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Publisher's Summary

According to the Encyclopedia of American Crime, "Perhaps the most important criminal conference of the American underworld was held during three days in May 1929 in Atlantic City", during which "the overlords of American crime discussed their future plans" at an event that was "earthshaking in its effect on the development of American crime syndicates". 

It's a great tale starring Al Capone, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Nucky Johnson, who inspired Boardwalk Empire. This story has everything...with maybe one small exception. A great addition to the Mob Lit library, told with truth and sparkling wit.

©2016 William Tonelli (P)2018 William Tonelli

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The facts about a famous meeting.

This is a well researched account of a often cited Mob meeting.The writer and the Narrator tell an
interesting story about this gathering.

Anyone who enjoys these types of stories with characters related to organized crime will appreciate
this book.



This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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La Cosa Nostra

First let me say that I loved this book. I'm a huge mafia and organized crime fan. This quick listen goes into detail attempting to separate the facts from the B.S. I have read and listened to many books on organized crime and thought that my knowledge base was pretty sound. However, after listening to this book I found myself wanting.

The narrator did a phenomenal job in narrating this book. His ability to change his accent to match that of the characters in the book I found to be outstanding.

If you're a fan of Goodfellas, Boardwalk Empire, Mobsters, or any of the many other movies and television shows out there, then I highly recommend you get this book.

I requested this free review copy and have chosen to leave a review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A short history of a photo

I find the mob to be a fascinating subject. That being said the tantalizing blurb about a secret mob meeting in Atlantic City in 1929 with al Capone and many other mobsters was just more than I could resist. That being said I found the story to leave me seeking more (in a good way). The author uses this story to not only present the 1929 meeting but to debunk it, pick at it, theorize on it and point you into many directions that it could be. There are numerous accounts of the meeting and who was there and what was covered. Listen and look into it and come to your own conclusions. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 05-14-18

True Lies

In 1929 all the organised crime bosses from across America met in Altantic City to carve up the nation and agree to terms with one another... or maybe they didn't. Bill Tonelli examines the history of this fateful meeting and the claims (most written decades later) about what happened, who was there etc. And his conclusion is that while something happened, it's not the giant meetup that it is made out to be. Oft quoted sources have for decades been debunked, yet are still used. Contemporary articles from the period of the meeting don't give the impression of anything like what the common belief is (did the reports not notice the other 50 mob bosses there when they reported?). Maybe the 1929 story is, like many gangster stories, a large lie that no one disputed, because it worked well for reputations to it to appear true.

Bill Tonelli writes in an extremely conversational tone, that seems almost out of place with the investigative work being done by him. The structure is a little strange, book ending with a discussion of the cover photo - another event that is in question. The first half is basically a textual analysis of other books and places where this has been written about, pointing out faults and errors. The last half is the author putting together what he believes actually did happen, based on the information he could uncover.

An interesting book, well worth the time. It was very well researched.

Narration by Kevin Gallagher is good. Well paced and easy to listen to. He does do voices, emotions etc. for the 'characters' and quotes in the book, which makes it really easy to follow what is the author and what is from quotes. It also makes for an entertaining read. I really liked his work for making a non fiction book come alive.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Read

Mob Fest '29: The True Story Behind the Birth of Organized Crime by Bill Tonelli was a good read. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This was a good take on what could have happened in 1929 at a meeting that could have been the birthplace of organized crime.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Solid narration, but weak conclusions

“Mob Fest ‘29” is the premiere audiobook release for Bill Tonelli available on Audible. It is a rather short book at just short of one and a half hours (1:24min to be exact) and covers details on a specific event in time where well-known mobsters met in Atlantic City to discuss their criminal activities. The book is well narrated by Kevin Gallagher; who I have reviewed three of his other performances. Let me say up front, I’m not an expert in early American crime nor is it one of my favorite genres. However, I found many parts of the book quite interesting and informative that it was worth my listen time. For me, the book opened more questions than it solved, but I will say that it piqued my interest in both these men along with the people who covered them and the police force of the day. If you are one who likes quick novella non-fiction mobster books, you may want to have a listen to this one.

When you have a group of criminals wanting to control prostitution, gambling, money laundering, and other non-legal endeavors, how do you do it? You call a meeting with the others and assign different roles and responsibilities; of course. In other words, you get organized. While listening to this book, I found it interesting that it took organization for what we call organized crime to be as successful as it was. Without meeting and agreeing on a level of organization, these crime bosses would never have achieved the success they had. Yet, as this book shows, crime does not pay as most, if not all, of these men either ended up in prison or dead. Not very good odds for what was perceived as a money making “business” venture. Not only are we given a view into these individuals and their crimes, but we are also shown that it was only successful because of some crooked authorities. There are also very different accounts because of poor or misguided journalism of the day. The author quotes other sources stating that nearly 75+ percent of the material we have relating to the early mob is either false or incorrectly stated. One good reason for this, the author states, is that people printing such salacious news would not face labial or slander changes from the criminal underground. It is similar to drug dealers who get robbed, they will often not report this activity to the authorities for fear of their illegal activity being uncovered.

I liked that the author covered some of the background on these mobster thugs and showed based on others research that most were of low IQ and often had quite bad spelling. We learn that much of the foundation of the US mob back in the 20s was due to the laws around alcohol prohibition. These men saw an opportunity to service the community by providing this forbidden beverage and saw a profit in it. Instead of fighting one another for various territories, the different groups decided it was best to form an alliance and divvy up parts of the US and assign them to the many members. This was all done at what is now the infamous Atlantic City Conference meeting. It was like with pirates, these men also had a code which each abided too, yet as we all know, you cannot trust a thief.

The book along with the research felt to me to be more like a school paper that was narrated to feel like a book. There were no real chapters or outline as the book was very short. It was simply broken down into two sections long with an included preface and epilogue section. The writing style seemed a bit less professional at times due to a few crass words that felt out of place in a researched piece. Words such a “crap” or “whoring” instead of replacing these with more professional words made me question some of the author’s word choice. These words were not a part of quoted material, so could have easily been subsisted for more acceptable words. The book felt a bit unfinished. I did not feel it had a stated premise nor did it fully address the many questions it raised or even more those that come after listening to the book.

The book’s narration was well done and professionally produced by Kevin Gallagher. He has a pleasant voice to listen to and even in this non-fiction piece he added a few elements of character accents when material was being quoted. The audio lacked any noticeable negative artifacts and I thought it was well paced for listening too. As stated earlier, I have enjoyed a few of his other works and they all have this high-quality production.

For parents and younger readers, this book is a piece non-fiction, however it does trace and quote a few portions where profanity is used. The author does not add any himself but be aware that it is included in the book’s narration. The book also discusses at a high level some topics which may not be appropriate for younger readers such as alcohol, criminal activity, and prostitution. I would recommend this book be read only by more mature audiences.

In summary, although the narration was top quality, I felt the piece lacked too many quantities to be considered a complete work on the subject. I can only assume volumes of information have been released on the subject matter (the author states from interviewing others that most is incorrect), yet there were few conclusions to the author’s covering of such a ground-breaking meeting. I felt that I was left with too many unanswered questions to recommend this book to anyone that is not someone versed in the subject matter. Like a said earlier, this subject matter is not one of my core competencies, so it might come down to requiring a pre-understanding of the items covered to fully comprehend and enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Busting myths like kneecaps

Tonelli's novel tells of the infamous event when mobsters from all over the country came to Atlantic City in 1929; a grouping now called "Mob Fest '29". Tonelli goes in depth on all the known details, the rumors, and the mythos surrounding what many consider to be, if not the birth of organized crime; or the christening.

Unfortunately, there's not much information to go on, so some of these events are unverified, or impossible to verify currently. But hey, what did you expect to know about the time a bunch of criminals all met up for a strategy session? Sadly, the knowledge of what truly happened may be lost forever, but Tonelli does a fine job of weaving all of the known facts and extrapolates what likely occurred.

**I was provided with a free promotional copy, at my request, and have voluntarily left a fair and honest review**

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great book

this is an excellent book. definitely enjoyed the inside look. would recommend to everyone. keep up the good work

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The truth...possibly?

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I would listen to another.
I found his conglomeration of facts, falsehoods, and references to other sources and writings and hypotheses intriguing. He does not try to tell us the “truth” about what happened, instead explains many of the contradictory stories and recollections and we can take from it what we will. His intent is not to prove or disprove and impart his theory, instead it’s to show inconsistencies and interest us to ask questions.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator and I would listen to another. He read this content well and even imparted different voices when personal recounts were quoted.

There are no explicit sex scenes or excessive violence. There is some quoted swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review

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Fact or Fiction

An interesting take on what may or may not have happened regarding the mob in Atlantic City. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.