THE WAY OF THE WISEGUY: True Stories from the FBI's Most Famous Undercover Agent

Joseph D. Pistone, Author , aka Joseph D. Pistone. Running Press $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7624-1839-8

The romanticized view of the mob gets a reality check in this fascinating guide to the real Cosa Nostra from Pistone, who successfully infiltrated one of New York City's five families as an FBI undercover agent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During his six years posing as Donnie Brasco, Pistone managed to gain the trust of countless mobsters and was almost formally made a member of the Mafia. That access led to numerous investigations and prosecutions resulting in more than 100 convictions, including those of the bosses who formed the mob's ruling body, the Commission. Pistone's first book, the bestselling Donnie Brasco (later filmed with Johnny Depp in the lead role), presented a detailed chronological narrative of his infiltration. This time, he has organized his experiences into short chapters describing what the gangsters he worked with were really like, with titles such as "A Typical Day in the Life of a Wiseguy" and "How Wiseguys Take over a Business." He makes abundantly clear that the codes of honor depicted in popular culture and self-serving Mafiosi memoirs are myths, as is the notion that the old-timers steered clear of drug-dealing for moral reasons. The book also contains an amazing extra—a CD of an actual FBI surveillance tape in which thugs talk about the idea of doing in Donnie Brasco. Agent, Frank Weimann. (Apr. 1)

Forecast: A 50,000 printing, a $50,000 national ad campaign and a seven-city author tour should help launch this onto many bestseller lists.

Reviewed on: 04/05/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7624-2384-2
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