite will dance through your head as you read this thing: cliche' commonplace, hack, tired, stale, stereotyped, boilerplate. In the end just plain lazy and unimaginative descriptions. Several characters are described as shy but well dressed. When I read, "He shot him to death several times." I wondered how bad can this thing get?
Turns out pretty bad.
The narration is just ok. I lost faith in the narrator. He should have stopped at several points and said "Are you kidding me?" and then continued. But he plodded through it with a deadpan resolve. I plodded through all it the way to the end too. I suppose the story is interesting, it's just done very awkwardly. Bring your mental highlighter so you can remember the low points - amazing.
Putting books on the back burner.
After reading The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, a few years ago, I was looking forward for more Philip Carlo's writing, but it seems like he is one hit wonder with The Ice Man. The author doesn't really go in depth with Gaspipe and his other book, The Butcher. Unlike his first debut best seller (Richard Kuklinski's story), it seems like he wrote the two latter books just because to fulfill his contract with the publisher . Unlike The Ice Man, there is no compelling reason to read Gaspipe and his other titles.
I will probably be giving up on this author because the lack of enthusiasm shows in his writing.
After reading my review on Gaspipe, you should know which book you should be reading from this author and which books to avoid.
I won't be reading anything else from Carlo in the future, but Kuklinski's story is a must read.
José M. Batista
This is an engaging tale with fascinating characters - and nicknames to boot - and a superb narration.I only found it lacking when explaining why Gaspipe converted into a rat.
Entertaining and informative. Author writes the book more like an auto-biography vs that of an objective biography. However, it still provides interesting story lines about organized crime syndicates, mob life, and the government's treatment of the subject after his capture. Personally, I could not bring myself to empathize with Casso's reported 'unfair' treatment at the hands of the government given his life of crime. Ultimately, Casso's chickens come home to roost in a way you do not wish upon anyone. The book was worth the credit!
The book takes you into the inner sanctum of the mafia. From the start of Gaspipe's career to the very end when he turns on the LCN.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 12-year-old daughter.
I, like many others, am fascinated by the inner workings of La Cosa Nostra. Although the late author gives us some revealing, behind-the-scenes views, his writing style leaves much to be desired. He would tell us something and then, a few minutes or pages later, he would tell us the same thing. Did he forget that he already mentioned what had transpired? He also made some assumptions (such as what someone was thinking moments before his death) that he had no way of knowing. Most readers will likely be conflicted at the end wondering whether to feel sorry for Casso or thinking that he got exactly what he deserved. I believe he got what he deserved, but that doesn't excuse the methods applied by law enforcement if, in fact, they acted in the manner described by Carlo. If you like stories about the Mafia you will probably enjoy this book.
An amazing story about a man's journey through the innerworkings of the NY Mafia with names most people will remember from the headlines. I thought this was an excellent account of what it really takes to become a made man. In the end, I thought Gaspipe ended up sounding a little sympathetic but then I remembered all of the people he admitted to "taking care of" and I got over it.
If you loved the Henry Hill story, mob or Mafia movies or tales of secret societies, you'll enjoy this enthralling story of life in the mob.
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