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Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family Hardcover – March 8, 2011


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Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family + Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob + Family Affair: Greed, Treachery, and Betrayal in the Chicago Mafia
Price for all three: $48.95

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307717720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307717726
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I couldn’t stop reading this gripping account of Frank Calabrese Jr.’s decision to cooperate with the FBI that took down his father, uncle and the last American crime syndicate."-- Nick Pileggi, author and screenwriter of Wiseguys, Goodfellas and Casino

"An undeniably engaging tale, capturing the nitty-gritty of daily life in the "crews" of the Outfit. A useful and readable addition to Mob Lit." Kirkus reviews

About the Author

Frank Calabrese, Jr., lived in his native Chicago for thirty-nine years. Mentored by his father and brought into the Chicago outfit at age eighteen, he now resides in Arizona with his ex-wife and two children.

Keith and Kent Zimmerman have coauthored many New York Times and London Times bestselling books.

Paul Pompian, who has produced more than fifty motion pictures and television productions, was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and came by his interest in the outfit naturally.

More About the Author

Keith and Kent Zimmerman are a unique twin-brother writing team. They have written 18 books together. Their latest projects will be published in 2014, two music projects that include Shining Star, Braving the Elements of Earth Wind & Fire, co-written with Philip Bailey of EWF and published by Viking. Published by Broadway /Random House in March 2011, Operation Family Secrets is a gripping narrative nonfiction work about the Chicago mob. It's being developed as a major motion picture. Recent published works by "the Zimmermen" include Alice Cooper, Golf Monster with rock legend Alice Cooper for Crown/Random House as well as A Personal Stand, with Country superstar Trace Adkins published by Villard/Random House.

Their first literary project was Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, John Lydon's acclaimed memoirs of the Sex Pistols and the London punk scene. Rotten was nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason Award in 1994, was a Number One bestseller in the UK, and is in print in six languages and has recently been reissued. Immediately after the release of Rotten, they co-authored a book in 1996 for St. Martin's Press entitled Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales about American Southwest photorealist painter and sculptor Robert "Daddy-O" Wade.

In 2000 the Zimmerman brothers scored their first New York Times bestseller with Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Ralph "Sonny" Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. Hell's Angel has been published in fifteen countries. Four subsequent books written with Barger include Ridin' High, Livin' Free (a short story collection) and two thrillers, Dead In 5 Heartbeats and Six Chambers, One Bullet, and Freedom: Credos From the Road, all published by William Morrow/HarperCollins. Their sixth book, Soul On Bikes, was a true tale of an all-black/all-male/all-Harley motorcycle club called the East Bay Dragons, published by Motorbooks Int'l.

In 2004 BackBeat Books published the Zimmerman brothers' seventh book (and first music book since Rotten) called Sing My Way Home: Voices of the New American Roots Rock. In 2005 Simon & Schuster/Spotlight Entertainment published Mythbusters: The Explosive Truth Behind 30 of the Most Perplexing Urban Legends of All Time, based on the popular science television show seen worldwide on the Discovery Network. Next the Zimmermen completed a biography of Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton with David Hilliard. Huey: Spirit of the Panther was published by Avalon Press in 2006.

The Zimmermen also collaborated with the Teutul family--Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey--on Orange County Choppers: The Tale of the Teutuls for Warner Books. The book is also partially based on their hit television series, American Chopper. The Zimmermen also wrote The Art of Jazz, the official 50th Anniversary book for the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The two brothers began their writing careers in the music industry, having spent over two decades as Senior Editors with the national music trade magazine formerly known as Gavin. In April of 2005, the Zimmermen were named 2005 Writer Laureates by the San Francisco Friends of the Library. In addition, the Zimmermen teach a weekly creative writing class in H-Unit at San Quentin State Prison.

On the film front, Huey has been optioned for a mini-series by HBO, and Hell's Angel will star Mickey Rourke with Fox studios and director Tony Scott (Top Gun, True Romance) at the helm. Operation Family Secrets is also in development as a motion picture.

Customer Reviews

Very well written and great book!!
Donna
I read the book in two days, if a book is worth reading I don't like to stop.
Janice Rawlins
I have the feeling there is more to tell, more than we will ever know.
Mary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on March 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brutal story that chronicles a murderous "outfit" in the Chicago mob that is built around a psychopathic Father, Frank Calabrese Sr. and his son Frank Calabrese, Jr., who tells the story of a domineering abusive Father that forces him into the same way of life. The cold blooded descriptions of one murder after another are not for the squeamish. Frank Jr. who kept trying unsuccessfully to get out from under his multi-personality cold-blooded killing Father to try to lead a "straight" life... eventually winds up in a federal prison with his Father. Then he does the most unthinkable of the unthinkable. He puts his life on the line by contacting the FBI to rat on his Father... and agrees to wear a wire *IN THE PRISON YARD* to get taped confessions of his Father's almost uncountable amount of murders. The reader can feel the spine tingling tension and fear when the son takes a walk with his Father in the "yard" fully "wired-up". Jr. feels his Father is such a menace to society as well as already reneging on his pledge to get out of the "business" after prison, it's the only chance he himself has for a real life after prison. As if the emotional toll isn't high enough... simply ratting out his Father... but for Jr. to tell the whole story to the FBI he will have to include putting a noose around his Uncle Nick's neck, who Jr. has real affection for. Nick was involved in double digit murders either with... or at the bequest of Frank Sr. Though Nick was a cold-blooded killer himself... even he buckled under and cowered in the presence of Frank Sr. the few times he tried to stand up to Sr. regarding not forcing Jr. into "the-life"... he was physically and emotionally pummeled.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mary on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A facinating book. The story of the Chicago 'Mob', told from the inside out. The names of the characters are listed on the first few pages, I found this to be extremly helpful in keeping track of the people in the book. I have read other books on the same subject, but none as well written or heartfelt. What a story, what a life Frank Calabrese Jr. has lived, and now is free to truly live his life to the fullest. I can't help but wish there is a volume TWO, a sequal or at least another chapter or two, coming soon! I have the feeling there is more to tell, more than we will ever know. Great book, you wont be able to put it down!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Liz Toombs on June 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Operation Family Secret tells the story of one man and his life with a father that is a member of the Outfit, more commonly known as the mob. Now you would think this was based in a different era, but some of the stories and certainly the punishments handed out is as current as 2010. The first part tells the story from the oldest son of Frank Calabrese, Known as Frank Jr., who was forced to be a member of his fathers' crew. The names of numerous members of the Outfit are named with various crimes committed from loan sharking, bribes, including to murder. Frank Jr. Tried on numerous occasions to go legit, but was always reeled in by his father, who was a control freak. Once the Calabrese family had gotten caught, Frank Sr covered his himself, but left his brother and two sons to their own course through the legal system. Upon serving time in the same Federal prison as his father, Frank Jr. realized that he had no choice but to do whatever possible to keep his father in prison so he went to the FBI. This story is amazing and reads like fiction but is true.

If you are interested in mob history, this is a must read. If you like true crime this certainly meets the genre. If you have an interest in Chicago this book shows a shady side of the city. If you just want a memoir that is different than most and offers hope out of a level chaos not seen by the average citizen in the US.

This book is suggested.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tom on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book simply must be read!! Not just for the insight it provides into the inner workings of the mob. Lot's of books do that. But for the compelling and moving portrayal of the multi-faceted relationship between father and son. Franks Jr. tells it straight. He holds nothing back. The reader is given a behind the scenes, gritty view into the family dynamics of one of the most feared Chicago Outfit crews. This book does not attempt to glorify the mob. It attempts to tell the real, tragic story of those left in it's violent path. Understandably, it may be hard for some people to empathize or have compassion for someone who has spent much of his life cultivating a lifestyle of crime, violence, threats, deceit and lies. Read this book however, and it may just change your mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Coach on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written book which is extremely absorbing. Everything the first reviewer says about the book is true. I would recommend this book to anybody. The only shortcoming I found in the book was the truncated ending. After such an absorbing tale, the epilogue needed to tell us about the brothers' relationships after the trial, how the author himself has coped with his MS and his post-Mob life. Just one other note: the author has this affection for his Uncle Nick. I heard him interviewed on Fresh Air and he spoke about his uncle as if he were the only one watching out for him and his brothers. In the meantime, his uncle has no problem having an active role on more than 20 hits. I just didn't buy the whole story about how intimidated he was by his older brother and how that led him to take people's lives without a second thought. He is in many ways as vacuous as Frank, Sr. (the author's father).
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