Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis is a riveting account of organized crime as a way of life. The ``wiseguy'' (mob parlance for a street-level hoodlum) is Henry Hill, 30-year veteran of a Brooklyn strong-arm branch of the Luchese crime family, who turned against and helped convict his former associates five years ago and entered the Federal Witness Protection Program. Pileggi, a crime reporter for New York writing here with Hill's cooperation, does a superb job of re-creating the gangster's career, from his early days as an errand boy (at 12) to racketeer Paulie Vario in Brooklyn's BrownsvilleEast New York section, to his pivotal roles in a Boston College point-shaving scandal and the $6-million Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport in 1978. Hill's story becomes an extraordinary vantage on a demimonde that lives a high, violent, score-to-score life in which car theft, hijacking-to-order, credit-card scams, cigarette smuggling, and other hustles and schemes are as workaday as 9-to-5 at the office. Literary Guild featured alternate. Foreign rights: Sterling Lord. January 30
Library Journal - Library JournalGrowing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s Henry Hill aspired ``to be a gangsterto be a wise guy.'' This book chronicles Hill's criminal successes beginning with his being a gofer for neighborhood mobster to his part in the 1978 $6-million Lufthansa Airlines robbery. Smuggling, hijacking, union racketeering, credit card fraud, robbery, bribery, drug dealing, prison, marriage, and assorted girlfriends take up most of Hill's time and this story. The author may have faithfully portrayed his subject but neither Hill nor any of his activities provokes much interest. The result is a plodding, episodic account which would have made a better magazine article than book. Hill's career ends with his becoming the ultimate wise guy as an informer under the Federal Witness Program. Jerry Maioli, Western Library Network, Olympia, Wash.
- Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
- Publication date:
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