A telling look inside the twisted world of organized crime, sure to interest those who follow mob mayhem.

READ REVIEW

FAMILY SECRETS

THE CASE THAT CRIPPLED CHICAGO’S MOB

“He would shoot you in the head over a cold ravioli.” When it comes to mob psychos, Chicago Tribune writer Coen writes, there’s no place like the Windy City.

With players like Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo and Jimmy “Poker” DiForti, it could hardly be otherwise. For decades, writes the author, the Chicago Mafia maintained a unified front, working under “one ‘Old Man,’ a shadow mayor of sorts” and, unlike its East Coast counterpart, holding strictly to the time-honored code of silence. Fortunately for the law, the Chicago Outfit, as it was known, had its share of human foibles. When things got ugly, torn by drugs and power feuds, some of the syndicate’s foot soldiers went freelance. One was Frank Calabrese Jr., son of a powerful loan shark, who provided the FBI with juicy details about such events as the slaying of the brothers Spilotro, young punks doomed by their habitual boasting, among other transgressions. Calabrese acquired these details by secretly recording his father, who was then cooling his heels in the pen, and from the tapes the feds slowly pieced together a decades-long history of the Outfit’s maneuverings in Chicago. When they had assembled enough data, they commenced a prosecution, the legal outcome of which was still unknown as Coen’s book went to press. One telling point of the government’s argument adverted to pop culture: “This is not The Sopranos; this is not The Godfather,” said one prosecutor. “This case is about real people and real victims.” So it was, and Coen does a creditable job of telling about their star-crossed lives.

A telling look inside the twisted world of organized crime, sure to interest those who follow mob mayhem.

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-55652-781-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more