Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story

Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story

by Bill Bonnano
     
 

No one can tell the true story of the Mafia in America better than Bill Bonanno. He was there. He lived it.

Bill Bonanno was born into a world of respect, tradition, and honor. The son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno, Bill was a "made" member of the Mafia by the time he was in his early twenties. He was rumored to be the model for The Godfather's Michael

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Overview

No one can tell the true story of the Mafia in America better than Bill Bonanno. He was there. He lived it.

Bill Bonanno was born into a world of respect, tradition, and honor. The son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno, Bill was a "made" member of the Mafia by the time he was in his early twenties. He was rumored to be the model for The Godfather's Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's best-selling Honor Thy Father.

Now retired, Bill is finally ready to give an eyewitness account of his life as a high-ranking captain in the Bonanno crime family, one of America's most powerful Mafia syndicates. He takes you inside the mob at its peak, when New York's Five Families-Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese, and Genovese-not only dominated local businesses, but also controlled national politics. For the first time, Bill Bonanno discloses the machinations behind his marriage to Rosalie Profaci (niece of the powerful don Joe Profaci), and even that cemented the alliance between the two Families with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding. From the truth about the mysterious disappearance of his father to a startling disclosure about he mob's participation in the Kennedy assassination, Bill Bonanno lays bare the inner workings of his chaotic, violent, and surprisingly human world with unparalleled detail and insight.

Bound By Honor not only recounts Bill Bonanno's tumultuous life, but also is an engrossing chronicle of organized crime. Bonanno's story provides a remarkable glimpse into all of the intriguing personalities of the underworld of yesterday to today, from Bugsy Siegel to John Gotti.

This book is a must for readers of Mario Puzo, Gay Talese, Nicholas Pileggi, and others who have written abut the Mafia, but who have never been in the eye of the storm in quite the same way as Bill Bonanno in Bound By Honor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] fascinating first-hand account of what it's like to be born into the Mafia." —People magazine

"Surprising detail and sophistication...The Family story he tells is pretty hot stuff." —Biography magazine

Alex Tresniowski
...[A] fascinating firsthand account of what it's like to be born into the Mafia....[Bonanno] recounts his life of crime without actually admitting much.
People Magazine
Library Journal
Brooklyn Mafia don Joe Bonanno and his mobster son, Bill, were profiled in Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father, and the two probably also inspired The Godfather's Corleones. Joe Bonanno published his own influential autobiography, A Man of Honor, in 1983. Now, having served federal time and retired to Arizona near his old man, son Bill Bonanno (an "acting" don who "never achieved a position of undisputed leadership," according to Carl Sifakis's forthcoming Mafia Encyclopedia, Facts on File) adds his mob memoir. He has distinguished his account from the earlier books by fatally mixing genres: just as his Brooklyn stage is set for promising gangster drama like the infamous 1960s "Banana War," it gets overshadowed by the real story in Dallas; the book's tension builds around a whopping "confession" that sexily links the Mafia and CIA in the hit of all hits--the JFK assassination. No one reads mob tell-alls for the plain truth, but bastardizing the form to this degree simply doesn't work. Some readers may wonder what kind of self-respecting Mafia would allow Bonanno to go on living out in plain sight, if he really knew such a dangerous secret. Judged either as a mob chronicle or a conspiracy book, this memoir is a slick disappointment. Buy as demand warrants. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/99; to be a Showtime miniseries.--Ed.]--Nathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
The heir to legendary Mafia patriarch Joseph Bonanno describes the eclipse of a once-formidable criminal empire, with buffeting verbiage but only moderate amounts of candor. Bonanno begins with his 1956 wedding to a Profaci Family daughter, then goes on to detail the disastrous Appalachin conclave (which informed the general public of the Mob's existence), the fraying of the "Commission" that had long maintained peace and order, and the betrayals and factional confusion that allegedly culminated in the assassination of President Kennedy. His first-person account of secret criminal history is badly undermined by poor editing. Flabby, repetitive writing and clichéd phrases abound, as does vagueness regarding the realities of Mob criminality. Endless musings about long-dead codes of loyalty and respect annoy in contrast with the dearth of specific detail regarding Mob violence and business influence during this era . The book thus resembles a bowdlerized retelling of The Godfather, with very little of the gritty immediacy one finds in such studies as Nicholas Pileggi's Wiseguy. It's not without merit, though; Bonanno profiles many major figures in the Five Families, clarifying both their ties to infamous predecessors such as Luciano and Anastasia, and their roles in the pyrrhic wars that, along with increased federal scrutiny in the decade following Kennedy's death, essentially doomed the classical model of the American Mafia. The book's best moments come near the end, when Bonanno convincingly portrays rogue FBI agents from the infamous CoIntelPro, whose efforts to "get the Mob" included bombings and witness intimidation, and who ultimately secured the author a long prison termresulting from a credit card "misunderstanding." His jail experience yields one red-hot revelation: the confession of the alleged 11/22/63 triggerman, a Chicago Mob stalwart named Johnny Roselli. Given Bonanno's knowledge of hidden Mafia history, one wishes his literary handlers had been less hasty in rushing a flawed book into the mob-opera marketplace. ($100,000 ad/promo; TV rights to Showtime; author tour)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312203887
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/15/1999
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.12(d)

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