Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Politics and Pasta by Vincent Buddy Cianci and David Fisher

Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Dined with Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community, and Lived to Tell the Tale, Vincent Buddy Cianci and David Fisher. New York: St. Martin's Press/ Thomas Dunn Books, 2011. e-book, 314 pps.

After reading The Prince of Providence, I didn't think I would like Politics and Pasta but I actually did. The latter tells the same story as the former but with a different emphasis. Sometimes people really do go to prison who don't deserve to be there.

I wasn't on the jury. I had never even heard of Buddy Cianci-- an ex-mayor of Providence, Rhode Island-- before reading this pair of books. I have been to the outskirts of Providence but not downcity. I don't know what evidence the jury heard but evidently the prosecution did enough of its job so that Buddy did wind up in the fed pen at Fort Dix [N.J.] for time just shy under five years. The evidence must have been compelling enough for one charge to stick.

On the other hand, having read both books, I am not prepared to give Buddy a pass on his temper or his tumultous marital life. It was difficult for me to believe that "everyone lied" about whatever happened during the three hours or so that a fellow claimed to be too afraid to leave. At the same time, the claims that money wrapped in tin foil being passed around in the open were difficult for me to believe.

Would I myself want to be an intimate of Buddy Cianci? Sleep in his bed? Share his daily life? No. Did he belong in prison or were his outbursts [which he denies in his book] related to some untreated medical foe or both? I really cannot say, nor am I qualified to.

The two books shared some material yet the point of view could not have been more different.

sapphoq reviews says: David Fisher did an excellent job helping Buddy Cianci get his version of the events out. The writing came across as folksy and friendly. Although I could not reconcile the two histories, I think both The Prince of Providence [reviewed before this book] and Politics and Pasta are worthy of reading.  I would have liked to have heard more about Buddy's incarceration but that may very well be my personal preference. While I don't excuse personal violence inflicted upon others in the form of threats and explosions, I do recommend Politics and Pasta.

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