Top Hoodlum: Frank Costello, Prime Minister of the Mafia

Anthony M. DeStefano. Citadel, $26 (286p) ISBN 978-0-8065-3869-3
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist DeStefano (The Big Heist) draws from recently released FBI documents, family testimony, and court records to construct an engrossing chronicle of the life of notorious Mafia boss Frank Costello (1891–1973), a “reluctant prince of the Mafia” who, despite his criminal undertakings, was “on a quest to be seen as legitimate.” Costello began building his empire as a bootlegger during Prohibition, importing booze from Canada, before expanding his operation to include gambling, and later building a web of political influence within New York City’s famously corrupt Tammany Hall. Although he frequently butted heads with then mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who was on a mission to rid the city of organized crime, Costello managed to avoid serving major jail time. The book provides ample historical background, including a fascinating historical twist in which Costello’s quest for legitimacy plays out during WWII when Costello and cohort Charles “Lucky” Luciano supplied the military with vital information on Sicilian geography just before the Allied invasion in 1943. DeStefano’s canny insight into the don’s mind and motivations set this biography apart from others on Costello. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/26/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-8065-3870-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-6652-4526-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-6652-4525-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5414-1539-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5414-6539-8
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