This eye-opening memoir, twenty years in the making, chronicles Luellen Smiley's journey into her father's criminal past, beginning ten years after his death.
Luellen is the daughter of the late Allen Smiley-Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's best friend and business partner for ten years. He was seated next to Bugsy the night he was murdered. Smiley's refusal to turn informant despite an order of deportation, and facing ten years in prison, earned Meyer Lansky's respect. The Mafia defended, financed, and protected Allen for the rest of his life.
Luellen discounted her father's Mafia association until she was forty years old. Awakened by an identity meltdown, she cut through her silence and confronted her father's criminal activities. Discoveries derived from government surveillance records, newspaper articles, court testimony, classified FBI documents, interviews and conversations with relatives she begins to write this story. Luellen takes the reader along for the ride on her quest to understand her father's allegiance to the mob while also uncovering her own identity-a quest of humiliation, rage, shame, and acceptance.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.55(d)|
About the Author
Luellen Smiley was the daughter of Allen Smiley-Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's best friend and business partner. Her upbringing within the Mafia family breaks through a long-standing stigma about the organization and its members. She wants the world to know that they started as defenders of their neighborhoods-not trigger-happy murderers.
Ten years after her father's death, she evolved into a gangster authority through researching thousands of classified FBI and Department of Justice documents and interviews and conversations with relatives, ex-mob guys, and authors.
Luellen is an award-winning newspaper columnist who has written for publications such as the NY Post and MORE Magazine.
Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- My Father is Not a Gangster
- I Still Don’t Believe He was a Gangster
- He Didn’t Want me to Have a Boyfriend
- Shoveling for Crimes
- My Muscle on the Department of Justice
- Hallelujah Houston
- “Smiley is Armed & Dangerous”
- Revisions Inside and Out
- Siegel & Smiley
- Discovering Al Smiley
- The Eye of the FBI
- West to East
- The Mob Experience
- My Father was a Gangster
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite Luellen Smiley’s Cradle of Crime: A Daughter's Tribute is a narrative account of a hidden family history. The narrator of the story is hounded by her fear of her father, but after watching the documentary of Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel’s life, her father’s best friend, hearing comments from friends and acquaintances hinting at her father’s ‘other life’, and her inability to answer questions regarding her father’s past pique her curiosity and direct her to a path she never imagined she would take. Eventually she is driven to search for the hidden part of her father’s past that he tried so hard to hide from her and deny. She is thrust into a journey she never expected. This a refreshing, wonderful story in the fact that I got to see the unfolding of Allen Smiley and Ben Siegel’s story through the eyes of Allen Smiley’s daughter. I got to see the point of view of someone who personally knew Allen Smiley, the other side of him: the family man and her reactions to discovering her father’s past, secrets, and how people viewed her father and the Mafia. To my delight, the author also included journals and files relating to the criminal speculations of Ben Siegel’s murder which helped shape the book’s framework. I felt like a detective myself as I read through the story and found out more and more about her father’s other life. I learned a lot through her journey and admired how she pursued knowledge despite how difficult and hurtful it must have been to uncover her father’s secrets. Through her journey of denial, curiosity, and disbelief, she managed to find people who understood her history and accepted her. Eventually she found the final destination of her search; she found family, acceptance, and belonging, and in her own way she became the connection her newfound family needed.