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For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life Paperback – September 9, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 195 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While it' s understandable that the publisher compares this memoir of life in a Mob family to The Sopranos, the book stands firmly on its own as one of the most searing volumes ever written about the Mob. (Mafia cognoscenti will recognize the DeMeo name, for the author' s father, Roy, gunned down by fellow mobsters in 1982, has in recent years gained a reputation as one of the most ruthless members of the Gambino family, responsible for dozens of killings.) DeMeo' s coauthor, Ross (In the Company of Men), probably deserves credit for the fluid, dark-hued prose that surges throughout the narrative, but what really sets this book apart, in addition to its brutal honesty, is its unique perspective: that of a child drawn into a macho world of fear and violence, money and power. Before Albert was a teen, he had become the principal confidant of his father, who was a soldier and then a made man with the Gambinos, picking up payoffs, familiar with wise guys and guns; Albert' s involvement was such that only a few years later he practiced, with his dad, at what angle he would shoot Roy when and if Roy needed to fake his own death. There' s the familiar other side of Mob life here, too, the wide circle of eccentric acquaintances and the robust celebrations centered around a nuclear family in which mom and kids (other than Albert) floated unaware of the crimes of father and son; but what eats through this book like acid is the horror, mixed with undying love and loyalty, that Albert feels as over the years he learns just what his father did for money a horror that as an adult would send the author into a mental hospital but which he has now assimilated sufficiently to write this painful, intense, unforgettable memoir. (Aug. 20) Forecast: With the success of HBO' s The Sopranos, which will begin airing again September 15, plus the recent death of Gambino head John Gotti, expect much interest in, and many sales for, this electrifying title.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

How bad it is when your father is a goodfellaAhead of the Gambino familyAand you've looked up to him your whole life.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767906896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767906890
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book on the spur of the moment. It was in the sale and I thought, "What the heck, I've nothing else to read tonight!"
The author Albert DeMeo pulls no punches as he chronicles not only his father's life, the Mobster Roy DeMeo and his steady rise to power in the Mafia in New York but also his own involvement from the tender age of five in a world that was seductively charming as it was dangerous. "For the Sins of my Father" is a brutal, candid, violent, tender portrayal of a life in a huge glass bubble in which escape is not an option for anyone.
However Albert DeMeo is not an apologist for his father's actions, rather he pulls the reader in a world in which corruption is at the heart of everything. Just as you can't feel sorry Roy DeMeo for the choices he made in his life you also cannot feel anything for the Police, the FBI, the Government, the Court system because they were often as corrupt as the people they claimed they were trying to bring to justice.
Albert's father knew many people and many considered themselves law abiding whilst at the same time asking and getting favours from the Mafia Capo who was their "neighbour" and "friend".
In one chapter the young Albert helps his father's "crew" to work out how wipe clean some audio tapes that could send one of their members to jail; magnets the child tells them men can wipe clean magnetic tapes of all their contents. It is a corrupt police officer who puts a magnet next to the audio tapes so that they will be blank when they are played in court.
It is also to Mafia owned drinking dens that many court officials, police officers and other city officials attend to drink, buy drugs and enjoy the company of Prostitutes.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one day-couldn't put it down! I grew up in Massapequa, NY and went to school with Al DeMeo. It blew me away to read what he was going through, while attending high school and acting like a "normal" kid. We all knew that his father was "in the mafia" but it was presumed that most weathly Italian men in this area also had links to the mob. While I was drawn to it for my hometown connections, my husband, who is not from LI, also could not put it down! I have recommended it to many family and friends. Excellent story about the home life of a member of the mafia and the repercussions it has on his family, the ones he tried so hard to protect.
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Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down as I rooted for Al all the way through. However, I think this book will be much more appreciated if you read MURDER MACHINE first. Al DeMeo describes his childhood as the only son of a high ranking mobster, and the double life he led as a kid at school and a wiseguy in training. I admire him for surviving all he describes and becoming a man of whom his father surely would have been proud. I wish him every success and happiness.
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Format: Paperback
You've probably gotten a good grasp of the traditional Mafioso scene by now. Anyone who's seen the Godfather or watched an episode of The Sopranos must figure s/he has a good sense of what every mafia-related story is all about.

However, it would be wise to toss away those preconceptions of Italian-American novels when picking up Albert DeMeo's "For the Sins of My Father." This story does not spend hundreds of pages and hours of your time detailing a glamorous life in the mob gone wrong. Instead, the novel is an original, sad, and honest look at Albert's father, Roy, who was a member of the mob who was later killed by his fellow gangsters in 1982. What sets this book apart from traditional Italian Mafioso stories is the fact that it comes from the perspective of a mobster's son who, from a young age, is exposed to this lifestyle without ever truly discovering what it means for his father and the rest of the family until it is too late. By adding the element of a mobster's family, DeMeo gives readers a new way to read into the life of America's most recognizable, and most stereotypical, groups.

Throughout the novel, DeMeo reveals his courage and describes the heartache of being in a family with close ties to the mob, paying special attention to the psychological ramifications. DeMeo's struggles not only to live under his father's Mafioso umbrella but also to live through the pain of the memories after his father's murder make for an emotional, genuine inside look at the real effect the mob has on those families that are tied to it.

Never mind the glamour that the life of a gangster occasionally granted Albert's father, Roy. Never mind the power that Roy held in the form of being a "made man.
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Format: Hardcover
Great Book! Keep's you reading until it's done. I had seen the review put out by "Concerned Citizen" and had to laugh. Does he think the writer of the "Murder Machine" had all the right answers to all that went on with Roy DeMeo? I guess no-one person has all the answers but I am open minded enough to hear all the perspectives. Albert had first hand knowledge of the events and was trying to write a human interest story and not a crime novel. Did Al get rich off the blood money? could have,but no amount of money will bring back a lost parent, fix a failed marriage or give back the years he has lost to depression. Read this book, it will give anyone more humility.
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