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Publisher's Summary

The Mob was the biggest, richest business in America...until it was destroyed from within by drugs, greed, and the decline of its traditional crime family values. And by guys like Sal Polisi.

As a member of New York's feared Colombo Family, Polisi ran the Sinatra Club, an illegal after-hours gambling den that was a magic kingdom of crime and a hangout for up-and-coming mobsters like John Gotti and the three wiseguys immortalized in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas - Henry Hill, Jimmy Burke, and Tommy DeSimone. But the nonstop thrills of Polisi's criminal glory days abruptly ended when he was busted for drug trafficking.

Already sickened by the bloodbath that engulfed the Mob as it teetered toward extinction, he flipped and became one of a breed he had loathed all his life - a rat. In this shocking, pulse-pounding, and, at times, darkly hilarious first-person chronicle, he paints a never-before-seen picture of a larger-than-life secret underworld that, thanks to guys like him, no longer exists.

©2012 Sal Polisi (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

The gangster with a heart of gold...

First, having just finished the book, I must say the closing couple of chapters were a real disappointment because I didn't believe a thing he said - and the last chapter, in Mexico, sounds like pure fiction, way over the top fiction, which hurts the credibility of the rest of the book since the rest of it sounds mostly plausible and realistic. But it doesn't hurt the book too much, until those last couple of chapters I really enjoyed the book, it's one of the more entertaining mob books I've read in a long while, however Sal Polisi goes a bit overboard at times framing himself as having a heart of gold as he commits crime after crime after crime that destroyed people's lives. The sex parts of the book are OK, they don't drift into the ridiculous too far. The biggest issue in mob books when they talk about sex is that it often is just bragging and completely unnecessary to the story, in this one he does straddles the line but those parts actually help move the story along, so it wasn't an issue for me.

If you like mob books this one is a worthy addition and is an entertaining read, just do yourself a favor and stop listening when he takes the stand near the end of the book.

The reader did a good job. Also I've been listening to everything at 1.25x speed as I find my mind drifting less often when listening yet it's not too fast to easily follow along, so I like to add that at 1.25x speed the reader is completely understandable, no jerkiness to the audio.

I'd say 4.1/5 stars, which is good for mob books as many are very poorly written or written in a way that comes off as having no credibility. This one however is mostly credible and is very well written.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

This is by far one of the best told stories of the 70’s NY mob. I’ve listened to dozens of books thru the years, I enjoyed the narration. Well worth the purchase.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 05-19-18

Blue-collar crime, well described

For fans of this genre, there is nothing shockingly new, but it is a front row seat adding rich details to plenty of events you may have some familiarity with. The Goodfellas crew is here, as is Johnny-Boy Gotti. One gets a sense of knowing these people up close, if that is of interest to you. (Yes, Tommy DiSimone sounds a lot like the Pesci characterization, except bigger and more conventionally handsome, which with a guy like that, was bound to spawn its own troubles.) The rackets and day to day life in this period are described very well. I finally really got the way vice and addiction in the surrounding population creates so many entry points for career criminals to manipulate and corrupt people. This is as true today, in a more computerized age, as it was these few decades back.

This author had that sort of curious, wandering, communicative personality style (it is usually not the heaviest muscle guys who have it) to get around a lot in different Mob circles and make friends, so he is an ideal tour guide. The narrator seems quite suitable. Heroin dealing as a central part of street Mob life for many is better described here than in a lot of mob films -- Hollywood seems (at least in the past iconic films) to not want to dwell on that. Maybe it loses an audience's sympathy and engagement too quickly, because it is absolutely not pretty. But it was central to the evolution (devolution?) of the Mob at these stages. I hope someone will produce some good white-collar accounts of Mob life too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great mob book

a real good look into the mob, it's rules and the characters. how a life of crime turns out and the corruption.also redemption

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

He loved the mob life

Sal was self-deprecating in most respects in this memoir. That made him seem credible, since almost nobody admits to his brand of foibles. The narrator was 100% perfect for this book.

The way Sal tells his story, the money came easily to him the whole time. And he enjoyed his life of crime - a lot. His take on the mob is unique. Even his descriptions of John Gotti were original. Despite all the mob biographies I've listened to, I learned a lot. I didn't find anything about this book repetitive of other books in the genre.

Sal Polisi said things about major events such as the JFK assassination that made me reconsider long held beliefs. He's authoritative and on point when he expounds on salient matters. And he separate facts from beliefs, telling why he believes as he does. Pretty convincing!

For those who liked other mafia memoirs, I bet this will be a winner. It's better in my opinion than most, and binge worthy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good mafia book but

This was a good book about the mafia but it relies to much on name dropping. Sal Polisi talks about turning over a new leaf but even then you don't believe him. This is the second book where I dislike the author more after I was done reading it then before I read it. The first book like that was The Wolf of Wall Street. this is an enjoyable book for anybody that's interested in the mafia some of the more famous things have conflicting stories from what you may have read in the past so it's hard to tell what's true and what's not

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Story!

If you love any type of mob-related stories, you have to listen to this book! Towards the end, I grew to attached to the characters and wish it didn't end! READ.THIS.BOOK.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book in the genre

No, it isn't Wiseguys or The Godfather by any stretch. But if you love this genre as much as I do, you will love this book. If you have watched many of the documentaries on Gotti or the American Mafia in the last decade or so, you will have seen Sal Polisi. You always have to take what these traitors say with a grain of salt. But the Feds that write books lie as much as the mob guys so it doesn't matter which side they are on. The stories, true or not, are excellent.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good storytelling

a foray into the criminal mind and the conflicts of loyalty and treason. Where the culture demands continuous treasons against your fellow man while at the same time demanding unquestioned loyalty to the boss. The mafia was a cult.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great listen !

loved it from start to finish ! the narration was excellent ! ubatz ! You crazy mother fucker !