The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century

Howie Carr, Author . Warner $25.95 (342p) ISBN 978-0-446-57651-2

Although superior to some other tellings of the incredible story of how two brothers came to dominate Boston's political and criminal underworlds for decades, this account by veteran Boston Herald reporter Carr still falls short of being the definitive version he intended. The stranger-than-fiction rise to power of Billy Bulger, the longtime Massachusetts senate president, kingmaker and consummate deal maker, and his brother Whitey, a psychopathic killer who took over the city's Irish mobs, is compelling, but despite Carr's closeness to the story, he fails to bring his protagonists' inner world to life. For those broadly familiar with the corruption scandal that indelibly tarred the FBI because of the active role some of its agents took in protecting Whitey and enabling his brutalities, the author gives a detailed, hit-by-hit description of his crimes. Most readers from outside the Bay State will be almost as appalled at the wheeling and dealing of his "respectable" brother, who crossed path with presidents and presidential aspirants, and who extended his patronage practices to his subsequent position as president of the University of Massachusetts. (Feb. 23)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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