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Wiseguy Mass Market Paperback – May 25, 2010
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"The best book ever written on organized crime."--"Cosmopolitan"
From Library Journal
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As befits his reporter background, Pileggi stays at a distance. Unlike its offspring movie GoodFellas, where director Martin Scorsese effortlessly blended the smart-aleck text of the book (incorporating it into the film as probably the best voice-over ever written and performed) with elements of suspense, poetry, sensuality, visual comedy, and energy. In Pileggi's book, it's all cerebral. Hill's magnetic personality and storytelling talents make this book an addictive read. Pileggi also flaunts a real editorial talent, skipping out of Hill's first-person account and delving into journalistic mode at the most suitable moments, giving background where necessary, and stepping back to let the reader make the moral judgments as s/he sees fit.
Different from, but the equal of, GoodFellas. I'd take the opposite stance from other people by saying that it's probably better to see the film first; the emotional investment Scorsese weaves into the story offers a rich contrast to the book's neutral tone. And reversing the process will also facilitate the viewer/reader in seeing through the outdated accusation of "This didn't really happen" when watching the film.
While The Godfather is a fictional account of the underworld's upper realm, Henry Hill was a part of the lower echelon of the Mafia. The people that run protection rackets, hold-ups, grand thefts, etc. and then pay tribute to the "made" members of the Mafia, who are mainly pure-blooded Sicilians and who form an elite that people like Henry Hill could do business with, but never quite be part of.
The book is extremely interesting because of the picture it shows us of organized crime "where the rubber hits the road." The most astounding thing I took away from the book is that Hill and his confederates didn't really benefit all that much from their ill-gotten gains. Instead, they tended to literally throw their money away on a silly, lavish, extravagant lifestyle, featuring, for example $100 tips to doormen, big bribes to get the best tables at restaurants, etc. Hill explained that he saw no need to save because he could always generate all the earnings he needed. Wrong!
Most of us are unaware that organized crime is such a large presence in society, costing all of us immense amounts of money. This book drives that point home and it is a shocking revelation.
The other insight of the book, which also comes out brilliantly in the film, is that Hill and his fellow mobsters viewed themselves as far above ordinary schmucks who actually work for a living. After all, why work if you can spend a few hours a day playing the rackets making ten times as much?Read more ›
The bottom starts to fall out of Henry's "Good Life" when his crew pulls off the Six-Million Dollar Lufthansa heist, the biggest cash robbery in U.S. History. Mastermind Jimmy Burke, Henry's best friend/partner-in-crime becomes greedy and paranoid, and starts "Whacking out" everyone who knows ANYTHING about the heist. When Henry is picked up on a drug charge (Boss Paul Vario had strictly forbidden Narcotic trafficking), Hill finds himself in the Mob's bad graces, and since he knows Jimmy pulled the Lufthansa heist, he may just end up Jimmy's next victim....and along comes the F.B.I. with an offer Henry literally can't refuse.....
Wiseguy was made into an amazing movie by Director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas), and I was surprised to find that the book is even more engrossing than the movie it inspired. I literally hated to put the book down. The day-to-day business of the Mob is utterly engrossing, and Hill piles the details on so thick, you actually feel like you know him, and Pileggi does a great job of reporting what happened, but never glamorizing Hill, or making us forget who he is, or what he did.
An amazing book. Just amazing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this for my husband who is not a reader and he could not put this book down! he read it in a short time- I had bough the Lufthansa heist one- but he liked this one... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Madelaine
I grew up watching Goodfellas over and over again until I wore out the VHS tape. I always wanted to read Wiseguy and I finally got around to it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jared ackerman
Mr Pileggi really draws you in to Henry's life and the mobster world with stunning visual clarity and blunt-force truth. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brad B
This is it. The reeal nitty gritty. If this is your interest then this is your book.Published 1 month ago by Conservative Shopper
When I first began reading this book, I couldn't help but think, "I've already seen all this in the film. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles M Gunsaullus