Crusade: Undercover Against the Mafia and KGB

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9780028810195: Crusade: Undercover Against the Mafia and KGB

When "60 Minutes" asked for America's expert on Mafia activities in the United States and Sicily, the U.S. government gave them Tom Tripodi. Crusade is the story of this bare-knuckled son of Italian immigrants who learned the Mafia's secrets--from the inside out. Learn how Tom Tripodi helped put dozens of mafiosi and drug dealers in jail and how his fellow law enforcement officials in Italy have been blown away.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Burly, door-smashing story of Tripodi's 27 years undercover as a crime-fighter and covert operator, told with the help of thriller-writer DeSario (Sanctuary, 1989, etc.). Tripodi majored in philosophy at Villanova but after receiving his B.A. switched to law, a pursuit he found narrow, blinkered, and not truth-seeking when set beside philosophy. Even so, he has spent his life fighting criminals and spies by way of law-enforcement agencies--the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), the CIA, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the DEA. Here and there, he touches on noteworthy or even famous cases in which he may not have been a leading crime fighter but was in charge of the investigation or played a leading part. He started out as a foot soldier breaking down doors in drug busts. When this footwork paled, he put his knowledge of Italian to use by compiling the FBN's Mafia List, a biographical encyclopedia of all known Mafia members. Meanwhile, the FBN's rival, the FBI, wouldn't admit the existence of the Mafia and, Tripodi says, entered the fray against organized crime only when Hoover got some fancy press for himself. Tripodi gave up on the drug wars (and shows here how Mafia songster Joe Valachi's confessions were worthless canary feed) and switched to covert operations with the CIA. There, among other cases, he tried to break the story of KGB defector Major Yuri Nosenko, who claimed to have been Lee Harvey Oswald's case officer. When spy work paled, Tripodi went on to drug-busting and nailing cops and feds on the take. He details his work on the French Connection and the Pizza Connection cases, as well as in Palermo, the Mafia's original Sicilian slime pit. Lovers of brainy but big-shouldered undercover ops won't be disappointed. -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Tripodi worked undercover for the CIA, the DEA and other federal drug-enforcement agencies. In this shapeless memoir, written with thriller novelist DeSario ( Limbo ), he recalls his experiences with paramilitary Cuban exiles in Florida and with Tibetan guerrillas in Colorado, and serving as a member of the interrogation team that attempted to establish the authenticity of KGB defector Yuri Nosenko. His most important assignment, he notes, occurred in 1978 when he undertook a precedent-setting solo mission to Palermo, Italy, to fight the Mafia heroin trade. Though Tripodi's reluctance to go much beyond generalities is perhaps understandable (he was, after all, an undercover agent), the memoir is frustratingly incomplete for readers expecting the usual plethora of dramatic anecdotes in a book of this kind. Tripodi retired in 1985 after 27 years as a federal agent.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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