With political corruption on one side and deadly force on the other, the Bulgers shared a diabolic and destructive alliance for decades. James "Whitey" Bulger, the "bad" son, blazed a murderous trail to become Boston's most feared mobster and remains one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives. William "Billy" Bulger, the "good" son, wielded the gavel as president of the Massachusetts State Senate and the University of Massachusetts, but was eventually forced from both positions. The parallel stories of these two brothers, rich in anecdote and shocking in their revelations, read like an unholy hybrid of All the King's Men and The Godfather.
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"Compelling." (Publishers Weekly)
"A classic, seamy portrait of widespread moral turpitude, conveyed with crackling Boston-Irish sarcasm." (Kirkus Reviews)
I bought this book because I heard bob Edwards interview the author. I thought it was very interesting, but hearing about the book was much better than actually listening to the book. First of all, the narrator is extremely annoying. He sounds like he's trying just a bit too hard to sound like a professional. Secondly, the book is very hard to follow. It might be easier in print, but listening to it gets a bit confusing because it jumps around chronologically, plus most of the characters have cartoonish mob nicknames that I had a hard time keeping straight. That's of course unavoidable, since it's non-fiction, and maybe that's just my taxed brain, but the fact is that I'm disappointed in this book. I think what could have been a really interesting story is bogged down in details. I think it would probably be much better in an abridged version, though I wouldn't want to listen to that either if it were the same narrator.
For what it is, a factual account of the Bulgers, this was a good story. I only read this book because Whitey was arrested recently and I wanted to learn more about the Bulgers. It is always insightful to see how the "network" works. Always disappointing to see how supposed Catholics behave (yes, I am Catholic) in the infamous Massachusetts subculture. The narrator reminded me of the Laugh-in radio announcer character played by Gary Owens. I'd love to add an image here, but cannot. For those old enough to recall, this announcer was the over the top, take yourself just a little too serious announcer. Anyway, I finished the book, but it was not enjoyable, just informational.
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