Friday, March 1, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'The Sopranos Sessions'


The Washington Times published my review of The Sopranos Sessions. 

Being half-Italian and having grown up in South Philadelphia, the center of the Philadelphia-New Jersey Cosa Nostra crime family, I knew or knew of a good number of South Philly and Jersey wise guys. As a crime reporter and columnist for a South Philadelphia newspaper, I covered mob murders, FBI and police investigations, and internecine mob wars back in the 1990s.

More recently, I interviewed Ralph Natale, the former Philadelphia-New Jersey mob boss who became a cooperating witness, as well as Philip Leonetti, another cooperating witness who was former Philadelphia-New Jersey mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo’s nephew and underboss. (I reviewed both of their books here).

Watching HBO’s “The Sopranos” from the beginning of the series in January of 1999, I saw a cast of characters that were very familiar to me (I especially liked Tony Sirico’s “Paulie Walnuts” character). From the clever crooks and viscous murderers to the dim and clueless criminals, I found their language, violence, nonstop hustling and Machiavellian manipulation to be mostly realistic. I also liked the mobsters’ humor, as mob guys can be very funny — intentionally and unintentionally.

Although I thought “The Sopranos” should have wrapped up a season or two earlier, and I disliked the finale, I was and am a huge fan of the TV crime series. I recently rewatched season one, which is the best season of the show, in my view.

… The book is perhaps everything you’ve ever wanted to know about “The Sopranos.” The authors offer recaps of every episode, a variety of essays and the authors’ newspaper articles from 1999 to 2007. The book also offers a series of long-form Q&As with the series’ creator, David Chase. Mr. Chase, an Italian-American whose family name was originally DeCesare, worked on “The Rockford Files” and “Northern Exposure” before creating “The Sopranos.”

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

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