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Wiseguy

Wiseguy

Написано Nicholas Pileggi

Озвучено Nicholas Pileggi


Wiseguy

Написано Nicholas Pileggi

Озвучено Nicholas Pileggi

оценки:
4.5/5 (54 оценки)
Длина:
3 часа
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 1, 1990
ISBN:
9781442345430
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

"At the age of twelve my ambition was to become a gangster. To be a wiseguy. Being a wiseguy was better than being President of the United States. To be a wiseguy was to own the world." --Henry HillWiseguy is Nicholas Pileggi's remarkable bestseller, the most intimate account ever printed of life inside the deadly high-stakes world of what some people call the Mafia. Wiseguy is Henry Hill's story, in fascinating, brutal detail, the never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster--his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistress, his code of honor.Henry Hill knows where a lot of the bodies are buried, and he turned Federal witness to save his own life. The mob still hunted him for what he reveals in Wiseguy: hundreds of crimes including arson, extortion, hijacking, and the $6 million Lufthansa heist, the biggest successful cash robbery in U.S. history, which led to ten murders. A firsthand account of the secret world of the mob, Wiseguy is more compelling than any novel.
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 1, 1990
ISBN:
9781442345430
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

Nicholas Pileggi (b. 1933) began his career as a crime reporter for the Associated Press and New York magazine. He found fame when his familiarity with the members and workings of the Mafia led to his two bestselling nonfiction volumes about organized crime, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family and Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, both of which were adapted into award-winning films directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi is also involved in film and television. He served as an executive producer for the Ridley Scott film American Gangster and cowrote the pilot for the CBS TV show Vegas. In 1990, he won a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Goodfellas.  


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4.4
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  • (4/5)
    (Originally written September 2000 - ported over from the now-defunct Epinions.com)"At the age of twelve my ambition was to become a gangster." So says Henry Hill, the career criminal profiled in Nicholas Pileggi's fascinating read, "Wiseguy." This biography/memoir introduces you to Hill's little corner of the mob world, with an "articulate hoodlum" and an organized-crime journalist as your straight-shooting tour guides. A word of warning: if you harbor a strong dislike for violent movies, stay away from "Wiseguy." Like its movie adaptation (Martin Scorsese's masterful "Goodfellas"), the book makes no bones about the lawless nature of its characters. To their credit, both works do their best to describe mob life without glamorizing it. Henry who? "Wiseguy," like its companion movie, focuses on a 25-year period of its central character's life, starting in 1974 when the twelve-year-old Henry Hill (a la E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate) gets a part-time job running errands for the local mob boss. A quarter-century later, his criminal career would come to an abrupt close with his arrest for drug dealing, and his subsequent entrance into the Federal Witness Protection Program. In between those two dates, he committed enough offenses for a ream of rap sheets. Even a glimpse at Pileggi's index - which includes entries for "liquor, hijacking of," "murders, everyone kept in line by," and "arson jobs" - will tell you that Hill and his buddies weren't exactly law-abiding citizens. According to one of the back cover quotes, he mentions hundreds of crimes in "Wiseguy" - a number I wouldn't doubt. Despite his record, though, Hill was just a street soldier. He never attained boss status, let alone the name recognition of an Al Capone or a Bugsy Siegel. As Pileggi explains in his intro, this is actually a good thing: Hill saw himself not as a glamorous gangster, but as a working wiseguy, and his recollections of the life aren't clouded by delusions of grandeur. A mobster biography "Wiseguy" combines both first-person flashbacks and third-person narrative. Hill, who approached Pileggi to write his story, contributes the lion's portion of the former; his memories are supplemented by the reminiscences of Karen Hill, his wife; Linda, once his steady girlfriend; and Daniel Mann, a Nassau County narcotics detective who worked on Hill's drug-dealing case. As the book follows Hill through the years, Pileggi switches back and forth between these accounts and his own material, which either fills in details or zooms out to a broader perspective. Thankfully, "Wiseguy" doesn't just skip from crime to crime, and devotes a lot of space to the day-to-day details of Hill's life. One of my favorite parts of the book (which also was featured in the movie) is Hill's description of dinner preparations in prison: "We always had a pasta course first and then meat or fish. Paulie always did the prep work. He had a system for doing the garlic. He used a razor, and he sliced it so fine that it used to liquefy in the pan with a little oil. Vinnie Aloi was in charge of making the tomato sauce. I felt he put in too many onions, but it was a good sauce anyway." The actual crimes are similarly expounded upon. Hill and Pileggi provide insights on (among other offenses) passing counterfeit money, on bookmaking, on hijacking, and on "busting out" restaurants. These sections aren't results-oriented, but process-oriented, as Hill carefully and minutely describes techniques of the trade. (Please note: I am not advocating "Wiseguy" as a guide to committing any of these crimes.) I, gangster I'm somewhat surprised that Hill didn't get co-writing credit with Pileggi. What the wiseguy may lack in sophistication, he makes up for with down-to-earth prose and telling detail - and even the occasional flash of humor: "To us, and especially to guys like Jimmy, the airport was better than Citibank." "That's what the FBI can never understand - that what Paulie and the organization offer is protection for the kinds of guys who can't go to the cops. They're like the police department for wiseguys." "I had a few hours until Judy's flight, and I had told my brother to keep an eye on the ragu. All day long the guy had been watching helicopters and tomato sauce." Hill is matter-of-fact when describing murders, thefts and other crimes; his amoral outlook and often profane explanations may offend some readers. On the other hand, he doesn't gloss over or glorify them, reserving praise for the fruits of his felonies. Pileggi's narrative is more analytical than Hill's testimony, but is still clearly and sharply written. The journalist packs a lot of punch into his crisp sentences: "He [Paul Vario] seemed invulnerable. Deliberate. He exuded the sort of lethargy that sometimes accompanies absolute power." "Henry Hill turned out to love the army ... He had never camped out, and he had never lit a fire that wasn't a felony." The accounts by Hill's wife Karen, his girlfriend Linda, and detective Mann help fill in details on particular parts of this wiseguy's life, but Pileggi and Hill do the bulk of the heavy lifting. Combined, they provide a fairly complete portrait of Hill's criminal career - and by extension, the inner workings of the mob he belonged to.The final score: 4 out of 5 stars "Wiseguy" is a solid achievement, not quite a classic. It won't wow you with pyrotechnic prose, or with stunning sequences like Scorsese's "Goodfellas." Nevertheless, it's an intimate profile of a gangster at work, and a good read for anyone interested in the day-to-day doings of organized crime.
  • (5/5)
    This book clearly defines the inner workings of the Mafia. I enjoyed it so much. I would highly recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    An entertaining book from a personal voice of a mobster. If you're a fan of Goodfellas as a movie, this book is for you.
  • (5/5)
    It keeper the listener very interested with using other voices for roll playing
  • (3/5)
    I was bummed that this is the abridged version, so I feel that I’ve missed many details and stories that make this story so intriguing. Going to go to my book and play catch up.
  • (4/5)
    I've always been fascinated with the Italian Mafia and outlaw biker gangs and the lifestyle that they lead. I've watched all the Godfather movies, The Last Chapter and Sons of Anarchy, along with documentaries about Al Capone, the Teflon Don, Bugsy Malone, and Pretty Boy Floyd. I even followed John Gotti's court case. Even with all that, this book opened my eyes to Wise Guys and their lifestyle. It is set in New York during the 1960's, and 1970's. Henry Hill was an American mobster affiliated with the Lucchese family. He was never a made man, and he was never part of the inner circle, but he was a foot soldier and he was a reliable earner for Paul Vario. From the time he was 13, Henry was in deep with the mob. He started running errands in Paul Vario's brother's cab stand, and branched out to become involved in the numbers game, betting, selling guns and dope, and hustling wherever he could. When he was "pinched" for a ten-year stretch for extortion, he continued his hustling and earning even from prison. He got out on good behaviour and was right back hustling for Paul Vario the day after. Eventually Henry gets caught on a narcotics charge and all of a sudden he's persona-non-grata with Vario. In order to save his family and his own skin, he becomes an FBI informant and placed in Witness Protection. His various testimonies put a lot of important "made men" and mob bosses in prison. This true story reads like a fiction book, and it's a real page-turner. Life is certainly cheap on the "mob highway", and it' all about the money and the power. All things that I knew already, but didn't fully understand the real scope of life living "cheek-by-jowl" with the real Mafia kingpins. I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend to other organized crime aficionados like myself.
  • (3/5)
    A shallow portrait of a psychopath. It should be interesting to see things from Henry Hill and his wife's perspectives, but there is so little there. Even as they are killing people, they like to defend themselves as being just like big kids, who like to have fun. They are addicted to drugs and to gambling, so the fun is predictable. > Then Tuddy said from now on all mail from the school gets delivered to the pizza parlor, and if the guy ever again delivers another letter from the school to my house, Tuddy's going to shove him in the pizza oven feet first. "That was it. No more letters from truant officers. No more letters from the school. In fact, no more letters from anybody. Finally, after a couple of weeks, my mother had to go down to the post office and complain."> There were hundreds of guys who depended upon Paulie for their living, but he never paid out a dime. The guys who worked for Paulie had to make their own dollar. All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. … The other reason you have to be allied with somebody like Paulie is to keep the cops off your back. Wiseguys like Paulie have been paying off the cops for so many years that they have probably sent more cops' kids to college than anyone else. They’re like wiseguy scholarships.> And still, the idea of trusting myself to the feds was almost as scary as having to face Jimmy. It wasn't that the feds were crooked and would sell me out. It was that they were so dumb. They were always making mistakes. In my own drug case, for instance, I knew that the informant was Bobby Germaine's son, because the cops had accidentally left his name in the court papers. They were always fucking up like that, and I didn’t want them fucking up with my life.
  • (4/5)
    New York mobster Henry Hill started his criminal career in 1955, at the tender age of eleven, running errands for the local mafia. He continued on with a rather impressive variety of illegal activities until 1980, when he realized that two remaining options were to cooperate with the FBI and enter the Witness Protection Program, or to get whacked by his supposed friends for knowing too much about a multimillion-dollar robbery. (He chose the FBI.) This biography of Hill -- although perhaps it's at least partly an autobiography, as much of it is in his own words -- was the basis for the movie Goodfellas. I haven't seen that particular film, but I will say that I was a little surprised by just how much the people described here resembled some of the gangsters I have seen in movies and TV. I'm not sure whether I find that fact entertaining, disappointing, or kind of scary.I did learn some things about the structure and day-to-day business of organized crime that I failed to pick up from watching The Sopranos, though. And the book also offers some insights into the psychology of career criminals, although it turns out not to be too terribly profound. Mostly it boils down to a few simple things: 1) Whatever everybody else around you is doing seems perfectly normal. 2) Money and power are nice! And 3) nobody really expects to be caught. (This belief is apparently far less irrational than it sounds, or at least it was in Hill's day.)There are some hair-curling stories in here, but on the whole I didn't find it quite as engrossing as it seemed like it ought to be. More than anything, the staggering levels of corruption depicted here left me feeling kind of depressed.
  • (4/5)
    Based on evidence given while going into the witness protection program, this is a gritty view of what it is actually like to be a 'Wise Guy' or Mafia thug. I was amazed & repelled by the book. Unlike the Godfather which made a hero out of such men & touted a loyalty & honor throughout the ranks, this book shows the actual setup. How self-interest rules their lives & how little empathy they have. I didn't like the book or the subject, but it was well written & worth reading. I just find the idea of people leeching off society the way they do repugnant.
  • (4/5)
    If you're a fan of the Soprano's or interested in the Mob you will really enjoy this book. It's the life story of Henry Hill from his youth and entry into the Mob ( he couldn't actually be a "made man") to his time in the witness protection plan. It's hard to believe all the cons and schemes these mobsters ran. I live close to the Federal Pen at Lewisburg PA. where Henry spent some time and it's hard to believe all of the things he got away with while serving his time.
  • (5/5)
    The paradox of Nicolas Pillegi's "Wiseguy" is that although it remains the quintessential gangster tale of modern times, its subject played a relatively minor role in the day-to-day operation of La Cosa Nostra. Henry Hill did not have the larger-than-life personality of a John Gotti, or the blue-chip worthy resume of a Meyer Lansky. He didn't invent Las Vegas, he wasn't a boss. He didn't even run a crew of his own. Because of his Irish blood, Henry Hill was never able to fully assimilate into the Sicilian subculture. This outsider view is precisely what makes "Wiseguy" so readable, so lacking in the pretense that the stereotypical gangster biography brings to the table. As Pileggi notes in his prologue, Hill goes against the grain of the typical mafioso figure he covered in his accomplished career as a crime reporter. Well-spoken and straightforward, "Wiseguy" breaks down mob mentality into a street level study of the inner machinations of organized crime: where and how the foot-level soldiers, middle management and CEOs operated and interacted with each other. Growing up next to a cab-stand the local mob bosses ran, Hill was given access to the powerful fist that ran the city's rackets, from hijacking to elaborate heists to loansharking - he had it all at his fingertips. And even when it all fell apart, when the party was over and the cold, harsh reality set in that he might have to just become an everyday "shnook," Hill can only glibly muse that when he tries to order spaghetti and marinara now, all he gets is egg noodles and ketchup.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. "WISEGUY" by Nicholas Pilieggi tracks a ganster through his lifetime. It reveals both the good and the bad that come with this kind of lifestyle. Rather than merely saying the ways of the Mafia are good or bad, "WiSEGUY" disclosed all areas of lifestyle and lets the reader decide for themselves whether or not they agree with the "ganster mentality". This book is very fun to read because it is never predictable. The lifestyle it is conveying is one of the most unpredictable and action packed ways of living and is a lot of fun to read about. "WISEGUY" reveals the ups and downs of the life of a gangster in a format that is both fun to read and thought provoking. Thus, it even relates to the subject of search of self because it forces you to think about the influence money can have on people and how it can push people to do extreame things that are often regreted. It forces you to ask yourself how far you would go for money and power and if these things are too influential in your decisions. I loved this book and I give it five stars.
  • (5/5)
    I adored the movie Goodfellas. It was my favorite movie for several years. Yesterday, I picked up Wiseguy to see if I could like it.In short, I did. I'm glad I saw the movie first, so I could have Ray Liotta's voice doing the narration. I've never been fascinated with the mafia, although I am acquainted with several members.