Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice

Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice

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by Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy
     
 

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This unforgettable narrative follows the astonishing career and epic manhunt for Whitey Bulger—a gangster whose life was more sensational than fiction.

Raised in a South Boston housing project, James "Whitey" Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue,

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Overview

This unforgettable narrative follows the astonishing career and epic manhunt for Whitey Bulger—a gangster whose life was more sensational than fiction.

Raised in a South Boston housing project, James "Whitey" Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow Whitey’s extraordinary criminal career—from teenage thievery to bank robberies to the building of his underworld empire and a string of brutal murders.

It was after a nine-year stint in Alcatraz and other prisons that Whitey reunited with his brother William "Billy" Bulger, who was soon to become one of Massachusetts’s most powerful politicians. He also became reacquainted with John Connolly, who had grown up around the corner from the Bulgers and was now—with Billy’s help—a rising star at the FBI. Once Whitey emerged triumphant from the bloody Boston gang wars, Connolly recruited him as an informant against the Mafia. Their clandestine relationship made Whitey untouchable; the FBI overlooked gambling, drugs, and even homicide to protect their source. Among the close-knit Irish community in South Boston, nothing was more important than honor and loyalty, and nothing was worse than being a rat. Whitey is charged with the deaths of nineteen people killed over turf, for business, and even for being informants; yet to this day he denies he ever gave up his friends or landed anyone in jail.

Based on exclusive access and previously undisclosed documents, Cullen and Murphy explore the truth of the Whitey Bulger story. They reveal for the first time the extent of his two parallel family lives with different women, as well as his lifelong paranoia stemming in part from his experience in the CIA’s MKULTRA program. They describe his support of the IRA and his hitherto-unknown role in the Boston busing crisis, and they show a keen understanding of his mindset while on the lam and behind bars. The result is the first full portrait of this legendary criminal figure—a gripping story of wiseguys and cops, horrendous government malfeasance, and a sixteen-year manhunt that climaxed in Whitey’s dramatic capture in Santa Monica in June 2011. With a new afterword covering the trial, this book promises to become a true-crime classic.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Jeff Greenfield
If you locked director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Nick Pileggi and TV producer David Chase in the same room for a month, I doubt they would come up with anything as rich in scope and details as the real-life tale of Whitey Bulger.
Boston Globe - Sean Flynn
“Whitey Bulger... is as much a social history as a biography or manhunt thriller.... In the same way that J. Anthony Lukas’s Common Ground is essential to understanding Boston’s racial history, Whitey Bulger is an authoritative treatise on the city’s late-20th-century underworld.”
Los Angeles Times - David Ulin
“[A]n authoritative study of the legendary criminal and the long manhunt that culminated in Santa Monica in 2011…. Whitey Bulger is a portrait of its subject in all his complexity: devoted son and brother, vicious killer, neighborhood folk hero, anti-integration activist…. It's a terrific book—comprehensive, deeply reported, invested with an understanding of place and character, and the subtle, at times pernicious, ways they interact. This is hardly surprising; the authors, Polk Award-winning Boston Globe reporters (Cullen also has a Pulitzer), have been on the Bulger trail for nearly 30 years. Their expertise infuses Whitey Bulger with authority, a depth and an engagement that makes it less a work of true crime than a social history.”
Los Angeles Times - David L. Ulin
“[A]n authoritative study of the legendary criminal and the long manhunt that culminated in Santa Monica in 2011…. Whitey Bulger is a portrait of its subject in all his complexity: devoted son and brother, vicious killer, neighborhood folk hero, anti-integration activist…. It's a terrific book—comprehensive, deeply reported, invested with an understanding of place and character, and the subtle, at times pernicious, ways they interact. This is hardly surprising; the authors, Polk Award-winning Boston Globe reporters (Cullen also has a Pulitzer), have been on the Bulger trail for nearly 30 years. Their expertise infuses Whitey Bulger with authority, a depth and an engagement that makes it less a work of true crime than a social history.”
David L. Ulin - Los Angeles Times
“[A]n authoritative study of the legendary criminal and the long manhunt that culminated in Santa Monica in 2011…. Whitey Bulger is a portrait of its subject in all his complexity: devoted son and brother, vicious killer, neighborhood folk hero, anti-integration activist…. It's a terrific book—comprehensive, deeply reported, invested with an understanding of place and character, and the subtle, at times pernicious, ways they interact. This is hardly surprising; the authors, Polk Award-winning Boston Globe reporters (Cullen also has a Pulitzer), have been on the Bulger trail for nearly 30 years. Their expertise infuses Whitey Bulger with authority, a depth and an engagement that makes it less a work of true crime than a social history.”
Jeff Greenfield - Washington Post
“If you locked director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Nick Pileggi and TV producer David Chase in the same room for a month, I doubt they would come up with anything as rich in scope and details as the real-life tale of Whitey Bulger.”
David Ulin - Los Angeles Times
“[A]n authoritative study of the legendary criminal and the long manhunt that culminated in Santa Monica in 2011…. Whitey Bulger is a portrait of its subject in all his complexity: devoted son and brother, vicious killer, neighborhood folk hero, anti-integration activist…. It's a terrific book—comprehensive, deeply reported, invested with an understanding of place and character, and the subtle, at times pernicious, ways they interact. This is hardly surprising; the authors, Polk Award-winning Boston Globe reporters (Cullen also has a Pulitzer), have been on the Bulger trail for nearly 30 years. Their expertise infuses Whitey Bulger with authority, a depth and an engagement that makes it less a work of true crime than a social history.”
The Economist
“Riveting.”
Peter King - SportsIllustrated.com
“I have a very strong recommendation if you like real crime stories, or very well-told biographies—or if you like both, which I happen to. If you have not read Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice…get it now. You'll thank me. It's riveting, graphic and a great tale of real life in South Boston, one of the most compelling neighborhoods in American history.”
Michael Connelly
“This is the definitive story of Whitey Bulger. As much social documentary as riveting crime story, the book is a masterwork of reporting by Cullen and Murphy. I couldn’t put it down.”
Jimmy Breslin
“Whitey committed every crime outside. He lived years in prison and was certain that prison was preferable to the risks and disgrace in his life of South Boston. This book is easily the best story about crime I’ve read.”
Michael Patrick MacDonald
“This is the Whitey Bulger book by the two expert journalists who know the turf best. An unflinching look at the culture of silence and death fostered by Bulger—and by his friends in high and low places—and an important affirmation for young people growing up in today’s neighborhoods of good people besieged by thuggery, corruption, and codes of silence.”
Sean Flynn - Boston Globe
“Whitey Bulger... is as much a social history as a biography or manhunt thriller.... In the same way that J. Anthony Lukas’s Common Ground is essential to understanding Boston’s racial history, Whitey Bulger is an authoritative treatise on the city’s late-20th-century underworld.”
Library Journal
Cullen and Murphy have made careers of covering Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe. This sweeping biography—which includes coverage of his 16 years on the lam and his capture in 2011—is an excellent prelude to Bulger's upcoming trial. The scandalous story of the Irish American Winter Hill gang leader is familiar to many. Bulger was an informant for the FBI tasked with helping bring down the Boston mafia. His brother Bill served as Massachusetts State Senate president for several years before becoming president of the University of Massachusetts. (Bill Bulger was forced to resign when news came out that he'd been in contact with Whitey while Whitey was in hiding.) Bulger was given such free rein from his FBI handler, John Connelly (now serving 40 years for murder), that he saw himself as Connelly's partner. Not just the story of Bulger, this is a cautionary tale for how not to work with an informant; the FBI's mishandling seemingly made it easier for Bulger to stay free for so long. VERDICT Highly recommended. Should be very popular.—Karen Sandlin Silverman, Dresden, ME
Kirkus Reviews
A well-researched book claiming to be "the first complete and authoritative account" of the life of criminal James "Whitey" Bulger. From his Boston childhood to his current home in a prison cell, Boston Globe reporters Cullen and Murphy follow their subject through every documented moment in his life. Bulger is a true "Southie" character, his name well-known to residents of the mostly Irish neighborhood before gentrification. After starting as a petty juvenile criminal, he moved quickly to auto theft and then bank robbery, landing himself in prison. Bulger even did a stint in Alcatraz before earning enough good-behavior time to end his sentence more than a decade early. When he returned to Boston, the criminal underworld was ripe for the picking; rather than going straight, he went to the top of what some called the Irish mob--with the support of the FBI. The authors can't quite decide if they want to let the story become personal. They work hard to refer to themselves in the third person but make it clear what they think of their subject and his accomplices. Maintaining distance was a mistake, as personalizing their involvement could make the book stronger, with more palpable tension and the consequences of attracting Bulger's attention more real. Still, Bulger's crimes and partnerships are so compelling that the pages almost turn themselves. Moments of insight into his mind make the book sparkle--e.g., the scene when he's finally caught and refuses to kneel. The authors explain, "Whitey's biggest concern, he later said, was that there were oil stains on the garage floor where he was standing." Solid writing, remarkable details and the addition of Bulger's fairly recent capture make this a worthy addition to the literature of the mob.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393240917
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/11/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
107,971
File size:
9 MB

Meet the Author

Kevin Cullen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has written for the Boston Globe since 1985, was the first to raise questions about Whitey Bulger's relationship with the FBI. A frequent commentator on NPR and the BBC, Cullen has won major journalism prizes including the Goldsmith Prize, the George Polk Award, and the Selden Ring Award.Shelley Murphy has covered Whitey Bulger and organized crime in Boston since 1985, beginning at the Boston Herald and moving to the Globe in 1993. She has won a George Polk Award for National Reporting.

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