Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia

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9780060182564: Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia
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In March of 1992, the highest-ranking member of the Mafia in America ever to defect broke his blood oath of silence and testified against his boss, John Gotti.
He is Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, second-in-command of the Gambino organized-crime family, the most powerful in the nation.
Today, Gotti is serving life in prison without parole. And as a direct consequence of Gravano's testimony, Cosa Nostra - the Mafia's true name - is in shambles.
In Underboss, based on dozens of hours of interviews with Gravano, much of it written in Sammy the Bull's own voice, we are ushered as never before into the uppermost secret inner sanctums of Cosa Nostra - an underworld of power, lust, greed, betrayal, deception, sometimes even honor, with the specter of violent death always poised in the wings.
Gravano's is a story about starting out on the street, about killing and being killed, revealing the truth behind a quarter-century of shocking headlines. It is also a tragic story of a wasted life, of unalterable choices and the web of lies, weakness, and treachery that underlie the so-called Honored Society.

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Review:

America's fascination with organized crime is bottomless. From the books of Mario Puzo's Godfather series to films like Good Fellas, popular culture feeds an appetite for the dark side of the American dream--fortunes built on drugs, prostitution, and gambling instead of steel, railways, and software. But even in the most brutal films or books, a certain patina of glamour clings to fictional mobsters; their antihero status renders them strangely seductive. Now comes a real-life account of the mob by one of its former leading denizens: Underboss, the story of Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, as told by Peter Maas. Gravano spent his entire life in the mob, his loyalty unswerving until the moment he realized crime boss John Gotti was about to sell him down the river in order to save his own neck. At that point Sammy the Bull "switched governments" and turned state's evidence.

Gravano might not be well-educated and he's certainly not glamorous, but he's a vivid storyteller. What he has to say is horrifying in its matter-of-factness. Car thief, extortionist, intimidator, and murderer, Gravano was also a dedicated family man who preferred to spend evenings home with his wife and kids. Above all, he never lost sight of who and what he was: "I don't think I'm Robin Hood. I think I'm a gangster." John Gotti, on the other hand, thought he was a celebrity, an attitude Gravano obviously disapproved of. The relationship between Gotti and Gravano lies at the heart of this story, for loyalty is what Gravano lived by and what he ultimately betrayed. His reasons make for compelling, disturbing reading.

About the Author:

An award-winning, bestselling author, Peter Maas lives in New York City. His previous works include The Valachi Papers, Serpico, King of the Gypsies, Marie, Made in America and Manhunt.

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