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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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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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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).

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Frank Friel shows his mettle in this extensively detailed book about his involvement in breaking up the Nicky Scarfo mob in Philadelphia. Friel was the cop end of a special task force where the FBI and local police cooperated in breaking up the Scarfo syndicate.
Friel's descriptions are extensive with interviews with mafia players and extensive details on the construction of Scarfo's mafia hierarchy and the conviction of Philly mafia wiseguys.
At times Friel comes off as too saintly but manages to avoid boring the reader with too much self promotion. Instead, his nuts-and-bolts information on the Philly mob is hard hitting and to the point. He knows all the players well and by the end of the book so will the reader.
Unlike other mafia books where mobsters sound romantic and rebellious, Friel shows the brutality and petty nature of the real deal.
A must-read for anyone beginning to learn about the Philly mob scene.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Hercules Sutton on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
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
Format: Paperback
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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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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