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The Quiet Don: The Untold Story of Mafia Kingpin Russell Bufalino Paperback – October 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Quiet Don is a triumph. Matt Birkbeck provides a stunning work of investigative journalism that is memorable and alive and unveils the incredible life and legacy of one of the mobs most important powerbrokers."—Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy and the screenplays for Goodfellas and Casino

“This fast-paced, captivating probe into the life of Russell Bufalino fills a major gap in the annals of organized crime and shows us why his story continues to matter so much today. This is sophisticated investigative reporting, told with a novelist’s storytelling flare.” —Paul Moses, professor of journalism at Brooklyn College and author of The Saint and the Sultan

The Quiet Don is a must-read, an important addition to the history of organized crime.” —G. Robert Blakey, a former Notre Dame law professor, a draftsmen of the RICO Act, chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and a prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice under Robert F. Kennedy.

“The fascinating tale of Russell Buffalino, a brainy mobster who was in a Mafia league of his own.” —Tom Robbins, professor at the CUNY school of journalism and former investigative reporter at the New York Daily News and Village Voice.

About the Author

Matt Birkbeck is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of Deconstructing Sammy, A Beautiful Child, and A Deadly Secret. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Rolling Stone, People magazine, Boston magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425266850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425266854
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Birkbeck is an award-winning investigative journalist and critically acclaimed author.

Birkbeck's latest book, "The Quiet Don" (Berkley/Penguin) tells the remarkable story of Mafia kingpin Russell Bufalino, who built a vast organized crime empire in the decades between Prohibition and the Carter presidency and whose power and influence reached the highest levels of government. Once described by a U.S. Senate subcommittee as "one of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States," Bufalino's legacy left a culture of corruption that continues to this day.

Birkbeck also authored "Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob" (Amistad/Harper Collins 2008), which tells the riveting story of Sammy Davis Jr. and the efforts to resolve his millions in debts and restore his legacy following his death in 1990. The New York Times Book Review called Deconstructing Sammy "Gripping" and "Sensational," and the Los Angeles Times called it "Epic."

A Beautiful Child (Berkley/Penguin 2004), is the international best seller which tells the remarkable, tragic story of Sharon Marshall, a brilliant young woman who was kidnapped as a toddler by Franklin Delano Floyd, a convicted felon, fugitive, and pedophile who raised her as his daughter while traveling the country using stolen identities. Birkbeck spent six hours in a Florida prison in 2003 interviewing Floyd, who had just been sentenced to death for torturing and murdering a Tampa woman.

Birkbeck also authored A Deadley Secret (Berkley/Putnam 2002), which explores the investigation into Robert Durst, the heir to a New York real estate fortune accused of killing his wife and two others. Birkbeck is also the coauthor of Till Death Do Us Part (Atria/Simon & Schuster) in 2006 with Dr. Robi Ludwig, a noted psychologist who appears regularly on The Today Show and Larry King Live.

Birkbeck has written for the New York Times, Reader's Digest, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He is currently a senior writer at Harrison Scott Publications, covering Wall Street and financial regulatory issues in Washington, D.C.






Customer Reviews

This book was a very informative read.
Donna Barbettii
Unfortunately the author appears to have pasted together newspaper stories and called it a book.
SPI guy
Readers of organized crime and Northeast Pennsylvania history may find this book fascinating.
Leon Czikowsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bodi on October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in NEPA area and was aware of the Mafia presence, especially in the Pittston area. My mother would mention the various names and businesses that appeared in the book and told me to stay away from these people. Was always told of the "dead" people voting. Well, that not only happens in NEPA, but it is nationwide, particularly in the bigger cities. Too bad the author didn't name the Luzerne county judge that had fixed Bufalino's speeding ticket from Forty-Fort police. I was always told that Bufalino took over the entire top floor of a nursing home in Kingston - on Wyoming Avenue - when he was confined to a nursing home; not a nursing home in Scranton. Book made me realize that the working people, the little people don't really stand a chance when the Mafia, the politicians, judges and other public officials join forces and get paid off.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By alfredlion on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this book is very misleading. Russell Bufalino is at most an ancillary character. This is in an investigate journalism piece on corruption that occurred in Pennsylvania gaming more than a decade after Bufalino's death filled in with background on organized crime and corruption in Northeast Pennsylvania. Bufalino is part of that background- a significant one but a part nonetheless. There are only passing references to Bufalino in the first 100 pages of the book. That is a full third of the book and the "subject" is barely discussed. There is more space spent reproducing Senate Committee reports that could have been summed up in a single paragraph. I am extremely annoyed with the publisher of this book for its misleading title. It should have been presented as a general history of crime and corruption in NE Pennsylvania with an emphasis on Bufalino's part in it. I was really looking forward to reading Bufalino's story. Unfortunately this is not it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Curt Schroder on November 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Matt Birkbeck has blown the lid off the scandal behind the selection of casino licensees in Pennsylvania. While the background story and history of Russell Buffalino and his crime family is interesting, I was more interested in Bufalino's legacy that controlled gambling in Pennsylvania.

I was a member of the PA House and at one time Chaired the Gaming Oversight Committee. While many of us suspected that slots locations and licenses were pre-determined, it was not easy to prove. Even when a grand jury report provided details on how this happened, those in charge sneered at the report, dismissed it because they knew they were shielded from wrongdoing.

This book answers the question of why a person with a felony conviction, a known associate of gangsters, evidence of various criminal activities associated with selling flooded cars after Hurricane Katrina, could get a license. This book also answers the question of how this same individual could not be indicted by a grand jury no matter how hard Dauphin County DA Ed Marsico tried. You see, our illustrious Supreme Court was more interested in tracking down alleged leaks from the grand jury than the underlying question of whether Mr. DeNaples lied during his gaming license approval hearings. The Supreme Court used an extradorinary judicial power called Kings Bench to reach down into the county court system and immediately take hold of the DeNaples case and grand jury proceeding. The court's actions thus ended any ability to complete the grand jury proceedings against Louis DeNaples.

This book exposes this shameful episode which implicates every level of Pennsylvania state government: Executive, Legislative and the Courts!

Congratulations to MAtt Birkbeck for having the courage to expose this.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Leon Czikowsky on October 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This books describes organized crime activities in Northeast Pennsylvania. Readers of organized crime and Northeast Pennsylvania history may find this book fascinating. There are several points of interests to Political Science students.

Some observations the author makes that are of interest to Political Scientists are the following:

Rossario "Russell" Buffalino was the mob boss who organization the meeting of mob bosses in 1957 which the police raided. This raid confirmed suspicious that mob organizations had interconnections.

Buffalino's territory included northeast Pennsylvania and parts of New York State. Northeast Pennsylvania, in the 1940s, was known for garment companies that were controlled by Buffalino that paid low wages in hopes of undercutting higher wages of unionized garment workers in New York City.

Buffalino often picked which people would run and be elected to county and local political offices. He led a political operation which rigged election results.

Buffalino was close to U.S. Rep. Dan Flood. Flood helped Medico Industries, in which Buffalino had a major interest, in obtaining military contracts. Rep. Flood resigned from Congress in lieu of facing a second trial for accepting illegal funds from lobbyists and contractors. His trial was suspected of having a fixed juror. Although Flood was not charged with anything regarding this, the FBI had wiretaps of Flood and Medico officials discussing deals.

Buffalino also controlled illegal gambling of sports betting and poker parlors in the Scranton-Wyoming area. Buffalino received a commission and a percent of gross profits from these operations. He also persuaded local police to look the other way at these illegal activities.
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