Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob

Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob

by Kevin Weeks, Phyllis Karas


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061148064
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/13/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 96,541
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Kevin Weeks is out of prison and living a clean life in Massachusetts.

Phyllis Karas is the coauthor of two previous books. She is a contributor to People magazine and an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Journalism. She lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

Growing Up in Southie

By South Boston standards, my childhood was surprisingly normal. I grew up in the Old Colony Housing Project, the fifth in a family of six kids, with two older brothers, two older sisters, and one younger sister. The odds were good with a family of six in Southie that one would run afoul of the law. I was that one.

Our apartment on 8 Pilsudski Way, apartment 554, was about 1,200 square feet, with four small bedrooms, a parlor, and a kitchen. My parents were in one bedroom; we three boys were in the other. My older sister Maureen had her own bedroom, and Patty and Karen shared theirs. I was born on March 21, 1956, and, at fifty, am two years older than Karen, who is the youngest of the six of us. Billy, at fifty-eight, is the oldest. All eight of us ate dinner together in the kitchen. While I never saw my mother without the crutches her arthritis made necessary, she made sure there was more than enough food for all of us to eat. Our clothes might not have been brand-new, but they looked fine. I never remember wanting for anything.

My father, John, changed tires for a living and later worked for the Boston Housing Authority. The most he ever brought home was $160 a week. He grew up in Brooklyn, joined the army as an infantryman during World War II, and was a professional boxer, a middleweight. He had been pretty good at it. A throwback, a big puncher, he was the type of guy who would take two of your punches just to land one of his. He'd also trained boxers. He was twenty-six when he married my mother, Margaret, who was from Boston. My maternal grandparents came to Boston from Ireland, while my father was Welsh and Irish.

My father had a real bad temper and was always in a bad mood. He ran our house strictly. We all went to bed early and got up early. He was very physical with all of us. He'd slap the girls, but he'd punch the boys. He was quick with his hands, but you never knew why or where they would strike. He could hit you on the head for no reason at all, saying, "That's for nothing. Now do something." Or he would give you a crack, saying, "That's in case you did something and you got away with it." Not only did he hit his kids, you never knew when you would see him in the street fighting a neighbor. With us, he was a strict disciplinarian who often went over the line in his forms of discipline. By today's standards, he might be arrested for the way he handled his six kids. As a result of the beatings I got from him, I never touched my own sons when I became a father.

My mother had a hard life. She was in constant pain from her severe arthritis and had numerous back and knee operations. Both my parents were voracious readers, and books and school were important parts of our lives. Until grade four, I went to the Michael J. Perkins School, right in the Old Colony projects, at the top of my street. For grades five and six, I ventured a little bit farther, to the John Andrew School in Andrew Square. For the next two years I was at the Patrick F. Gavin School on Dorchester Street. All of these were public schools.

Our family was a close one, and every Sunday all six of us kids went to nine o'clock Mass at St. Augustine's. Jack, whom we all called Johnny while we were growing up, is four years older than me. He was an altar boy. I wasn't cut out for that. Back then, Mass was still in Latin, and that had no appeal for me. When we got home, we had to tell our father what the sermon was about and the color of the priest's vestment. He wasn't religious, but he made us go. My mother stayed home, and the priest used to come to the house once a week to give her communion.

But even more than books and religion, my father made sure that boxing ruled our family life. From as far back as I can remember, I boxed. Whether we wanted to or not, my brothers and I boxed. Every night we would move the furniture in the parlor and the three of us boys would box in the living room. My gloves were hand-me-downs from my brothers and were practically bigger than me. My brothers wouldn't seriously bang on me till we were older, but Johnny and I always boxed in our bedroom, as well as in the parlor. From the time I was eight and he was twelve, right up until he left for Harvard, Johnny would be Muhammed Ali and I would be George Chuvalo. Chuvalo was the Canadian heavyweight champ who used to take a lot of punches but would never quit. That was why I liked him. And when I boxed with Johnny, I would take a lot of punches from Muhammed Ali, but like Chuvalo, I would never quit.

As a kid, when I wasn't boxing, I was on the swim team, traveling to meets all over New England, or playing basketball or Ping-Pong. It was fun to get out of the house to travel to swim meets. In high school, I was a diver for the swim team. I enjoyed the exercise, but, like with every sport I did, I always tried to win.

Every summer, from ages seven to seventeen, I left the city and went to Boys Club camps down the Cape or all over New England. I was usually sent for two weeks, but most summers I wanted to stay for a longer period of time so I'd get some kind of a . . .

What People are Saying About This

Julian Krainin

“A dazzling story...Brutal is the most revealing and chilling true crime story that I have ever read.”

Michael Palmer

“Mesmerizing and fascinating ... no organized crime fiction I have read has anything on this book. I couldn’t put it down.”

T. J. English

“Rarely have the nuts-and-bolts of ‘the gangster life’ been laid bare in such shocking, unvarnished detail.”

Customer Reviews

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Brutal 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having grown in in this area of Boston around this time, I found the book somewhat interesting, but the writing was quite poor and truthfulness missing in numerous places. Whitey was a cold-blooded killer and Weeks not much more than his shoeshine boy and clean up kid. I found it amusing that he was in on all these murders but he never pulled a trigger - he says. He helped pull out murder victim's teeth, buried bodies all around Boston, enjoyed fracturing skulls, jaws and ribs but his poor heart was breaking if he saw an old lady trying to cross the street or found out that some dastardly person was selling heroin instead of coke or marijuana in ol' Southie. What a crock. Whitey royally screwed him over the whole time and it was evident he didn't want to bad mouth him in the book. Was that fear or embarrassment? He was just another local hood in Boston that thought he was Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, forced to survive the dangers of South Boston by whatever means possible - an Irish Robin Hood. The truth is that he eventually turned rat on his peers and he knows it. All the murder and mayhem he particpated in was merely 'business'. Maybe Kevie has been watching too many Godfather movies. We all know you are not in Southie because everyone sees you as a crook who ratted everyone else out to the feds to save your behind. And now that you are a corpulent middle-aged fellow, perhaps there are a lot of people there waiting to even up the score. Pass on this fanciful retelling of Whitey Bulger's reign.
Vinsilver More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a vivid account of the incredible events, which transpired in the Boston underworld over a fourty year period. Kevin Weeks provides an inside view of a stanger than fiction story, which has brought dishonour to one of the nations most respected law enforcement agencies. I found it hard to put this book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kevin Weeks tells the somewhat interesting story of his relationship with Whitey Bulger, who if half of what he says is true, is really a bad guy. As for Weeks' story, he seems to think a lot of himself because he intimidates people, beats people up, and kills people without emotion or remorse. In his mind that is a quality to be admired, but in reality he is just a grown up version of the school yard bully.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book, but was very dissapointed in it. Clearly the only good reviews for this book were written by friends and family. You'll notice most haven't recomended other books? What does that tell you? Have they read any other books? If they had there is no way this book deserves anything less than a poor rating. The book is written badly and the author contradicts himself in several places. I also find it hard to believe he is under Whitey and yet is an innocent bystander to all those murders. Save your money and skip this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The name is perfect because the writing is brutal. A story about this topic should sizzle, but this fizzles out. I have read some other reviews online and they must have been written by friends of the writer or there publisher. This story does not have a ring of truth to it. Dodging bullets, beating up everyone in Southie/never losing a fight. A 76-2 amateur boxing record, winning the golden gloves. Strange but I checked the Lowell Sun Archives which includes photographs and no mention anyhere of a Kevin Weeks winning the golden Gloves. Lastly this disgusting scam that he is perpetrating that somehow he is helping the victims families. Weeks has no choice they all sued him. This book is so brutally bad I am thinking about asking for my money back.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book contains little knew information if you have been following the case. An interesting note,however, is Mr. Weeks' retort about the state trooper blackballed for stopping Whitey. What we don't get from this book is whether Kevin is regretful or not? Did he and does he believe he and Whitey were right? Was Kevin turned against his former mentors by pressure or reprieve, or did he simply choose to do so? Beneath the proven tough guy accounts, what is Kevin really saying? Does he feel he chose wrong while his brothers chose right? There is also a question no one seems to be raising-- how much random or even not-so-random crime was contained by the activities of these guys, even if unintentional? Were some people NOT killed or harmed who might have been had they not been around? And if the FBI agents involved felt deadly force and questionably legal tactics were needed, why not just come forward and explain why?
jdmays on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The author details his life as a criminal. It's interesting and disturbing. Although he expresses some remorse about his past, it seems insufficient. Maybe he's now a really good guy or something but I felt complicit in his crimes by purchasing the book.
megrockstar on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I really got into this book as I read it. Toward the end I think there were too0 many charqacters and I got confused. Now, looking back at the book I don't think it was that great but I did like it while I was reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like true crime books this is a must read.
KristiK8507 More than 1 year ago
Poorly written and self serving yet an entertaining page-turner. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the end of the book Weeks calls out journalist and author Dick Lehr and says if he was a real man, Dick would come to Weeks and they would deal with it directly, with Weeks intimating that he would beat him up. This of course negates the whole book that comes before it. If Lehr was to act like Weeks he would lure Weeks to some remote spot and have somebody else shoot him, or ambush him by himself with three people with automatic weapons and take him to a remote spot and execute him, or maybe would shoot him and some innocent person at the same time and feel badly about it afterwards even though clearly quite often he knows an innocent person was killed at the same time. Also there must be 300 fist fights in the book and either Weeks it the best boxer in the world, king of the sucker punch, or a liar. It is for the reader to guess on that one. A little research on line does not substantiate whether or not Weeks really did have a Golden Gloves title on his resume. He did 6 years for being guilty of participating in at least 20 to 40 murders and almost uncountable crimes. Telling whatever version of the truth this is, certainly served him well. In a world where pot dealers get longer sentences than that, not much time at all. Any time at all is hard, but not relative to the crimes. It says half the proceeds goes to those involved in his bankruptcy. Over and over he tells of cash being stashed in inaccessible places, so I"m not sure what to think about that. Half of the gross doesn't let anyone know what he is getting financially (which should be nothing, since this is a story of victim after victim, innocent and guilty alike.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A self serving but interesting insiders account of Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish mob. There have been a lot of kiss and tell books churned out by the Boston Irish hoods but this guy was very close to the Boston Irish Godfather. J.R. Locke Author of Possible Twenty, a Gangster Tale
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