Blood Oath

3.8 avg rating
( 10 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780671779054: Blood Oath

The heroic saga of a New Jersey wiseguy on the fast track who became a true crusader for justice in the fight against organized crime. Fresolone's dramatic account gives us graphic, never-before-known details of Mafia life as well as headline-making facts about major mob murders and the mob's involvement in gambling and racketeering.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An insider peep into the New YorkNew Jersey crime networks. With the help of Wagman (The Nazi Hunters, not reviewed), former wiseguy Fresolone begins his gritty confessions of life as a mobster with the hair-raising scene of his own induction ceremony into the Bruno crime family. Fresolone is already working for the Feds and has strapped to his body more than one tape recorder. It is to be the first-ever taping of a Mafia initiation ceremony- -complete with the blood-letting from the initiate's finger. In the old days, Fresolone laments, they used to mop up the blood with fragments of a saint's picture; now they ``make do'' with tissue paper. The Mob was everything the young Fresolone hoped for growing up in the Down Neck section of Newark. Down Neck was controlled by the powerful Bruno family based in Philadelphia, run nominally by the ``reluctant don'' Angelo Bruno, a mild and compromising kind of man. The real power, though, was the fearsome Tony Bananas, with ``Patty Specs,'' i.e. Pasquale Martirano, as his underboss. After Bananas had Bruno assassinated, he assumed control of the Bruno family enterprise and became our hero's employer. The relation was a tense one. In the end, Fresolone seems to have felt intense personal loyalty only to Specs, a man already dying of liver cancer. Fresolone points out that interfamily murder and strife is comparatively rare these days. It is, rather, internal family violence that is the current curse of Mob hierarchies and that seems to have most affected Fresolone. Eventually, his collaboration with the Feds brought in almost 40 major Mob figures, a fact of which he seems genuinely proud, as if it is a just retribution for what he sees as the Mafia's betrayal of its own principles of loyalty and honor. Not a prose masterpiece, but the genuine article as far as Mob documents go. With its personal touch and its relentless detail, it's a solidly alarming read. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Despite readers' apparently inexhaustible curiosity about the Mafia, many organized-crime books really aren't very engaging or readable. Some rely too heavily on nearly unintelligible transcripts of bugged conversations; others fail to help readers distinguish among hundreds of characters with outlandish nicknames. Sometimes the authors, who are often newspaper reporters, simply can't sustain a 75,000-word effort. Blood Oath is a happy exception. It's the story of George Fresolone, who from the age of nine kept company with wise guys. Naively, Fresolone believed that mafiosi were men of respect and honor. He learned otherwise when his comrades failed to support his family while he was in jail. Several years later, when the New Jersey state police had enough evidence to put him away again, Fresolone agreed to be wired for sound and promised to bring down important mobsters from New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. He did, and he and writer Robert Wagman have produced an immensely readable and engaging story--a straightforward narrative that will satisfy (this season's) inexhaustible curiosity about the Mob. Thomas Gaughan

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