Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Washington Times Review of 'Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss'

The Washington Times published my review of Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill's Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss.

There have been a good number of books written about Boston’s Irish mob boss, Whitey Bulger, and up to now “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI and a Devil’s Deal” by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill was the best one in my view. But Mr. Lehr and Mr. O’Neill have surpassed themselves with “Whitey.”

“This biography of James J. “Whitey” Bulger will explain the evolution of Bulger from juvenile delinquent in the 1940s to stone-cold killer in the 1960s, from unchallenged crime boss in the 1980s with the blessing of a corrupted FBI, to fugitive from justice in 1995, and, finally, to his capture sixteen years later in June 2011 at age eighty-one,” Mr. Lehr and Mr. O’Neill write in “Whitey.”

... I contacted Dick Lehr and asked him why, after the success of “Black Mass,” he and his co-author wrote a biography of Whitey Bulger.

“The bulk and the focus of ‘Black Mass’ is the Whitey Bulger-FBI years, basically two decades from 1975 to 1995. When Whitey was captured, we realized that this guy now warrants a biography,” Mr. Lehr told me.

Mr. Lehr said that he and his co-author realized that in 1975 when he cut his deal with the Boston FBI, Bulger was already 48. He lived half a life that the authors had barely scratched the surface of in “Black Mass.”

“There was this whole life that had not been explored, and Whitey Bulger has a place in American history as a significant crime figure,” Mr. Lehr said. “We wanted to put the “Black Mass” years in a larger context of his life story, a biography, in which we try to not just tell this dramatic and horrific story, but get more into the why and how in the making of this monster.”

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

You can also read my interview with Dick Lehr via the below link:

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