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Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier's Life Inside the Gambino Crime Family Paperback – December 1, 2010
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About the Author
Growing up in Brooklyn, in a house wedged between two Mafia social clubs, Andrew DiDonato was pretty much destined to become a gangster. Barely a teenager when he started stealing car parts, selling marijuana, and shaking down competing dealers, DiDonato spent 15 years rising up through the ranks of the Gambino crime family. But at age 31, he robbed the wrong drug dealer and found himself running from both the cops andfar more dangerouslyhis former mob family.” So, for the sake of his actual family and his own life, DiDonato decided to turn snitch and spill the beans on one of the Cosa Nostra’s most notorious organized-crime dynasties.
Top Customer Reviews
The Andrew I know is a charismatic, funny guy and is a delight to talk to. The Andrew you meet in the book is someone else--a dangerous guy born into a family where being part of the mob was a normal thing. Loyalties were skewed, because although the top guys expected complete allegiance from you, when the chips were down it didn't work the same way in reverse. I had a hard time picturing Andrew as that guy, and yet I know it was his life for so many years. From being an "up and coming" street soldier on the track to becoming a made man, to someone betrayed by his friends and on the run. Damned if he did, and damned if he didn't.
At the age of fourteen, a time when kids lucky enough to be born into a different environment were totally wrapped up in sports and family outings, Andrew had already set foot on the path to a life of crime. His hero was his uncle who was heavily involved in the mob, and later killed. By the time he was twenty he was fully immersed in the life, and so were his friends. In his world of crime, Andrew says you knew you could be asked to kill your friend someday or they could be asked to kill you, no questions asked. That's what happened some years later.
One of Andrew's good friends was killed by another mob member who was kind of an off-and-on friend.Read more ›
=== The Good Stuff ===
* The authors give us a look at the total life-cycle of a relatively low-level mobster. DiDonato starts out as being an outsider, and works very hard to become an insider. Once he accomplishes that, you can feel his disillusionment as he begins to question the "ethics" of the Gambino family. His tale relates the disappointment when he finds that "honor among thieves" is more a legend than a fact.
* Without giving away any more of the plot that is already in the description, DiDonato ultimately leaves the mob, and does so in fear of giving up his life to the mob and his freedom to the judicial system. The book does a nice job of relating how a mobster's life can come crashing down on many fronts at the same time, and his reflections of the sacrifices he has made versus the ultimate rewards. DiDonato claims this as one of the reasons for telling his story, an attempt to persuade others of the risks and likely outcomes of his choice of lifestyle.
* The book is a fairly easy read, and move along rapidly. Violence is obviously a part of the book, but is not a major component of the text, nor overly sensationalized. Unusual for this genre, there are not a large number of characters that are tough to keep straight, and most of the chapters (arranged chronologically) are fairly self-contained.Read more ›
As for DiDonato's story itself, we finally experience the day-to-day details of a modern street soldier through the words of a mobster who isn't seeking to create an after-the-fact reputation as a notorious tough guy. Instead, he relays his triumphs and defeats through a unique memory tinged with confidence, fear, and hope. Do not miss this mob book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dennis Griffin came through, again, and Andrew DiDonato, literally let his life and deeds, all hang out. Read morePublished 1 day ago by DIRON
Good read I finished in a day and it is in recent times. Highly recommended no more needs to be saidPublished 3 months ago by chris f
Good and interesting story of the inner workings of the mafia in NY. Understanding how the "bosses" and your so called "friends" abandon you when you are in prison for protecting... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rats56