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Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy…

Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the… (edition 2001)

by Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill (Author)

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3191134,897 (3.66)7
Title:Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
Authors:Dick Lehr
Other authors:Gerard O'Neill (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial (2001), Paperback, 424 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Boston, History, True Crime

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Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr


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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
My daughter gave me this book for Xmas because of my interest in Irish-American history. I was really impressed with the legwork these former reporters did in order to get the story, and even more impressed with the even more extensive legwork that the detectives and policemen needed to do in order to curtail the activities of Whitey Bulger and his many partners in crime.

A fascinating look at how the good guys and the bad guys operate. ( )
  rmkelly | Dec 9, 2013 |
Whitey Bulger is a bad man.

The writing style was rather cheesy and melodramatic at times, but the story was very interesting. ( )
  KristySP | Apr 21, 2013 |
The book for anyone who wants to understand this chapter in Boston history. I re-read it after James "Whitey" Bulger was arrested and it was still excellent. It would be interesting if they wrote a follow-up about the trial and all the legal manuvering. ( )
  Maya47Bob46 | Jan 12, 2013 |
I should like this! It's a book with true crime, mind-blowing intrigue, violence, unimaginable corruption of values that ought to be inviolable, and platters and platters of Italian food. What's not to like?

Quite a bit, unfortunately. The series of articles that ran in the Boston Globe - the meat of the book - actually appears in the middle, starting with a chapter called Murder, Inc. (at least that's the first one I recognized). The beginning is a long, slow buildup added to flesh out the book. If you can survive the opening chapters, and keep track of the characters involved (the author annoyingly alternates between last names, first names, and mob names, tripling the number of things you have to memorize just to follow along), you'll certainly know everything there is to know about how Whitey Bulger neutralized every law enforcement agency that set out to bring him down.

But with Whitey in the news, it's good to read, even if it's got some slow bits. ( )
  spacecommuter | Jul 18, 2011 |
Black Mass is the true story of James "Whitey" Bulger and Stevie Flemmi's work as informants with the Boston FBI. Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi became FBI informants giving information on the Italian mafia and other organized criminals. Special Agent John Connolly was the handler for both Bulger and Flemmi. Connolly along with other FBI agents and law enforcement officials became involved in a twisted web of lies in order to protect Bulger and Flemmi. By doing so Bulger and Flemmi were "free" to move up the mafia chain, eliminate opposition, and move about Boston with a seemingly untouchable attitude. The alliance between the FBI and Bulger and Flemmi begins to crumble when the lies can no longer hold up in a criminal case brought against Bulger and Flemmi.

I knew nothing about this case before I read this book. I was shocked that such an alliance between members of the mafia and the FBI could lead to such a breach in information. The FBI agents, particularly Connolly, seemed to be caught up in the idea of hanging with such "powerful" people and were willing to put others in danger in order to remain where they were. This case illuminates the problems with how the FBI handled informants and was the reason for major revisions within the FBI.

The authors managed to take a complex long-term story and make it easy to understand. There were times that I became bored with all the background, but overall it aided in the telling of the story. This story was one that showed how the mafia worked while Bulger was in it and showed how law enforcement deals with organized crime cases. There were moments of suspense and thrill in this true story that will have any reader caught up in the double life of Whitey Bulger, Stevie Flemmi, and John Connolly. ( )
1 vote goose114 | Jul 19, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
From Judas Iscariot to Linda Tripp, there have been few figures more reviled than the double-crossing informer. Jews recite a daily prayer imploring God to deny informers any hope of redemption in the world to come. Among the Irish, there is no lower form of life. Sean O'Callaghan, who informed against the I.R.A., wrote that he had been brought up to believe that it would be ''better by far to be a rapist, a murderer, anything but an informer.''

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Dick Lehrprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Neill, Gerardmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060959258, Paperback)

In the spring of 1988, Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill set out to write the story of two infamous brothers from the insular Irish enclave of South Boston: Jim "Whitey" Bulger and his younger brother Billy. Whitey was the city's most powerful gangster and a living legend--tough, cunning, without conscience, and above all, smart. Billy, president of the state Senate, was a political heavyweight in Massachusetts. These facts alone make for an intriguing story, but as Lehr and O'Neill found out, this was only the beginning.

John Connolly, a rising FBI agent and fellow "Southie," had known the Bulgers since boyhood when Whitey rescued him from a playground fight. After investigating organized crime in New York, Connolly was reassigned to the bureau's Boston office in 1975, and was determined to make a name for himself by relying on his old connections. He succeeded in a big way by lining up Whitey as an FBI informant in an effort to bring down the Italian Mafia--a major coup for both the FBI and Connolly. In exchange, Bulger received protection. Though heavily involved in extortion, intimidation, assassination, and drug trafficking, Connolly's "good bad guy" did not receive so much as a traffic infraction for over 20 years. In time, however, the deal changed, and information began flowing the other direction, with Bulger manipulating Connolly and a small group of corrupt FBI agents to further his nefarious network. The criminals and the lawmen eventually became virtually indistinguishable.

Black Mass expertly details the twists and turns of this complex story, painting a vivid portrait of Boston's underbelly and its inclusive political machine, as well as exposing one of the worst scandals in FBI history. It's also an examination of loyalty--to family, home, and heritage--and "a cautionary tale about the abuse of power that goes unchecked." As a final favor, Connolly tipped off Bulger that he was to be indicted on racketeering charges in 1995, allowing him time to go on the lam (he's reported to have access to secret bank accounts across the country). He was added to the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List" in 1999. --Sharon M. Brown

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:10 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

John Connoly and James "Whitey" Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston. Decades later, in the mid 1970's, they would meet again. By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI's Boston office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob. What happened next--a dirty deal to bring down the Italian mob in exchange for protection for Bulger--would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and, ultimately, the biggest informant scandal in the history of the FBI. As told by two Boston Globe reporters who were on the case from the beginning, Black Mass is at once a riveting crime story, a cautionary tale about the abuse of power, and a penetrating look at Boston and its Irish population.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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