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Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier's Life in the Gambino Crime Family Paperback – January 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Huntington Press (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935396382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935396383
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis Griffin retired in 1994 after a 20 year career in law enforcement in New York State.He currently has six published mystery thrillers, including the first two books of Las Vegas-based trilogy. The author is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, Las Vegas Valley Writers Group, Henderson Writers Group, and the Police Writers Association.

More About the Author

Dennis N. Griffin was born in Rome, New York in 1945. He joined the U. S. Navy in 1962. After being honorably discharged in 1966, he returned to central New York. He is married and has four adult children. The Griffin's currently split their time between upstate New York and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. Griffin began his career in investigations and law enforcement in 1975, when Pinkerton, Inc. hired ...him as a private investigator. His duties included insurance fraud, missing persons, financial and background investigations, as well as undercover operations.

In 1979 the Madison County, New York Department of Social Services hired him as a Senior Child Support Investigator. He was responsible for locating and conducting financial investigations of persons failing to provide legally mandated child support.

In 1981 he joined the Madison County Sheriff's Department, and attained the rank of sergeant. He was a shift supervisor and public information officer. During the same time-period, he moonlighted as a part time patrolman for the Village of Chittenango Police Department.

In 1987 Mr. Griffin was hired by the New York State Department of Health as Director of Investigations, Wadsworth Center. The primary mission of his unit was to investigate violations of the Public Health Law relating to clinical and environmental laboratories, and health care fraud. He was responsible for hiring and training investigators, case assignments and general supervision. In addition, he personally handled the more difficult and complex investigations. Many of these cases received both local and national media attention. He retired in 1995.

In 1996, Dennis was supposed to be retired, but decided to tell the story of what he learned while investigating the operation of a medical examiner's office. It was an eye-opening experience and he felt compelled to share it with others. Dennis eventually authored a fictionalized account called, The Morgue. However, readers didn't believe anything in the book could actually happen, but they liked the story and his style; rough edges and all. Six more mystery/thriller fictions followed.

The author is an active member of the Police Writers Association. He attended Onondaga County Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College and the Central New York Regional Academy for Police Training. He has three other novels published through 1stBooks. The first, The Morgue, was published 1999. Red Gold, followed in 2000.

In January 2002, his writing career was at a crossroads. Would he continue the uphill struggle for recognition in a genre with a number of well-established authors? Or was it time to find another hobby? The question was answered at a writers' conference when a lady suggested Dennis try his hand at police-related non-fiction. That was the turning point. He began writing Policing Las Vegas, the history of law enforcement in Las Vegas and Clark County from 1905 thru 2004. Policing was released in April 2005.

Writing that book opened his eyes to some interesting things about Las Vegas and the mob that he wanted to explore; leading to his second non-fiction book, The Battle for Las Vegas, the story of the Vegas reign of Chicago mob enforcer Tony Spilotro. In the movie Casino, actor Joe Pesci played a character based on Spilotro. The Battle for Las Vegas was released on July 1, 2006.

In writing that book, Dennis relied heavily on resources such as retired FBI agents and police detectives from that era, and through his conversations with career criminal and former Spilotro lieutenant Frank Cullotta. Those conversations led to a third Vegas-based non-fiction, CULLOTTA - The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness, released nationally in July 2007.

Since that time, Dennis has written several books on the true stories of the Las Vegas mob and the era in which they reigned.

In 2007 Denny began hosting his own Internet radio show on Blog Talk Radio. You can hear his broadcasts live or listen to archived shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dennisngriffin.

Customer Reviews

The book is very well written and is a great read.
Jay A. Rankin
If you're interested in learning how the Mafia really operates and how it treats their "family" members, this is the book for you.
Cliff
I admire the guy but the book really didn't hold my interest.
Greg Cirillo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mikey B on May 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I normally dont write reviews on products but felt to do so on this item. First the writing is phenomenal and very clean. The story is very compelling as you follow Andrew on his journey into the criminal under world. His accounts on the people he associated with and did jobs with paint a clean picture of what the mafia under world is really like. I felt that Andrew was completely honest and put it all out there for the world to see without holding back. I will be recommending this book to other readers who share an interest in the mafia and want to see it from a view of a person who lived it as a solider.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Morgan St James on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Reading a book written by people you know is an entirely different experience than picking something off the shelf that was either recommended or caught your eye. I've known Denny Griffin for a few years now, and through him know Andrew DiDonato. Besides being friends, I've interviewed both of them for my column on examiner.com, so while awaiting the release of this book I truly wasn't sure what it would be like.

The Andrew I know is a charismatic, funny guy and is a delight to talk to. The Andrew you meet in the book is someone else--a dangerous guy born into a family where being part of the mob was a normal thing. Loyalties were skewed, because although the top guys expected complete allegiance from you, when the chips were down it didn't work the same way in reverse. I had a hard time picturing Andrew as that guy, and yet I know it was his life for so many years. From being an "up and coming" street soldier on the track to becoming a made man, to someone betrayed by his friends and on the run. Damned if he did, and damned if he didn't.

At the age of fourteen, a time when kids lucky enough to be born into a different environment were totally wrapped up in sports and family outings, Andrew had already set foot on the path to a life of crime. His hero was his uncle who was heavily involved in the mob, and later killed. By the time he was twenty he was fully immersed in the life, and so were his friends. In his world of crime, Andrew says you knew you could be asked to kill your friend someday or they could be asked to kill you, no questions asked. That's what happened some years later.

One of Andrew's good friends was killed by another mob member who was kind of an off-and-on friend.
Read more ›
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By ACAB on March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sat down and read it in one night. Very entertaining and detailed history of Andrew DiDonato's life as a grunt in the Gambino Family. It's nice to hear about the low level soldiers once in the while instead of the constantly re-hashed stories of Gotti, Castellano etc. Besides long sentences for drug dealing, DiDonato also points out that greed and complete lack of respect and loyalty from the bosses towards their crews are also what has contributed to the breakdown and disarray of the Families.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By NeonKnight on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read dozens upon dozens of books covering the American mafia, and I have a few favorites. But Surviving the Mob is the first book that compelled me to write a review. Griffin's account of DiDonato's life and often-harrowing adventures as a Gambino associate doesn't fall into the familiar trap of padding pages with mob history that readers have already encountered numerous times (particularly with the Gambino family). The depth of research through interviews with DiDonato is stunning, and Griffin is to be commended for a well-crafted approach that flows well.

As for DiDonato's story itself, we finally experience the day-to-day details of a modern street soldier through the words of a mobster who isn't seeking to create an after-the-fact reputation as a notorious tough guy. Instead, he relays his triumphs and defeats through a unique memory tinged with confidence, fear, and hope. Do not miss this mob book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joyce C. Zanone on January 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier's Life Inside the Gambino Crime Family
As a reader, not a critic, I always look forward to my friend, Dennis Griffin's next book. Dennis writes as he speaks-lucid and to the point. He is very knowledgeable of his subject, whether it is medical, criminal or affairs of the heart.
In this book, Surviving the Mob, Andrew DiDonato tells us how one becomes part of the mob. The money and success soon turns into time in prison. The glamour fades as Andrew's life is threatened by his very own crew.
Now Andrew is helping train detectives in mob techniques and counsels kids who may be at risk of becoming involved in the criminal life.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jay A. Rankin on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It's not a work of fictional characters inside one of your typical mob stories. This is the real thing. I looked forward to each new page in this true to life story of a man who had lived a life we can only imagine. The book is very well written and is a great read. I highly recommend it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clip326 on June 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All of Dennis Griffin's books are great, and this one is no exception. It is a behind the scenes look into a Gambino street soldier's life. It also details his decision to become a member of the Witness Protection Program. I highly recommend it.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Butterbach on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. This is a real page turner! Could not put it down! I love Dennis Griffin's books and this is at the top of my list! Written so well the reader can feel what it was like to live that life. A lesser man would not have made it out, and many have not. My hat's off to you Andrew, continue on your path.
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