The Last Testament of Bill Bonanno: The Final Secrets of a Life in the Mafia

Bill Bonanno and Gary B. Abromovitz. Harper, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-199202-5
In this intriguing if scattered follow-up to Bound by Honor, former mafioso Bonanno (1932–2008) sheds more light on the inner workings of New York's Five Families, but the power of his tales is diminished by a lack of narrative structure. He takes readers behind the closed doors of the famous Commission and highly secretive meetings, where the families met to settle disputes, stories which Bonanno left specific instructions about: they were to be shared only after his death. Bonanno is careful to stress his account's veracity—his father, Joseph Bonanno Sr., was a Commission member—and the inaccuracy of everything from FBI reports to The Godfather. While Bonanno gives a condensed history of the Mafia, the real gems are the Commission's meetings, started in 1931 in the wake of the Castellammarese War, when the original five New York families—Gagliano, Mangano, Bonanno, Luciano, and Profaci—gathered to broker peace among themselves. Never before has firsthand knowledge of these gatherings been shared. But for all his exclusive access, Bonanno (and Abromovitz, a retired lawyer who worked with FBI profilers and interviewed Bonanno for 12 years) offers up only a stitched-together collection of anecdotes, names, and dates. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-209252-6
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