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War of the Godfathers Mass Market Paperback – October 21, 1991


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author, who wrote of his 30 years as an FBI agent in Roemer , here covers some of the same material as a preface to his story of the gangland war for Las Vegas. The background: the five New York Costa Nostra families were to have Atlantic City as their territory to reap gambling profits, while Nevada was reserved for the Chicago mob. Joe Bonnano of the Brooklyn family, who retired to Tucson, Ariz., attempted to upset the arrangement by taking over Las Vegas; his chief opponent was Tony Accardo. The violent struggle lasted from 1986 to 1989 and ended in a victory for the Chicagoans, with Roemer working on the case as a consultant to the Chicago Crime Commission and as an investigator for the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee. The victory, however, was a Pyrrhic one, for it led to a trial in which a dozen leaders of organized crime in the Windy City were found guilty and much of the Mafia's power there broken. The author's encyclopedic knowledge makes the book a unique contribution to U.S. crime history.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In 1986, the Chicago Mafia violently repulsed a bid by the Joe Bonnano crime family to wrest control of the Las Vegas underworld. It was a pyrrhic victory; afterward most of the top Chicago mob figures were convicted of various crimes. The author, a former FBI agent who investigated the Las Vegas brawl ( Roemer: Man Against the Mob , Fine, 1989), knows his subject. Although he employs fictional characters and invented dialog to dramatize these events, his account is probably reliable and generally readable. Suitable for larger organized crime collections.
- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books; Reprint edition (October 21, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804108315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804108317
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The fatal flaw of this book is that Roemer fails to make clear that much of the book is fiction. If Roemer wanted to write a fictional story about Las Vegas, then fine write a fictional story. However, the mishmash of both truth and fiction leaves the reader confused as to what really happened. Also, being written by an ex FBI agent the book reads much like a police report, a little on the dry side with lots of "he said and she said". Finally, why bother using the phoney name of Richards, when we know he is talking about himself? Seemed rather silly to me.
I lost interest after the fictional hit on Moe Dalitz (right on the strip in broad daylight of all things!!). As if the mob would ever be that stupid. Come on Roemer, you can do better than that.
As a reader looking for accurate information on what really went on behind the scenes in Las Vegas, I was left disappointed. Roemer's book "The Enforcer" which details the accounts of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro's adventures in Vegas was a much better effort.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the book, not realizing entire events were fictional. Then I read "Enforcer" and found out that Moe Dalitz died in his sleep and Tony Spilatro was killed by his own people. I felt duped -- this is not taking artistic license but complete falsification of reality
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Cohen on March 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While the way the book is attempted to be written is clever, as it is almost like a Hollywood script of real events, the book is farfetched and is downright untrue in several instances.One glaring falsehood is that Moe Dalitz was shot down an then was later poisoned in a hospital.Roemer a former FBI agent, should have known better,escpecially considering he wrote briefly about Dalitz real demise in another book.If one takes this book for what it is, a story , it is enjoyable.The one interesting factual aspect about this book is the details given to the famous "STRAWMAN" cases which largely crippled organized crime in the midwest.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on June 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of late SA William F. Roemer's novels, and this is without question the most repugnant volume of them all. Not only does he ficticiously involve himself in the story (as the subliminal Richards), but he insists on making Joseph Bonanno (RIP) a master criminal. What he fails or refuses to understand is that Bonanno and his son Salvatore were ousted from the Cosa Nostra in 1968 when their battle for supremacy failed against the other New York City families. They retired to Tuscon where Bonnano tried to pull off some small-time schemes with car dealerships in California by using his son and a few other down-and-out wannabe wiseguys as fronts for his crooked business transactions. The simple fact was, though, that he was no longer a Mafia power. Yet in 1986, when all the Chicago and Kansas City mob leaders have been convicted of skimming from casinos and sentenced to long prison terms, he suddenly reinvigorates his Mafia standing at the age of 81 and decides to fight 80-year-old Anthony Accardo for primacy in Las Vegas? What a farce. Roemer shows his cheap taste for fiction with such a ridiculous storyline.
Perhaps what caused this reader to put the book down so frequently was the author's stubborness in refusing to hire an editor for the book. It literally reads like an 7th grade english class thesis paper on how the FBI and its crooked director J.E. Hoover was justified in waiting until the '60s to attack the Mafia; how Anthony (Big Tuna) Accardo was a gentleman (he was not), and was the most powerful boss in the nation (he also was not - far from it, any NYC family could have crushed his little Outfit in no-time), and how Accardo waged war against the octogenarian Joseph Bonanno (which he also did not).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix on July 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I used to wonder how a crack former FBI agent and organized crime specialist like Bill Roemer could write glowing reviews praising the accuracy of Jay Robert Nash's sensationalist works. Then I ran across War of the Godfathers. What a novel idea--to write a novel using real people as characters. If this is any example, however, the late Mr. Roemer displayed little talent in creative fiction and the plot, revolving around a fictional gang war over Las Vegas between the Bonanno Family and the Chicago Outfit, is totally absurd. War of the Godfathers is way over the top and the nearest thing to restraint is Roemer's untypically immodest disguise of himself as a pseudonymous character. It's not especially well written and on top of everything else, the publisher didn't make it abundantly clear that this was a work of fiction. A large number of folks have been taken in by it, with fictional events such as the murder of Moe Dalitz even being reported as fact in several so-called "true crime" books. I don't understand the point of it to this day.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marty on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I never expected this book to be that great from the get go.Just another Bill Roemer (the F.B.I. can do no wrong and I just adore J. Edgar book),but what a load of crap.I thought that his first book was pretty shoddy,but this one is something else.I haven't the slightest idea why this book was and is listed under the non- fiction category.P-U brother!I saw an interview with Roemer on TV some time ago and couldn't believe how in complete denial he was in regards to Edgars character.Forget about the rumors of his cross dressing and his (ahem)relationship with Clyde Tolson;his friendship with Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky;etc.He was a blackmailing,mean spirited bully.What a great period in the history of the F.B.I.
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