Raised in a South Boston housing project, James "Whitey" Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow Whitey’s extraordinary criminal career - from teenage thievery to bank robberies to the building of his underworld empire and a string of brutal murders.
It was after a nine-year stint in Alcatraz and other prisons that Whitey reunited with his brother William "Billy" Bulger, who was soon to become one of Massachusetts’s most powerful politicians. He also became reacquainted with John Connolly, who had grown up around the corner from the Bulgers and was now - with Billy’s help - a rising star at the FBI. Once Whitey emerged triumphant from the bloody Boston gang wars, Connolly recruited him as an informant against the Mafia. Their clandestine relationship made Whitey untouchable; the FBI overlooked gambling, drugs, and even homicide to protect their source. Among the close-knit Irish community in South Boston, nothing was more important than honor and loyalty, and nothing was worse than being a rat. Whitey is charged with the deaths of 19 people killed over turf, for business, and even for being informants; yet to this day he denies he ever gave up his friends or landed anyone in jail.
©2013 Globe Newspaper Company, Inc. (P)2013 Recorded Books
I could barely finish this book. I'm familiar with Boston and Whitey Bulger, but for some reason this book just could not spark my interest. I feel like everything I read was the same old thing. Boring.
Just started listening to audiobooks and have found I really love them! I mostly listen when I run/walk but am now adding other activities.
I'm not sure what would have made this book better, but I consistently lost interest. I tried and tried to get through this book but just couldn't.
This book has turned me off of other books in this genre, unfortunately.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
It took me half a year to listen my way through Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy's "Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him To Justice" (2012). I was just plain out-and-out bored by the exhaustive detail - but intrigued enough to keep listening. James Colby's narration was perfect Boston and Irish, so that wasn't the problem. The problem: well, once you set aside the horrific crimes, Whitey was just a parochial, unimaginative businessman. Early on, he found a way to make money and kept doing basically the same thing over and over - extortion - until he was forced to stop.
Business is a way of creating a lasting empire. Walter Isaacson wrote the acclaimed, authorized biography "Steve Jobs" in 2011 in detail as minute as Cullen and Murphy did, but Bulger is no Jobs. Jobs literally changed the way people think with Apple. Bill Gates Microsoft is important, but Gates' crowning achievement is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with its fight against endemics like malaria and Ebola. Whitey made his own run at the world order by funding arms shipments to the Irish Republican Army, but funding a war? Immortality without morality is an empty construct.
Whitey's kingdom was geographically limited to 'Southie' (South Boston) and the FBI. Whitey probably had more control over good portions of the FBI from 1987 - 1993 than its director, William Sessions, did. Whitey was an informant who operated his criminal enterprise with impunity while the FBI focused on taking down the Mafia. Actually, impunity isn't the right word. Immunity? Assistance? Encouragement?
Whitey's connections were impeccable - his brother, Bill Bulger, was the Massachusetts Senate President. Brother Jack was highly placed in the state court system. When Whitey was eventually indicted, the entire family stuck together. Loyalty had it's cost: Bill lost his job, and Jack his hard earned government pension. Whitey remained a fugitive while his brothers lost what they'd spent their lives working for.
Whitey and his long-time companion, Catherine Greig were finally captured, after a decade 'on the lam', in a rent controlled apartment in Santa Monica in 2011. They lived the lives of quiet retirees, careful with their money, and kind to their neighbors. The contrast was stark, and the complete change from blatant extortionist to pensioner on a limited income is why they hid in plain sight for so long.
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Why ever would I do that?
While I do not wish to glamorize what Bulger did in his crime-centered existence, I must say that he was a cool cat. Loyal to his parents, brother and immediate "families." Whitey did have his principles - Sunday was a thug-free day. He adhered to the mobster code that bystanders and children were never to be hurt.
For me, when Whitey, gun in hand, looked through a front-facing window of a rival's house, drew down on the man, but smiled and walked away instead. He passed up on an easy kill because there was a child in the room with his nemesis.
I have not. What a gem I have missed.I greatly admire James Colby's credibility in his reading. It's as if either Bulger is telling the story, his FBI "handlers" or other gangsters. Colby was a perfect fit for this book. My next step is to search Audible for books read by Mr. Colby.
Irish wiseguy ... I have no clue. Wiseguy offs other wiseguys (who need killing)?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Engrossed and hooked from the first chapter.
Very good book and interesting subject matter. Read with just the right tone, and excellent skill. Like a "who done it" mystery, but real life.
I've read Rifleman about Stevie Flemmie and that was good background to this book. Being from Massachusetts I'm fascinated by this subject.
I wish I could, but too long.
Good read/listen. I recommend it highly.
"Gangsters and guns - A real life story."
It seems that the successful American Boston family had a Polititian and a ne'er do well. A policeman and a gangster. And Whitey Bulger's was no different. I was amazed to see he was still active right up into the recent past! Only in June 2012, at 83 he was in Court on numerous counts of murder.
This is a man who's past had to catch up with him. His life as a gangster in the 50's and 60's in Boston was not for the faint hearted and the biggest surprise is that the Feds. took so long to get him permanently in prison.
A great book and really well narrated. Thank you.
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