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Breaking the Mob: The Gripping True Story of a Dedicated Cop Who Led the Fight that Put an Entire Mafia Family out of Business Paperback – March 20, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frank Friel joined the Philadelphia Police Force in 1960 at the age of 18. From 1982 to 1988 he was chief investigator and co-director of the Philadelphia Police/FBI Organized Crime Task Force in Philadelphia. He was guest lecturer for the FBI on the problems of organized crime, serves as a consultant to Major League Baseball on organized crime, and teaches courses about organized crime at LaSalle College and St. Joseph and Temple Universities. He travels around the country assessing the professional standards of police departments on behalf of the National Commission on Accreditation. Friel retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 1989 to take a position of Director of Public Safety in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. In 1997, he started Atlantic Security International Investigations, a division of Atlantic Security Inc., where he currently serves as president.John Guinther is a Philadelphia-based author and journalist. Three of his articles have been cited for excellence by the American Bar Association. He is the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy and Gerald Loeb awards. He has written six other books. Guinther's articles on the Ferber case were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1986. The same year, he was awarded the Louis Apotheker citation for the advancement of the cause of justice by a non-lawyer. Another of his books, Brotherhood of Murder, written with Thomas Martinez, has been filmed by Showtime, starring William Baldwin, and is also available through iUniverse.com. His most recent book is Direction of Cities (Viking/Penguin, 1997).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (March 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595000509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595000500
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,168,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Hercules Sutton on October 1, 2004
are the strong points of this docudrama about the collapse of the mob in Philadelphia in the 1980s, when corruption was rampant in city government, its judiciary, unions and police force. Friel gives us strategy and tactics he used, including interview techniques and psychological gambits. He admits that his method would have failed if trust hadn't broken down in the mob because of actions by a godfather who was thought irrational and vicious by his mobsters. Friel shows how bureaucratic methods are couterproductive--everything from time wasted in report writing to conviction of the innocent. His suggestions for change are consistent with management theory about large-scale organizations. As an investigator, he's thorough and competent; but these very qualities sometimes make it difficult to read this book, as it suffers from heavy prose. There's an irony or two, but never a laugh. Investigating organized crime is serious stuff. "Breaking the Mob" is more penetrating than other first person books about true crime, but less penetrable. Worth reading, as a legacy of how the good guys got the bad guys & what it took to bring them down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Historian on May 5, 2006
Some books about criminal mobs by lawmen can fall into the trap of being too judgmental, self righteous and poorly written. This book though strikes the right balance and delivers relevant details of the rackets, history and personalities of the Philadelphia mafia and its mobsters. The book flows well and does not burden the reader with irrelevant comments and long winded sermons.

The success of police tactics in putting pressure on mafia members to turn informer and agree to testify against the mob in court is the link that enables Frank Friel and his fellow officers to build up cases against Scarfo and associates that eventually leads to convictions with long jail sentences and brings down the mob.

Scarfo's bloodthirsty and unstable leadership plays a large part in turning some mafia members (who realize that they also are in unmistakable danger of being bumped off by Scarfo) to become government witness's against the mob.

Friel provides a great deal of information about his conversations and dealings with criminals, the local police and FBI agents. He also does a sidetrack to provide relevant details of corruption in local government and areas of the Philadelphia police force, and this helps the reader to understand how severe the problem of organized crime became for this city. Happily in the end the good guys eventually win and drive the crooks out of town and straight to jail with long sentences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Freaknasti369 on August 11, 2001
I enjoyed reading this book. It was informative, just as good as a book written by George Anastasia titled "The Goddfella Tapes", In both books, they talk about Philadelphia "La Cosa Nostra" and how law enforcement try to defeat them...Wiretaps, Stake outs, asking questions and getting informants...These books are essentailly "Good VS Bad". Go and get them, you'll enjoy them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kline Fine Design on September 11, 2013
Verified Purchase
This book was purchased due to my forty-year plus "friendship" with Neil Ferber, as well as my brief fling with his brother, Jay. I enjoyed the book immensely and feel Francis Friel and did an excellent job. However, Barry Saltzburg got away with murder, too many times, and I wish karma would get him already. I was sickened by the lack of knowledge of the real character of this piece of human waste.
It is a very interesting read, whether you knew these people or not.

Neil's story is very sad, but we had a phone conversation in 2007, a few months prior to his death, and he was so high that he couldn't hold up the telephone. I understand he blew the 1.8 mil he got for sewing the State of Pennsylvania in a very short period of time and had a serious drug problem at the time of his death. I cut off communication with him in 07 because of his drug use, and disappointment in him as a friend.

I think the book is more enjoyable if you are from Philly and knew some of these characters.
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Breaking the Mob: The Gripping True Story of a Dedicated Cop Who Led the Fight that Put an Entire Mafia Family out of Business
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