The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

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by Tom Folsom
     
 

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The Mad Ones chronicles the rise and fall of the Gallo brothers, a trio of reckless young gangsters whose revolution against New York City’s Mafia was inspired by Crazy Joe Gallo’s forays into Greenwich Village counterculture.

Crazy Joe, Kid Blast, and Larry Gallo are steeped in legend, from Bob Dylan’s eleven-minute ballad

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Overview

The Mad Ones chronicles the rise and fall of the Gallo brothers, a trio of reckless young gangsters whose revolution against New York City’s Mafia was inspired by Crazy Joe Gallo’s forays into Greenwich Village counterculture.

Crazy Joe, Kid Blast, and Larry Gallo are steeped in legend, from Bob Dylan’s eleven-minute ballad “Joey” to fictionalizations central to The Godfather trilogy and Jimmy Breslin’s The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Called the toughest gang in the city by the NYPD, the Gallos hailed from the rough Red Hook neighborhood on the Brooklyn waterfront. As low-level Mafiosi, they were expected to serve their don quietly, but the brothers stood apart from typical gangsters with their hip style, fierce ambition, and Crazy Joe’s manic idealism.

Here, for the first time, is the complete story of the Gallos’ war against the powerful Cosa Nostra, an epic crime saga that culminates in Crazy Joe’s murder on the streets of Little Italy, where he was gunned down mid-bite into a forkful of spaghetti in 1972. The Mad Ones is a wildly satisfying entertainment and a significant work of cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
TV director/producer Folsom (coauthor, Mr. Untouchable) presents a cursory and indulgent look at the legendary Gallo boys, a trio of wannabe Mafiosos immortalized in a Bob Dylan ballad, in the pages of Life magazine, and as the inspiration for the "Godfather" trilogy. Set against the counterculture revolution of 1960s New York City, the tale is more a chronology than a biography; its pace, more conversational than focused documentary. Actor/narrator Josh Clark delivers a stylistic performance of this uneven yet compelling tale. Expect the major motion picture adaptation, currently in development by the Weinstein Company, to generate demand. [The Weinstein Bks. hc, published in May 2009, was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Novelistic study of an iconoclastic criminal in revolutionary times. Documentarian Folsom (co-author: Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of Heroin's Teflon Don, 2007), grittily evokes the period (1950s and '60s) and the place (New York City) in which the Gallo brothers-Brooklyn jukebox magnates and low-level hoods Joey, Larry and Kid Blast-struggled to rise to the top of the underworld. Jimmy Breslin titled his 1969 novel based on the same characters and events The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, but Folsom, who takes his title from Kerouac, is able to tease some heroism out of his protagonists' antiheroic lives, particularly that of the poetically inclined Joey. Granted, he was a punk who could only plead the Fifth in answer to Bobby Kennedy's questions during the 1960 Senate hearings on organized crime. He bragged about hitting Murder Inc.'s Albert Anastasia as he waited for a shave in a Midtown barbershop, and unsuccessfully took on the Profaci crime family in a brazen but poorly executed coup attempt, spending most of the '60s behind bars on an extortion rap. So how did Joey become the toast of the town from the time of his release until his public 1972 execution at a spaghetti joint in Little Italy? Jerry Orbach, who played the character inspired by him in the film of Breslin's novel, was among the New York players who treated Crazy Joe like the "King of the Streets," as an epic song penned by Bob Dylan and dramatist Jacques Levy called him. In prose as tight and hard-boiled as any James Ellroy novel, Folsom focuses on the quirks that made Joey an unusual kind of gangster. He modeled himself after the giggling psychopath played by Richard Widmark in the film noirKiss of Death; he was fascinated bebop, action painting and existential philosophy; he made alliances across racial lines, including one with Folsom's previous subject and literary collaborator, Harlem drug dealer Leroy Barnes. Riveting, richly atmospheric pulp nonfiction. Author tour to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta/Zoe Pagnamenta Agency
ForeWord Magazine
“Folsom writes with the authority, swagger, and flavor of a true insider—or at the very least, a low-level Mafioso—in this enthralling tale of power, blood, and glory.”
ForeWord Magazine
Associated Press
“The real fun of this book is [you’re] never quite sure what's going to happen next. . . . You couldn't make this up.”
—Michael Hill, Associated Press Writer
— Michael Hill
Associated Press Staff
“The real fun of this book is [you’re] never quite sure what's going to happen next. . . . You couldn't make this up.”
—Michael Hill, Associated Press Writer
— Michael Hill
Associated Press - Michael Hill
“The real fun of this book is [you’re] never quite sure what's going to happen next. . . . You couldn't make this up.”
—Michael Hill, Associated Press Writer
From the Publisher
“Folsom writes with the authority, swagger, and flavor of a true insider—or at the very least, a low-level Mafioso—in this enthralling tale of power, blood, and glory.”
ForeWord Magazine

“The real fun of this book is [you’re] never quite sure what's going to happen next. . . . You couldn't make this up.”
—Michael Hill, Associated Press Writer

”Actor/narrator Josh Clark delivers a stylistic performance of this compelling tale.”
Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781602861244
Publisher:
Weinstein Books
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
870,635
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.69(d)

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What People are saying about this

T.J. English
“Part Puzo, part Kerouac . . . Brutal and elegiac, the story of Crazy Joe and the Gallo brothers is one for the ages. The Mad Ones belongs on a shelf alongside the best of Breslin and Pileggi.”
—T.J. English, New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne and The Westies
T.J. English
“Part Puzo, part Kerouac . . . Brutal and elegiac, the story of Crazy Joe and the Gallo brothers is one for the ages. The Mad Ones belongs on a shelf alongside the best of Breslin and Pileggi.”
—T.J. English, New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne and The Westies

T.J. English, New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne and The Westies

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