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Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
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First this book is an oldie but goodie. If you want a book that reads exactly like the movie this is it. This book is based off of fact but the story itself at times lends to fiction for most law abiding citizens. This book was a collaborative effort between Nicholas Pileggi and mobster Henry Hill.This book sort of romantizes the lifestyle of the criminal Hill and his association with the Lucchese crime family. If you want a more rounded perspective of the story read "On the Run: A Mafia Childhood: Gregg Hill, Gina Hill". ( )
  batpunch | Dec 3, 2012 |
This book clearly defines the inner workings of the Mafia. I enjoyed it so much. I would highly recommend it. ( )
  Bookworm247 | Aug 2, 2012 |
New York mobster Henry Hill started his criminal career in 1955, at the tender age of eleven, running errands for the local mafia. He continued on with a rather impressive variety of illegal activities until 1980, when he realized that two remaining options were to cooperate with the FBI and enter the Witness Protection Program, or to get whacked by his supposed friends for knowing too much about a multimillion-dollar robbery. (He chose the FBI.)

This biography of Hill -- although perhaps it's at least partly an autobiography, as much of it is in his own words -- was the basis for the movie Goodfellas. I haven't seen that particular film, but I will say that I was a little surprised by just how much the people described here resembled some of the gangsters I have seen in movies and TV. I'm not sure whether I find that fact entertaining, disappointing, or kind of scary.

I did learn some things about the structure and day-to-day business of organized crime that I failed to pick up from watching The Sopranos, though. And the book also offers some insights into the psychology of career criminals, although it turns out not to be too terribly profound. Mostly it boils down to a few simple things: 1) Whatever everybody else around you is doing seems perfectly normal. 2) Money and power are nice! And 3) nobody really expects to be caught. (This belief is apparently far less irrational than it sounds, or at least it was in Hill's day.)

There are some hair-curling stories in here, but on the whole I didn't find it quite as engrossing as it seemed like it ought to be. More than anything, the staggering levels of corruption depicted here left me feeling kind of depressed. ( )
  bragan | Jun 27, 2011 |
Based on evidence given while going into the witness protection program, this is a gritty view of what it is actually like to be a 'Wise Guy' or Mafia thug. I was amazed & repelled by the book. Unlike the Godfather which made a hero out of such men & touted a loyalty & honor throughout the ranks, this book shows the actual setup. How self-interest rules their lives & how little empathy they have.

I didn't like the book or the subject, but it was well written & worth reading. I just find the idea of people leeching off society the way they do repugnant. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
If you're a fan of the Soprano's or interested in the Mob you will really enjoy this book. It's the life story of Henry Hill from his youth and entry into the Mob ( he couldn't actually be a "made man") to his time in the witness protection plan. It's hard to believe all the cons and schemes these mobsters ran. I live close to the Federal Pen at Lewisburg PA. where Henry spent some time and it's hard to believe all of the things he got away with while serving his time. ( )
  realbigcat | Feb 9, 2008 |
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On Tuesday, May 22. 1980, a man named Henry Hill did what seemed to him the only sensible thing to do: he decided to cease to exist.
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Originally published in the UK under the title 'Wiseguy' aka 'Goodfellas'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671723227, Mass Market Paperback)

"At the age of twelve my ambition was to become a gangster. To be a wiseguy. Being a wiseguy was better than being President of the United States. To be a wiseguy was to own the world." -- Henry Hill

Wiseguy is Nicholas Pileggi's remarkable bestseller, the most intimate account ever printed of life inside the deadly high-stakes world of what some people call the Mafia. Wiseguy is Henry Hill's story, in fascinating, brutal detail, the never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster -- his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor.

Henry Hill knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and he turned Federal witness to save his own life. The mob is still hunting him for what he reveals in Wiseguy: hundreds of crimes including arson, extortion, hijacking, and the $6 million Lufthansa heist, the biggest successful cash robbery in U.S. history, which led to ten murders. A firsthand account of the secret world of the mob,

Wiseguy is more compelling than any novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"The true-crime bestseller that was the basis for Martin Scorsese's film GoodFellas which brought to life the violence, the excess, the families...the drugs..." of the New York Mafia.

» see all 3 descriptions

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