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5.0 out of 5 starsMy Rating is Five Stars!
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2018
First of all I am originally from Rhode Island. Second I am Italian American and born in Providence during the boom years of the Cosa Nostra. I remember Jerry Tillinghast and all of his associates. I was a big fan of Crimetown. I have read all the books about organized crime in the Southeastern New England area. Some I have read more than once. I read Jerry's book in one day. I could not put it down. I know people who have seen and been around Jerry since he got out of Prison. They all say that he is a gentleman. I have heard him speak on a few occasions and he is very well spoken and intelligent. If you are into Organized Crime you will notice a lot of the book is about things that are already known. If you are not from the area you may not be as interested as someone like myself. The book is not a bunch of B. S. I remember those days. Whenever I went to Federal Hill I behaved my self and minded my own business. Jerry was, shall we say, "The Real Deal". There is no doubt about that. But I do have to say that after listening to Jerry speak and reading his book that I believe he is being sincere. Especially about his brother Harold.
5.0 out of 5 starsTerrific book by a man who was there!
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2019
Joe Broadmeadow paints a portrait of a man who has been there and back again, who very nearly lost it all, and yet was able to maintain his dignity throughout his dealings in a very undignified world. Jerry isn't a saint, and he's very up front about his life, but in coming clean, perhaps he is able to reclaim some of the humanity so many of his fellows in the underworld lose completely. We all know the stories of the sadistic men in the mob--the Steven Flemmis, the Sam DeStefanos, the Thomas Piteras--but Jerry wasn't that sort. He was a hard man, and did bad things, but through it all, he maintained the fundamental sense of right and wrong that none of the men of his tradition adhere to. Jerry's code of silence, basically his honor, was his entire undoing, first in Vietnam, and later in Providence.
The book follows Tillinghast's life, from growing up in Providence to heading off to the Marine Corps. It reads somewhat like Pat Nee's story. In Vietnam, Jerry became enmeshed in one of the awful tragic situations that would come to characterize that war, and despite the objections of many high ranking officers who spoke in his favor, Jerry was made a scapegoat, and in a way, his fate was sealed. When so many doors in a young man's life are closed to him before he has even begun, when he is labeled a criminal tight out of the gate, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Broadmeadow takes great pains to illustrate that criminal behavior often comes from somewhere, it isn't spontaneously generated.
Jerry's resourcefulness and work ethic helped him rise through the ranks in the Patriarca Office-- criminals appreciate a little hustle and hard work un the youngsters. His "random" proximity to a hell of a lot of murders is disheartening, but criminals do criminal things, and then they are less than honest about it. Jerry's story is about as close to honesty as one will get from someone in 'the life'.
And then there's the inevitable fall. The truth that wasn't covered in Crimetown, and you've got to read every last page to get to it, but it's a gut punch.
Jerry lived the life. He rose a criminal, and he fell a criminal, and like so many criminals, he took others with him: his brother, his children, his wives...they all suffered as a result of Jerry's actions, but to his credit, he tried to make up for it. With mixed results, he tried to look after his children, same for his second wife. He could have done more for his brother, but his brother got him started to begin with, so turn around, I suppose. This book is not an exoneration or a pardon. Jerry did bad things, and bad things were done to him. He put himself in a position where he could fall, and he fell, but as he says, it was his choice. Rarely do men like Jerry take responsibility for (most) of their actions like Jerry is, and it makes for a refreshing book. The writing has a few weak points, but it is difficult to write a story as someone else narrates, so Broadmeadow is to be forgiven. He has chosen an interesting subject, and this is a hell of a good book.
5.0 out of 5 starsSEMPER Fi Always Faithful, Always Loyal
Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2018
Choices, very well written with a good flow and rhythm. I received the book yesterday afternoon, began reading and didn’t put the book down, my “Choice” read cover to cover!! I’m from Rhode Island born in Providence raised in Warwick. I am 10 years younger than Jerry. For me I could visualize the streets and landmarks as I read. Couple of the persons mentioned mothers house had adjoining backyards, from my house. Over Her bushes was a homerun when we played whiffle ball as kids. As said in the book in Rhode Island there is only one degree of separation. Jerry Tillinghast and others named in the book were all well known names growing up in RI What I didn’t know, was that Jerry is a Marine!! As a fellow Marine I thought it was spot on description! Marine Corps Birthday coming up 10 November is a reminder of Jerry’s unwavering loyalty as The Marine Corps Motto SEMPER Fi; ALWAYS FAITHFUL! Jerry choices; SEMPER Fi; Always Faithful or Always Loyal even to his detriment. Must read for Rhode Islanders and non Rhode Islanders alike!!! Intriguing, interesting well written!! Can’t wait for the movie!