Mafia Wife: My Story of Love, Murder, and Madness

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9780066212616: Mafia Wife: My Story of Love, Murder, and Madness

The spellbinding, explosive memoir by Lynda Milito, wife of Louie Milito, a capo in New York's most powerful and notorious Mafia family, the Gambinos.

In the 1950s and '60s, Louie Milito came of age with the Junior Rampers, a tough-minded gang from his Brooklyn neighborhood. Eventually, Louie graduated to more prominent ranks, becoming a made member of the Gambinos, a capo, and architect for some of the infamous family's most bloody work. Louie was also a trusted friend and colleague to family underboss Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. Since their teenage years running the streets of Brooklyn through their reign in the inner circle of the Gambinos, Louie had no doubt that Gravano and family boss John Gotti would forever watch his back. But in 1988, Louie Milito disappeared. His body has never been found. Louie's wife, Lynda Milito, discovered that Louie was killed by the very people who were supposed to protect him.

Mafia Wife is the story of Lynda's and Louie's life. Lynda shares an unforgettable, intimate portrayal of living inside the dangerous world of the Mafia. In this fascinating personal drama about coming of age and being married to the mob, Lynda recounts her lonely childhood, aching to find a comfort that would counter her loveless relationship with her mother. She confesses to being attracted to the danger and headiness of being with a powerful man, and ex-plores the searing pain of child molestation and spousal abuse, life-threatening bouts with mental illness, and strained relationships with her children.

Mafia Wife is Lynda's frighteningly illuminating story of the myths of the Mafia. The Mafia, she contends, is not about The Godfather–esque ideals of honor and loyalty. Gambino and Gotti were not that romantic. Mafia life is about money. It's also about betrayal and love -- and watching your back. In exposing the unadulterated truth about the mob, Lynda divulges what details she knows about Louie's criminal enterprises and the blind eye she turned, year after year, to the blood on his hands. It was only after his death, and twenty-two years of marriage, that Lynda Milito is finally talking.

Mafia Wife is a true Sopranos-like portrait of a life most of us cannot imagine: the story of a woman who lived outside the law and whose worst fears were realized when her husband was murdered and his body never found. In an extraordinarily brave voice, Lynda illuminates the horror her family went through, seeing what her husband and children's father was capable of, trying to comfort him when he knew he was in over his head, enduring his stays in prison, seeing his “friends” take stands (both in and out of court) about why and how Louie was murdered, having to relocate to another state, being questioned by the FBI, and trying, after all this, to find a small peace.

Mafia Wife is a blindingly honest survival story and love story. Milito presents an astonishing and groundbreaking perspective on the world of the Mafia, depicting with uncommon lucidity the merciless heritage of true love wed to true crime.

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About the Author:

Lynda Milito was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She was married to Louie Milito for twenty-two years; they have a son, Louis, and a daughter, Deena. Lynda lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

From Publishers Weekly:

The seamy world of the Gambino crime family first took book form thanks to notorious turncoat Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, who told his story to Peter Maas for the 1997 Underboss. Linda Milito, the long-suffering wife of Sammy's partner Louie Milito (murdered in 1988 under Sammy's orders, Linda maintains, though Sammy "told the feds it was John Gotti's idea"), now tells her own tale of the mob life, as seen from the home front. Hers is not a glamorous account: she documents her husband's rise from a petty crook who robbed pay phones to a "straightened out" tough who became a captain with the Gambinos. The grinding monotony and terrible strife of her existence-struggling to make money legitimately while her husband languished in jail, trying to protect her son from bullies, coping with terrible physical abuse-is chilling. The image-conscious "wiseguys" that formed her social circle (and who are rather hilariously obsessed with The Godfather) become pitiable figures, trapped in a cycle of murder and deceit. On the whole, Milito manages to tell her story unflinchingly, without sounding self-pitying, even as she details her mental illness and her current abusive relationship. Collaborator Potterton does an excellent job of keeping the narrative running smoothly, organizing the tangle of names and connections, and maintaining Milito's honest and streetwise Brooklyn voice. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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