In March of 1992, the highest-ranking member of the Mafia in America ever to defect broke his blood oath of silence and testified against his boss -- John Gotti. Fast forward to earlier this month, when two related events focused media headlines on this event -- and on the man who took the bold step. On April 16, HarperCollins published Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia, by Peter Maas. (The book was brought into HC by Jack McKeown, former president and publisher of the adult trade group.) That evening, ABC aired the first of Diane Sawyer's two interviews with Gravano, and the tube once again demonstrated its power to sell books. Gravano's often shocking candor garnered media coverage from the AP to "Charlie Rose" to "Good Morning America". Maas's equally frank book, with 300,000 copies in print after four printings, lands in our #2 nonfiction spot, and is shooting to the top of several national charts. Who said crime doesn't pay?
Volume 243 Issue 17 04/28/1997