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Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story Mass Market Paperback – June 15, 2000
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Bill Bonanno could be just another 66-year-old retiree, gone to Tucson, Arizona, to live out his remaining years in a hospitable climate. But he's not. "I come from a long line of Mafiosi," he informs us, taking pains to establish the difference between Mafiosi, a term "rooted in the character and the values of the men and women who were the everyday makers of Sicilian history," and the fictional Mafia. (Bonanno knows from crime fiction: there are those who say that he's the real-life model for Michael Corleone, and he does not deny it.) Bound by Honor is as much a family saga as it is a true crime story, and Bonanno's insightful self-reflection guarantees a distinctive degree of honesty and depth. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1964, hijackers working the New Jersey Turnpike were baffled when they ended up with a truckload of right-footed sneakers. The manufacturers figured they could frustrate the thieves by shipping half pairs of shoesAbut the enterprising crooks started nabbing twice as many trucks and repacking the matched footgear in a mob warehouse. Unfortunately, this is one of the few colorful stories in the book, which is big on bluster and short on substance. Bonanno must have hundreds of chewy anecdotes, yet his only apparent goal is to exalt the world of his father, mob boss Joseph Bonanno (referred to repeatedly and without a scintilla of irony as "the Angel of Peace"), whose noble, European-style family opposed the drugs and prostitution championed by upstart Americanized mafiosi. His memoir will attract some interest because it claims to reveal the identity of the "real" JFK assassin, a hit man named Johnny Roselli who, by claiming to have fired from a storm drain on Elm Street, qualifies for membership in an alumni association now numerous enough to fill Dealey Plaza. Such overblown claims are just part of a bloviating style windy with references to "our tradition" and "our world," phrases that would have struck a more resonant chord in the mid-70s, when Mario Puzo's books and Francis Ford Coppola's movies introduced the country to the peculiar mix of honor and violence that Bonanno crudely celebrates. Photos. $100,000 ad/promo; audio rights to Simon & Schuster; author tour. (May) FYI: Bonanno is said to have inspired the character of Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father. A 60 Minutes segment will air near pub date, and a Showtime miniseries is planned.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bonanno is able to give the reader a true taste of life in the Underworld, but it lacks any real substance. Bonanno has an insight into this life style and ruler of a powerful crime family, but he only touches the surface. Bonanno was very distance in his approached to relating the facts.
I was surprised at several of the stories Bonanno relates in this book, however I was left a little unsure of the message. While Bonanno may want the reader to think that he has blown the lid off of the mafia, the reader will find that some of the "facts" cannot be corroborated.
An interesting read for almost any taste, and you should be able to walk away with the feeling that your money was well spent. I believe that if the author spent more time detailing some of the facts, the book would have been a true bestseller.
The way Billy Boy describes his traditional father as an angel of peace just doesn't stick. As one of the five Dons leading New York's underworld, Bonanno Senior was not the caretaker of some sacred tradition but a Machiavellan player who could rival with the likes of the Borgias. What? You think La Cosa Nostra was built on some divine attribute. You're wrong - it was built on greed.
In French we have an expression, "Jamais deux sans trois", which translates as, "Never two without three". This book is the third attempt by those zany Bonannos to sanitize their traditional family history. See "Honor thy Father" and "A Man of Honor" for the other two miscarried attempts. Oh! I almost forgot. His wife Rosalie wrote "Mafia Marriage", an essay into a not so traditional relationship. Good advice for all those dysfunctional couples out there.
In "Bound by Honor", we are once again brought to believe the Joe Bonanno, a man of tradition, was kidnapped in 1964 by his not so honorable cousin, Steve Maggadino. Actually, Joe Bananas faked his own kidnapping to escape the Feds and his mob "friends". Another ludicrous idea is that Joe Senior was never into heroin. It just wasn't part of his tradition. Oh come on Bill. You're telling us your daddy was heartbroken when he learned that Carmine Galante was indicted for dealing in smack in 1959. Read "The Canadian Connection" by Jean-Pierre Charbonneau to get the true story. Bonanno was probably the biggest heroin dealer in the fifties and sixties. That's what the Mafia power struggle in that period was all about - control of New York City's heroin market. (Bill, that honorable kind of guy, simply is trying to whitewash all the white powder resting on his father's conscience and the thousands of lives that were destroyed by his activities.)
If you're interested in conspiracy, Bill also solves that great riddle wrapped in an enigma - "The Kennedy Assassination". In the Tale of the Two Joes, Bill compares his father with Joe Kennedy and yes you've guessed it, he compares himself with Jack Kennedy. Somehow we are also led to believe that Joe Bananas was the puppetmaster behind Kennedy's 1960 election. It goes on and on... I also forgot to mention that Bill believes he is the real life model behind the character of Micheal Corleone with the clout to call Commission meetings. Yeah, right.
I got to give it to you Bill. You really turned out to be one fine "con artist".
Too bad Junior can't come up with the truth his almost century-old father could give that would make Joe Valachi's account sound like a bedtime story. Then we'd really have a read.