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Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin
     

Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin

4.2 5
by Casey Sherman
 

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From the author of Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy.

“Joseph Barboza is the most dangerous individual known.”—FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 1965

Joe Barboza knew that there were two requirements for getting inducted into the Mafia. You had to be Sicilian. And you had to commit a contract killing. The New

Overview

From the author of Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy.

“Joseph Barboza is the most dangerous individual known.”—FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 1965

Joe Barboza knew that there were two requirements for getting inducted into the Mafia. You had to be Sicilian. And you had to commit a contract killing. The New Bedford–born mobster was a proud Portuguese, not Sicilian, but his dream to be part of La Cosa Nostra proved so strong that he thought he could create a loophole. If he killed enough men, if he did enough of the Mafia’s dirtiest biddings, then they would have no choice but to make him a Made Man.

Barboza’s brutal rise during one of the deadliest mob wars in U.S. history became the stuff of legend, both on the bloodied streets of Boston and in the offices of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General. He took sick joy in his crimes, and it became increasingly difficult for the mob to keep the Animal on his leash. But soon the hunter became the hunted. Betrayed by the mob and now on the run, Boston’s most notorious contract killer forged a Faustian bargain with two unscrupulous FBI agents—a pact that would transform the U.S. criminal justice system. From false testimony and manipulated evidence that sent mob leaders to death row, to the creation of the Witness Protection Program so the feds could protect their prized, cold-blooded witness, this was the horrific, dramatic first act in a story of murder and FBI corruption still being played out today in the news and the courtroom with the capture and trial of Whitey Bulger. Barboza’s legacy, buried for years thanks to the murders or deaths of its participants, is finally coming to light and being told in its unvarnished brutality by one of America’s most respected true crime writers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Journalist and true-crime author Sherman (A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler) profiles mafia hit man turned FBI informant Joe “the Animal” Barboza in this fascinating biography. Barboza’s life of crime began as innocently as such a life can—as a young teen in New Bedford, Mass., he wound up behind bars for petty theft. He then tried his hand at bookmaking and quickly graduated to murder for hire, earning along the way a reputation for savagery—he once bit off part of a man’s cheek during a gang fight. Tied to Barboza’s story is the rise and fall of Providence, R.I.-based mob boss Raymond Patriarca and his second in command, Henry Tameleo. The latter employed Barboza as an assassin, but Patriarca eventually decided Barboza was too dangerous and it was time for the Animal to be put down. That betrayal set off a profusion of deceptions and dangerous grudges which Sherman describes. The author also details the role of crooked FBI agents in the Animal’s story, compromised court cases, infighting among Irish mob groups, and myriad grisly murders. Fans of mafia history will relish this portrait of a forgotten figure from the heyday of organized crime. 17 b&w images. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“[A] fascinating biography. . . [Sherman] details the role of crooked FBI agents in the Animal’s story, compromised court cases, infighting among Irish mob groups, and myriad grisly murders. Fans of mafia history will relish this portrait of a forgotten figure from the heyday of organized crime.”—Publishers Weekly

“Boston-based journalist Casey Sherman takes us deep into the origins of the FBI’s infamously corrupt Top-Echelon Informant program, whose poster child remains Whitey Bulger, and shows that Bulger wasn’t the first FBI informant to use his bureau connections to get away with murder: Joe Barboza would create the horrific template. . . . Animal is a compelling account of the life and death of the legendary New Bedford psychopath.”—Boston Globe

"The ghost of Joe “The Animal” Barboza has returned, so you might want to put your hands on your cheeks and scream. . . . Fascinating!"—San Francisco Examiner

“Drawing on interviews with [Joe ‘The Animal’] Barboza’s family and former associates, as well as troves of government documents, Sherman describes a life that started on the rough streets of 1930s New Bedford. Sherman tells the story of Barboza, whose ambition to join the Mafia despite his Portuguese heritage led him to allegedly kill more than two dozen people. It also describes how FBI agents used him for their own, at times, extralegal, purposes.”—Cape Cod Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555538224
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Pages:
274
Sales rank:
834,094
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

Terence Winter
“I couldn’t put down award-winning journalist Casey Sherman’s riveting account of the life and death of Joe Barboza, one of the most feared killers in the history of the Mob. Animal is a fascinating tale of murder, brutality, and betrayal on both sides of the law; for fans of the gangster genre, it’s a must-read.”
Charles Brandt
“In Animal, author Casey Sherman serves up Joe Barboza, a mob killer of Portuguese descent that even the Italian Mafia feared and respected. In clear prose Sherman breathes life into a wild and dangerous era in New England’s organized crime heyday. As the story unfolds, the ending will both surprise and shock.”
T. J. English
“With Animal, author Casey Sherman takes you into the belly of the beast. You ride along with Joe Barboza, one of the most brutal gangsters in the history of American organized crime, during unspeakable acts of murder. Equally important, Sherman reveals how Barboza became a covert FBI informant and played the System until the System was indistinguishable from the criminal underground. An important book written by a skilled storyteller, Animal belongs on a shelf alongside The Valachi Papers, Wiseguy, and other essential works of Mob history.”

Meet the Author

CASEY SHERMAN is a Boston-based journalist and the author of A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler and Bad Blood: Freedom and Death in the White Mountains, among others. He is the coauthor of The Finest Hours: The True Story of the Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue.

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Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
This grisly, macabre story of one of Americas most heartless and bloodthirsty gangsters will have you double checking your locks, second-guessing your friends, and reminding yourself that reality is closer to home than you think. Veteran writer Casey Sherman takes you deep into the world of one of the most notorious mafias in America, one that plagued communities with murder, blood, deceit, and intimidation. How do you bring down an organization like this? From the inside, of course. When Joe “The Animal” Barboza, one of the most deadly men in the crime world, turned on those who helped create him, the crime world is shattered as the darkest secrets are revealed and people’s lives are darkened in death. “‘Your father was chopping wood down in the cellar and one of the logs popped loose and hit me by accident,’ she lied.” You won’t believe that what you are reading is factual. It plays out like a James Patterson novel, but sadly, the deaths are real, the crimes happened, and there are monsters that live all around us. The mafia is tied deep into our American history, and despite the horrors, this book provides reader with an intriguing peak into a world unbeknownst to most. If you are looking for a thriller to read, this has to be the one you pick up! *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review *You can view the original review at San Francisco Book Review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SusanWK More than 1 year ago
This is a twisted American coming of age Mafia story, typical and yet completely original--no one could make it up. Barboza is a boy who grew up in New Bedford, Mass of a poor family, who worked on the docks.  He aspired to join the Mafia, his heroes. Though he's Portugese, not Sicilian, he thinks he can get into the Cosa Nostra by doing "better" than those born to the life  (allegedly 26 murders).   Unlike a lot of true-crime, Mafia stories, which revel in sensationalism,  Sherman addresses the humanity of the psychopath.  The man called ANIMAL  hates violence against women.  As a babe, protected in his mother's arms, he witnessed his  father beating her.  And Barboza, in all his insane murders, never hurts women.  In fact,  he loves his family and tries to protect them.   But the troubled teen sent to reform school for petty theft, emerges from abuse there, as a hardened criminal.  Barboza, who wanted to escape his violent father, becomes hardened into a life of violence.  He became the #1 hit man in the bloodiest mob war in American history (57 men murdered in 3 years!). The Mafia called him ANIMAL and thought of him as a blunt instrument.  Then, increasingly, as he's denied  acceptance, Barboza became a  liability. The mob, who can't control him, decided to take him down.   ANIMAL details what happened when they hunted Barboza.  Boston's most notorious contract killer, made a deal with two corrupt FBI agents that changed the criminal justice system forever.  ANIMAL shows how the Federal government created with Barboza a narrative of false testimony to prosecute New England's most powerful organized crime figures. His success meant five men went to prison for a murder they did not commit. Later this led to the largest settlement against the US Justice Dept in History. o protect their star witness, the first gangster to testify against the Mafia,  the FBI created the Witness Protection Program.  They kept him on an island in Boston harbor, where the Mob tracked him, then in sleepy Santa Rosa.  But once a killer, always a killer;  Barboza killed a person and was returned to prison. Finally, after a decade on the run,  he was gunned down in broad daylight in San Francisco.   The pressure to bring down the mob was so great that sworn enemies,  RFK & Hoover, created the FBI's Top Echelon Informant Program to employ the same illegal methods as the mob! Unbelievable but true that lawmen compromisd their integrity.   If you want to know about the Whitey Bulger case, how the FBI allowed a Mob Boss to operate for 15 years, this precursor has answers--and new information. .  
TBoneTK More than 1 year ago
I am 50% through the book. Very poorly written, no real plot or even attempt to show the arc of his life. This is more like a collection of events. And the events aren't even in order. Also, small details are wrong that show poor editing. For example early in the book when Joe escapes Concord prison the author states he heads west on Route 2 to Boston. You have to go East on Route 2. That sloppiness makes me wonder what else is inaccurate in the book. I wish the book better showed how Joe's activities fit into larger events in NE crime scene. This is painful.