Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Last Gangster by George Anastasia

Anastasia, George The Last Gangster
New York: Harper, 2004.
paperback, 341 pps., with b&w pictures

When I was in sixth grade, I said something about the Mafia. The teacher (who was Italian) retorted, "Oh, you watch too much television. There is no Mafia."

Over the past several years, himself and I have watched the steady influx of mafioso chronicles infiltrating the true crime section at the bookstore. We have read many of them. And we own quite a few.

The Last Gangster is a true gem of a book. Anastasia's style highlights his subject and it is evident that he knows it well. The Last Gangster plays out on the streets of Philadelphia (and some other places like southern Jersey). The well-researched book chronicles the failing Philly family after the days of Bruno, the bloody struggle for power, and the reflections and experiences of Ron Previte who was wired for sound. Previte comes across as a WYSIWYG sort of guy without any phoney baloney conversion experiences.

Worth reading for anyone who is fascinated by mafia history or desires a deeper look into the psyches of made guys.

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