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Download Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss epub

by William Donati

Charley "Lucky" Luciano was instrumental to the development of the American Mafia and supervised the attempt to dominate prostitution1in New York City. Not surprisingly, he has been the subject of numerous biographies, exposes, and various works of urban folklore since his death in 1962. This book takes scholarship on Luciano to a new level, using fresh research on the investigation, arrest, and conviction of Lucky Luciano to delve deep into the sexual and criminal underworld of New York City. Topics include the complex structure of the New York City bordellos and the takeover that resulted in Luciano's 1936 arrest; his considerable role in the expansion of the international heroin trade; and the shocking attempt to sexually frame a member of prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey's staff in a desperate bid to overturn Luciano's conviction.
Download Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss epub
ISBN: 0786446668
ISBN13: 978-0786446667
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Specific Groups
Author: William Donati
Language: English
Publisher: McFarland (May 12, 2010)
Pages: 303 pages
ePUB size: 1599 kb
FB2 size: 1505 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 876
Other Formats: txt azw rtf docx

I really wanted to like this book, but I found it difficult in light of the many inconsistencies and outright factual errors. I'm only going to cite a few here, because it would probably require several pages to list them all. For starters, the author, William Donati, lists Luciano's birth date as November 11, 1898. Every other account of Charley Lucky's life claims he was born either November 11th or 24th, 1897. The author reports that Joe "the Boss" Masseria was slain on April 14, 1931. Wrong. He was executed April 15, 1931. It is further claimed that Jack "Legs" Diamond was shot while hosting a "cocktail party" at the Monticello Hotel in Manhattan. Again, not true. Diamond was alone with his girl friend, "Kiki" Roberts, in a suite at the Monticello in October, 1930, when he received unidentified visitors in another room. Legs was badly beaten and shot, but survived, only to be shot again and again. It is also stated in these pages that members of the Vincent Coll gang mowed down five children on a Harlem street, killing an infant in a baby carriage. The child in the baby carriage, three-year-old Michael Bevilacqua, was wounded but recovered. It was another youth, five-year-old Michael Vengalli, who succumbed to his gunshot wounds. Mr. Donati's dates are also wrong when he claims that Vincent Coll's brother, Pete, was killed in retaliation for the murder of a Schultz adherent named Joseph Mullens. In reality, Pete Coll was murdered May 30, 1931; Mullens was slain more than four months later, on October 2nd. He also mentions a "Mayor McKee of Brooklyn." I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and the last time I checked there was only one mayor of all five
boroughs. On the plus side, I did find the testimony during Luciano's celebrated vice trial interesting. Of equal interest was the transcript of Lucky's bantering with the Richmond County assistant district attorney during a grand jury hearing probing the October, 1929, attempt on his life. All in all, though, a rather mundane account of Luciano's rise and fall, with nothing really new or illuminating.
Donati's LUCKY LUCIANO is a crime classic. Warning to the reader though that Donati is not a gangster sympathizer. Donati's dislike of greedy thugs now revered in Hollywood and Las Vegas is apparent throughout the book. In fact, Donati has criticized a gangster artifact exhibit in his hometown of Las Vegas as a tribute to killers (Las Vegas Embraces MOb Roots- Cristina Silva).
Heavy with historical facts, the author takes the reader into one of NYC's most infamous gangs. Donati corrects a mistake
by Robert Lacey who wrote in LITTLE MAN the prostitutes who testified against Luciano at his trial on prostitution charges appeared in a Hollywood Film. Not so, says Donati. Donati puts to rest the rumors that Lucky had a hand in the murder of
Thelma Todd, a Hollywood actress, as invented by Andy Edmonds in HOT TODDY. Furthermore, crime writers still quote THE LAST TESTAMENT OF LUCKY LUCIANO (1972) even though the FBI has called this book a complete hoax. Donati wisely avoids LAST TESTAMENT as a source; and, exposes how Martin Gosch, the author, had a B movie script that became a "book" after prosecutor Thomas E.Dewey who had pursued Luciano for decades died in 1971. A must read.
This book is incredible, a broad picture, with rich details. The author obviously spent a great
deal of time in research. Donati says he went through 40,000 documents. I believe it. The book
is smooth reading, like a novel, but every line of dialogue is documented. Donati pulls together
a lot of material and characters. He supplies amazing insight, especially about prostitution.
He reproduces a pimp wiretap from 1931 and goes right into the bordellos. The book presents
startling new information. Donati writes that Moses Polakoff, Luciano's lawyer, knew the
recanting hookers were on drugs but lied that they were clean. Polakoff was pulling the strings.
Polakoff even tried a sex frameup with a member of Dewey's staff. Donati traced the family
of call girl Nancy Presser because he discovered her real name. Donati lets the reader know he
admires Dewey and writes with a strong anti-gangster tone. Worth every penny. Definitive.
When I got this book I was surprised by its readability. The writing style has smooth flow and in this Donati has given us a good narrative. He tells the story of Lucky Luciano using mostly original sources, focusing on the 1936 trial. This is a logical choice since the most readily available material came from the trial transcripts in the New York Municipal Archive. Donati also uses a number of little accessed defunct New York newspapers, such as the New York Mirror, Herald-Tribune, Journal, etc., over the more traditional New York Times. I think this is a good thing since other reporters often went out of their way to scoop the Gray Lady and tried to find underworld sources. Much of this info is lost to the public until (hopefully) it is made available in a database. Donati uses this to his advantage.

However, it could have used some proofreading considering the typos and wrong dates (another commenter listed a few, I also noticed "Vito Bontre" for Vito Bonventre on page 30 and on page 253 he wrote "The Lansky booked passage on the Italia"; that should have been "The Lanskys...", and the photo on page 26, allegedly of a young Luciano, cannot be him since the clothes and the fedora don't match the time period, more probably it is of a nephew [the photo is in color; not likely around 1907-1914]). Would like to have seen more on the years before and after the trial since that has been done to death (most recently in The Cast Against Lucky Luciano by Ellen Poulsen). If a new and improved edition comes out with the typos fixed -- and the price lowered -- I'll give it that extra star.