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The Way of the Wiseguy Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 1, 2004


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 1, 2004
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0762418397
  • ASIN: B0002TX5AQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,742,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The romanticized view of the mob gets a reality check in this fascinating guide to the real Cosa Nostra from Pistone, who successfully infiltrated one of New York City's five families as an FBI undercover agent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During his six years posing as Donnie Brasco, Pistone managed to gain the trust of countless mobsters and was almost formally made a member of the Mafia. That access led to numerous investigations and prosecutions resulting in more than 100 convictions, including those of the bosses who formed the mob's ruling body, the Commission. Pistone's first book, the bestselling Donnie Brasco (later filmed with Johnny Depp in the lead role), presented a detailed chronological narrative of his infiltration. This time, he has organized his experiences into short chapters describing what the gangsters he worked with were really like, with titles such as "A Typical Day in the Life of a Wiseguy" and "How Wiseguys Take over a Business." He makes abundantly clear that the codes of honor depicted in popular culture and self-serving Mafiosi memoirs are myths, as is the notion that the old-timers steered clear of drug-dealing for moral reasons. The book also contains an amazing extra-a CD of an actual FBI surveillance tape in which thugs talk about the idea of doing in Donnie Brasco.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The name Joseph Pistone might not ring any bells, but that's because, while he was pretending to be a jewel thief called Donnie Brasco, anyone who found out he was Pistone would probably have had him killed. A former FBI agent, Pistone spent six years as Brasco, penetrating deep into the notorious Bonnano crime family, and his investigation led to the conviction of more than 100 criminals. These events are dramatized in the film Donnie Brasco, but here Pistone goes behind the drama to get at the everyday details of life as a "wiseguy." Readers will learn how wiseguys prepare for a hit, how they treat their wives and girlfriends, why they don't make restaurant reservations, and what sort of table manners they have (not good ones). This down-and-dirty guide to a criminal subculture comes packaged with a CD that contains actual surveillance audio recorded during Pistone's investigation. Current interest in this subject, sparked by The Sopranos, guarantees this book a wide and enthusiastic readership. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Walt Neff on January 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There's really nothing to the book at all (I read it in two hours). Poor english, repetition of the same story multiple times, and no real flow to it at all.

However, if you're curious about mafia life, this is the book to let you know what is, and what isn't real. Pistone dispels several myths and ads a reasonable amount of relatively unknown info as well. Subject matter is fascinating, but he could have used a co author.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. P. Stathoulopoulos on May 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A quick look at this book and you can already tell what it is: another cash-in.
This is a slim 224 pages, with a lot of 'chapters' that consist of a single page, for instance. The book is a quick overview on, yes, the 'way of the wiseguy', a kind of 'guide' to wiseguys from the guy who was 'Donnie Brasco' to the mob. So we get bits about how wiseguys dress, what they do on an average day, whacking people out, eating out, scamming, scheming, etc, etc. The problem is that much of it is familiar. Matter of fact, anyone who's read a few books about the mob, watched your Godfathers and Goodfellas and Casinos and Sopranos, or grew up in New York, will already know most of the material in this book.
It's shameless, really. Okay, we had the book and film Donnie Brasco, both of which were fascinating. Next, the Brasco name was used to sell fictional mob stories. And now this. It's a funny thing, but while some mobsters become turncoats and sing songs for book deals, law enforcement officials are often more shameless as they roll out yet another Mafia book to a Sopranos-indoctrinated public.
I'm reminded of another Mob figure named Henry Hill, who is now a regular feature at your local bookstore as well. Aside from Wiseguy (and the excellent film Goodfellas) we have the Henry Hill cookbook, and Henry's own guide to 'the Mob's New York'. And, of course, in June 2004 Mr. Hill is coming out with another book, this one detailing his years on the run, in and out of Witness Protection.
Yes, the Mafia has provided us with yet another cottage publishing industry, and yes, there is an appetite out there for true crime. But this is definitely not one of the better offerings on the subject.
And ask yourself why it's appearing now, almost 25 years after Mr. Pistone's assignment with LCN ended. Yeah, I smell a dollar, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a concise and easy read that pulls you in with its brutally honest look at this fascinating sect of society. The audio CD, which contains a real FBI surveillance tape of Lefty Rugerro discussing murder and other business, is fascinating and chilling. I'd say that alone is worth the purchase.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. E Falbowski on August 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am quite interested in the world of organized crime (we must all have a bizare interest...) and found this book both informative and fun. I am not sure how up-to-date this information may be, so I wouldn't recommend taking it as a bible if you mean to join the Mafia, but it is fun as a reference book. Since the work is broken up into short, nonconsecutive chapters, it is little like Pistone's first novel, "Donnie Brasco" of which I am a fan. For a worth while and blunt- and I mean BLUNT (there is a great deal of swearing and coarse language)- account of wiseguy life, this is the best book I have found.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cindy Stevens on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Despite being a novelty book that can be read in its entirety on a lazy Sunday afternoon, Joe Pistone's "The Way of the Wiseguy" is as entertaining as it is insightful in allowing us to take a glimpse into the twisted world of the mafia. Expect no deep thoughts here though, just a series of anecdotes illustrating the basics of mob life (i.e. how to set up a racket, how hits are carried out, the mob hierarchy, etc). Some stories are hilarious, others are depressing, and some are just plain sick. Either way, anyone with the slightest interest in organized crime will surely not be able to resist at least browsing through, seeing how the story of Pistone's infiltration of the mob is legendary.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael DiLorenzo on March 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you read Donnie Brasco - or know even a little bit about the prototypical wiseguy - you do not need to read this book. It essentially details the way mobsters live their daily lives, what's important to them (money), why they kill people (also money), etc. If you have a brain in your skull you could have gleaned that from Pistone's first book, or the film Donnie Brasco, or any of the Godfather movies. What's worse, the book is littered with profanity, something that was missing (or at least not gratuitous) from the Donnie Brasco book. And it also surprised me because when you see Pistone interviewed, he seems like a class act. The profanity seems highly contrived as to make you think Pistone has more credibility if he talks like a scumbag.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Donnie Brasco book I have read so I can't complain about it being repetitive. Although the book didn't have me on the edge of my seat (those I give 5 stars) I felt it was a good, quick read.

Unlike most books today which have a story that could be told in twenty pages, but which are filled with 200 pages of boring ramblings just to make it a book, this book is made up of short chapters of different topics.

Some chapters are a page long which I liked because they were quick and to the point. This also allows you to pick it up and read for only a few minutes at a time without having to remember where you were in the story when you last stopped reading.

I almost didn't get this book based on some of the negative reviews here. To play it safe, I got it from the library so didn't have to worry if the short length made it a good value. In the end I was glad I picked it up.

If you are looking for a long book that is going to take two weeks to read, this is not the one. I finished it in one day. However if you want some quick light reading to last a few hours, this is a good book.
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