THE HOFFA WARS: Teamsters, Rebels, Politicians and the Mob by Dan E. Moldea
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THE HOFFA WARS: Teamsters, Rebels, Politicians and the Mob

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This ham-fisted opus is, as promised (by both publishers), nothing like the other Hoffa book, Steven Brill's kaleidoscopic, unsensational The Teamsters (p. 979); it's just the biggest, muckiest Hoffa exposÉ yet--a swamp of unsorted fact and unevaluated testimony, of guesswork, allegation, disclaimers, irrelevancies. Take what may be Moldea's most tantalizing--or titillating--bit of news, that foster-son and fatal-car-driver Chuckie O'Brien's mother, Sylvia Pagano (also spelled Pigano) O'Brien Paris, known to have been both Josephine Hoffa's intimate and the mistress of Detroit mobster/Hoffa enemy Anthony Gialcone, had also, before both were married, had an affair with Hoffa; that, through another lover, she had introduced him to Detroit's underworld--and maybe extended his acquaintance through her second husband. This daisy chain starts with the unexamined statement of an unnamed informant, and thereafter the fabulous Sylvia (no photo, unfortunately) is simply Hoffa's ""former mistress."" On the other hand, Moldea provides lots of information on Hoffa's relationship with radical Minnesota unionist Farrell Dobbs--but he omits mention of Dobbs' particular contribution to teamster organizing, the leapfrog principle. Much of this, however, battens on the conspiracy theory that Hoffa and the mob (traced as far afield as Vito Genovese's alleged friendship with Mussolini) were out to assassinate both Castro and JFK; but at the end of each long, tortuous chapter the evidence adds up to a mesh of contacts--or ""the consistent cast of characters that threaded its way through Hoffa's life."" There's a reformist strand too--featuring owner-operators, whom Hoffa is accused of first ditching and then courting (to assist his return to power)--but on the likelihood of a teamster turnabout Moldea is, curiously, more optimistic than the sometimes naive Steven Brill. But, again, who knows?

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1978
Publisher: Paddington--dist. by Grosset & Dunlap