The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

Tom Folsom, Author
Tom Folsom, Author Weinstein Books $24.95 (244p) ISBN 978-1-60286-081-0
Reviewed on: 05/04/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-1-903854-89-1
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-1-60286-124-4
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-283-13947-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-61573-022-3
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Mobsters are infinitely entertaining, but in TV producer Folsom's (co-author, Mr. Untouchable) chronicle of the infamous Gallo brothers who ruled Red Hook, Brooklyn in the 1950s and 60s, there's not only gang war, mayhem and murder, but the media sensation that was leader Crazy Joe Gallo. Immortalized in Jimmy Breslin's The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, the Gallo brothers really did keep a lion in the basement to encourage payments, and broke with the rules of the Mafia by including outsiders like Mondo the Dwarf and an Egyptian nicknamed Ali Baba. In crisp prose that can veer into the tabloid, Folsom expertly captures the color of Crazy Joey and his times. Joey, who did time in psych wards and prisons (he read up to eight books a day in Attica), mugged for the cameras while being questioned by Attorney General Robert Kennedy at the McClellan Hearings in 1959, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, held court at Elaine's with Ben Gazarra and Bruce Jay Friedman and became best friends with actor Jerry Orbach. At the time he was gunned down (at Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy) at 43 years old, Joey had a book deal from Viking: ""There's something suicidal about publishers,"" he said later, ""paying a lot of greens for the big nothing.""
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