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Made Men: The True Rise-and-Fall Story of a New Jersey Mob Family Mass Market Paperback – February 4, 2003


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Made Men: The True Rise-and-Fall Story of a New Jersey Mob Family + Mob Killer: The Bloody Rampage of Charles Carneglia, Mafia Hit Man + Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier's Life in the Gambino Crime Family
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425185516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425185513
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Based on more than 1000 hours of secretly recorded conversations, this book tells the story of New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family. Originally dismissed by the large New York City crime organizations, the DeCavalcantes sought the opportunity to move up in the crime world when their big-city counterparts began having legal troubles and when The Sopranos, which recounts the life of a fictional Jersey mob family, became such a hit on HBO. Unfortunately for the DeCavalcantes, they had been infiltrated by an FBI informant. Although the show's creator has denied it, much of The Sopranos is said to be based on this real-life crime family, and DeCavalcante members were even caught on federal wiretaps bragging about their similarity to the TV mobsters. But while Daily News mob reporter Smith draws many parallels between the DeCavalcantes and the fictional Sopranos, the book does not quite live up to its potential. Much of the writing seems disjointed and repetitious, and a few superfluous anecdotes scattered throughout seem to have little relevance to the rest of the story. Recommended with reservations for large public libraries where there is a strong interest in organized crime books.
Sarah Jent, Univ. of Louisville Lib., KY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Greg B. Smith, reporter for New York’s Daily News, covers the federal courts in Brooklyn and Manhattan that serve as Ground Zero in the battle to end mafia influence in America. An investigative reporter for nearly twenty years, Smith has written for The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Examiner, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and other newspapers around the country. He’s also a frequent guest on TV and radio discussing everything from racketeering to the Latin Kings street gang to world terrorist organizations. Mr. Smith lives with his wife and two boys in Brooklyn, New York.


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Customer Reviews

I was all ready to like this book.
James B. Edwards
In the book the Author included real conversations between people in the DeCavalcantes crime family, which only added to the overall effect of the book.
Brad
Yes I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about the mob as I do!!
Lea Anne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have a huge collection of mafia books and have enjoy the writings of various authors relating to topic at hand. This is one of the most current books to hit the market(2003).
I greatly enjoy the book in the sense that it opened up the DECALVACANTE family a little bit more. Being that the NEW JERSEY family wasn't as big as the BIG 5 in New York, not much has been writing about them, hell... the PHILADELPHIA family has gotten more press and coverage.
This book introduces us to current mob guys that are still alive and fresh. Most mob books are about previous generation wiseguys who have since past away. It makes us realize that as "hardhit" as the MAFIA has been lately, they are still around and scams are still being pulled. It also shows how , like everything else...the mob is evolving right before our eyes....from bootlegging, prostitution, gambling to 21st century scams like insurance fraud, wall street, computer scams, mortgage scams etc.
The only complain about this book is that time and time ago, the author keeps reiterating the same thoughts and descriptions over and over again, maybe he was just trying to fill more pages or thought the reader has the memory recollection of a snail.

When you read this book, you will understand what I means as you will find the same passages over and over again.
I do recommend this book for mafia afficionados to add to their collection, just don't expect it to be a book that you can read again and again and still be entertain. You will read this book, be momentarily entertained, educated more on the NEW JERSEY family. Then you will be bored with it and put it away. The only time I picture myself opening this book again is if I needed to research a certain wiseguy that was mentioned in the book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Harmon on July 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The casual, almost semi-cynical, form of writing suits the subject of this book: A minor crime family in New York area finds itself cast in a major TV production. Although the Sopranos don't labor under the lack of respect that the Decalvacantes or "farmers" receive, you do get a unique perspective of the crime family imitating fiction or vice versa. Like many Mafia books, this one is episodic as I suppose it has to be and it is difficult to keep the characters in their place (anyone ever hear of a organizational tree?). Still, it is easy to read and see what is going on.

The faults of the book are that the author's reporter-style writing comes through a bit much. He relies on structured chronological headings, almost like a time stamp. However, this isn't much of a fault and his style works well.

I enjoyed it. It was a quick read. If you like the Sopranos, you'll like this book and it will give you more insight into the real "real" life characters.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "goodfellanyc" on December 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the worst books ever written about the organazied crime. Factual mistakes, event missinterpetation, misspelled names - few examples from the bundle of errors Mr. Smith makes. Lot of references on the Sopranos and the guy misspelles GOOMAR. Vincent "Chin" Gigante's name, according to Smith, comes from his name Vincenzo - man, have you at least seen the guys picture? Look at his CHIN! I can't possibly list everything that is wrong with this book....it's just that the entire book is wrong.
Don't waste your time or money...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Haines on December 14, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book- I had never heard of the Decavalcante crime Family. I have heard that there were five major mafia families in New York. I have watched the sopranos on Hbo,and seen many of the mafia movies. The writer of this true crime book did a fine job in delineating the history of this crime family as the federal Government was putting it out of business coincident with the production of the sopranos t.v. series in the same city[elizabeth,NJ]. The writer shows in detail how the members of the crime family responded to the pressure that the Government brought to bare upon them. And how they brought about their own burnout. The author did not go into detail about the death of John D Amato in 1991 by Vinnie Ocean and Anthony Capo when according to the T.V. series CITY CONDENTIAL ON BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL. The family learned that he was a submissive homosexual. The family consented to his being wacked.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hawkinson VINE VOICE on August 15, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am on the fence with this one. It wasn't bad but there wasn't necessarily anything that was good about it either. Smith attempts to piece together the 1,000 hours of evidence with the known history in order to show us the downfall of the DeCavalcante family. We see it; we see the Mafioso family crumble under the weight of its degenerate members, so Smith succeeded there. But it is his telling that hampers this book from being an out right winner.

One thing that particularly frustrated me was that you would be reading along and Smith would describe something. It would seem as though it came out of nowhere and didn't really belong, but you shrug your shoulders and take it as part of the story. Then further into the book he would talk about that exact same scene, word for word. With no explanation. And this didn't happen just once. It happened repeatedly. Why he did this I could not make sense of it. Additionally, he would have some scenes where you know there is not a wire and Smith could not have known what was said. For example, when Joey O, Anthony Capo and I think Gallo were waiting in a stolen car outside Majuri's house to whack him we are given a word for word recital of their conversation. Yet they were in a stolen car and the three people in the car were not informants, so how does he know this? This was where Smith would try to recreate the scene, which is also where a loosely based scene was turned to fiction in order to further the book. This happened several times.

There were some redeeming qualities. For one, Smith has a dry sense of humor and you can sense it throughout the book as comments are dropped in between the mob's conversation.
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