Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer

Marc Songini. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-37363-4
Despite what the title promises, this is not another account of the most notorious Boston underworld figure, Whitey Bulger, but a study of a more pedestrian mob enforcer, Joseph “the Animal” Barboza, active in the 1960s and ’70s. The accounts of hits he carried out and the machinations of the Mafia will be familiar to readers of Henry Hill. Journalist Songini (The Lost Fleet) narrates in over-the-top fashion, for example, when Barboza is kept behind bars after an arraignment, while his cousin is released, Songini writes: “Finally, two thousand years after the Crucifixion, the thief and murderer with a name beginning with the letter B remained in custody, while Jesus walked—covering his face with a hat to defend it from the awaiting photographers.” The book would have benefited considerably from more historical context; Robert Kennedy’s crusade against the Mafia as attorney general is presented as a shock, as if he had not spent time on the McClellan Committee during the previous decade. Given that Barboza was himself gunned down in 1976, some account of what followed, to put his time in perspective, would also have enhanced this forgettable book. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 07/29/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-250-06016-7
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-250-02131-1
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