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The Deadly Don: Vito Genovese, Mafia Boss

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Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dange Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dangerous crime families in American history. Vito Genovese ran rackets as a member of Giuseppe Joe the Boss Masseria's gang in New York City before joining forces with Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel as bootleggers during Prohibition. As a soldier in the Castellammarese War, he helped orchestrate Masseria's death on behalf of Brooklyn crime lord Salvatore Maranzano, consolidating his position and power before ensuring Maranzano, too, was knocked off. For the next three decades, Vito Genovese--shrewd, merciless, and utterly savage--killed countless gangsters in his bid to become the capo di tutti i capi--boss of bosses--in the American Mafia. Genovese would betray some of the mafia's most notorious bosses, including Albert Anastasia and Frank Costello, to eventually seize control of the Luciano crime family, one that still bears the Genovese name today. In The Deadly Don, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony M. DeStefano presents the rise and fall of Vito Genovese in this first comprehensive biography of the legendary mafioso--from his childhood in Naples, Italy, and the beginnings of his bullet-ridden criminal career on lower Manhattan's mean streets, through his self-exile in the mid-1930s back to his homeland where he ran a black market operation under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, and his return to New York where Genovese made a fortune as the head of an illegal narcotics empire. DeStefano reveals the important and terrifying role Genovese played in the creation of the Mafia, detailing his bloody and ruthless lifetime of crime that would put him behind bars for his last fifteen years--and securing his infamous place in the history of organized crime.


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Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dange Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dangerous crime families in American history. Vito Genovese ran rackets as a member of Giuseppe Joe the Boss Masseria's gang in New York City before joining forces with Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel as bootleggers during Prohibition. As a soldier in the Castellammarese War, he helped orchestrate Masseria's death on behalf of Brooklyn crime lord Salvatore Maranzano, consolidating his position and power before ensuring Maranzano, too, was knocked off. For the next three decades, Vito Genovese--shrewd, merciless, and utterly savage--killed countless gangsters in his bid to become the capo di tutti i capi--boss of bosses--in the American Mafia. Genovese would betray some of the mafia's most notorious bosses, including Albert Anastasia and Frank Costello, to eventually seize control of the Luciano crime family, one that still bears the Genovese name today. In The Deadly Don, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony M. DeStefano presents the rise and fall of Vito Genovese in this first comprehensive biography of the legendary mafioso--from his childhood in Naples, Italy, and the beginnings of his bullet-ridden criminal career on lower Manhattan's mean streets, through his self-exile in the mid-1930s back to his homeland where he ran a black market operation under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, and his return to New York where Genovese made a fortune as the head of an illegal narcotics empire. DeStefano reveals the important and terrifying role Genovese played in the creation of the Mafia, detailing his bloody and ruthless lifetime of crime that would put him behind bars for his last fifteen years--and securing his infamous place in the history of organized crime.

44 review for The Deadly Don: Vito Genovese, Mafia Boss

  1. 4 out of 5

    Derrick

    This turned out to be really good! In continuing on with my endless obsession of gangsters/mafia/organized crime, I wanted to read about Vito Genovese. I felt like this book focused on some of the more personal aspects of Vito Genovese's life. Not a lot was covered in regards to the crimes of the "family" as a whole. It was intriguing getting to learn more personal things about Vito Genovese. As with all the books I've read about organized crime, this one contained a lot of legal proceedings. Do This turned out to be really good! In continuing on with my endless obsession of gangsters/mafia/organized crime, I wanted to read about Vito Genovese. I felt like this book focused on some of the more personal aspects of Vito Genovese's life. Not a lot was covered in regards to the crimes of the "family" as a whole. It was intriguing getting to learn more personal things about Vito Genovese. As with all the books I've read about organized crime, this one contained a lot of legal proceedings. Don Vitone usually managed to avoid conviction... usually. He seemed to always be one step ahead. Until he wasn't. I felt like he served as a prime example of why the more traditional bosses frowned upon the dealing of drugs. Overall this is a really good book about a ruthless boss and will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in organized crime.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This book adds to my trove of knowledge about different mob men, and is another good mob book by the author. Well written and researched, it gives an in depth look at Vito Genovese from beginning to end. I never knew he was involved with Mussolini during the second world war. Pretty amazing stuff. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author , and the publisher.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This was exactly specific as the title. It's Genovese biography. And it was as accurate as the author could make it. Many exact dates or very core decisions of the Mafia- secretive/ hard to prove by documentation. But all legal and witness voices were done well. There are mistakes in the copy. Double words or extra words. It should have been better proof read. Not enough of them to kill the read, but they were there. Not your typical hard cover read- nor were any of these Genovese close your typi This was exactly specific as the title. It's Genovese biography. And it was as accurate as the author could make it. Many exact dates or very core decisions of the Mafia- secretive/ hard to prove by documentation. But all legal and witness voices were done well. There are mistakes in the copy. Double words or extra words. It should have been better proof read. Not enough of them to kill the read, but they were there. Not your typical hard cover read- nor were any of these Genovese close your typical American neighbor, IMHO. Most lived high class goods/ neighborhoods/ lifestyles. Genovese's 1st wife's funeral is worth the read alone. She died at 28 from TB which was rampant in the areas of Little Italy and all around NYC where she did constant charity work. She caught the kind that killed you in a month. Reading this gave you excellent windows into the times and ploys of organized crime to the mores of the populace etc. for those eras. But it didn't give a wide overview of criminal organization of Italian origin mob structures or hierarchies as did the book by O'Reilly. Not at all. That just published non-fiction (Killing the Mob) did the whole view to other mobs and the FBI/CIA or other politico get alongs to go alongs much better. Also to the history of downfall and what the old style morphed into, as well. One of the pivotal events was forming the Five Families of NY structure. And I felt this didn't detail enough the very serious Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese long term (as far as any Mafia true competitions go) duo trysts/competions (I really don't know what the English word would be- but their neck to neck "trust" hierarchy and power levels) to both be the "capodi tutti i capi" (boss of bosses) in the America side Mafia at the same time. Brutal man. The photos were excellent and entirely him and just a few others in his various ages- including in the courts and in the final prison years. Not the family man pictures either. The deterioration of physical and mental is SO clearly visible. He was not a smart IQ man at all- absolutely under 100 IQ. He had another kind of smarts. About the only time I laughed reading this book was in the descriptions of stripping of American citizenship. And how much punishment, consequence- that was deemed to set upon the stripped individual. Moral shame, vindictive negations to process etc. Now it hardly would make any difference whatsoever. Citizenship rights? Also another observation. The Mob made mistakes in their violence and it was 99% against the wrong mobster or flunky not identified correctly. Innocent people were killed. But not in any proportion to normal by-standers or people watching tv in their front rooms with bullets going through the walls in street gang bang fights presently. They actually did know how to shoot too. Babies didn't get shot in the head every week if their buggy was anywhere outside or sitting in a car seat. Same processes of making money- similar hierarchies too. But gang bangers of 2000 plus have a much short lifespan than did majority of these evil conspirators.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ----- Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dangerous crime f Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ----- Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Anthony M. DeStefano presents the definitive book on Vito Genovese, the namesake of a crime family which still considered one of the most viable and dangerous in the U.S. today. From enforcer to Godfather, Vito Genovese rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra to head of one of the wealthiest and most dangerous crime families in American history. Vito Genovese ran rackets as a member of Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria's gang in New York City before joining forces with Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel as bootleggers during Prohibition. As a soldier in the Castellammarese War, he helped orchestrate Masseria's death on behalf of Brooklyn crime lord Salvatore Maranzano, consolidating his position and power before ensuring Maranzano, too, was knocked off. For the next three decades, Vito Genovese--shrewd, merciless, and utterly savage--killed countless gangsters in his bid to become the capo di tutti di capi--boss of bosses--in the American Mafia. Genovese would betray some of the mafia's most notorious bosses, including Albert Anastasia and Frank Costello, to eventually seize control of the Luciano crime family, one that still bears the Genovese name today. In The Deadly Don, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony M. DeStefano presents the rise and fall of Vito Genovese in this first comprehensive biography of the legendary mafioso--from his childhood in Naples, Italy, and the beginnings of his bullet-ridden criminal career on lower Manhattan's mean streets, through his self-exile in the mid-1930s back to his homeland where he ran a black market operation under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, and his return to New York where Genovese made a fortune as the head of an illegal narcotics empire. DeStefano reveals the important and terrifying role Genovese played in the creation of the Mafia, detailing his bloody and ruthless lifetime of crime that would put him behind bars for his last fifteen years--and securing his infamous place in the history of organized crime. ----- For some reason, I (like many other people) have long had a fascination with the Mafia, and especially with the New York families. I also have an interest in the history of New York City, so when this book came up for review, I knew it was perfect for me. Vito Genovese is certainly a well-known figure in the history of the New York Mafia, and I looked forward to learning more about him. I found this to be a thorough, well-researched story of Genovese, from his life's advent in Naples, Italy, throughout his years in the highest ranks of organized crime, to the last days of his life in a federal detention center. Although only a little over 350 pages, this book did take me a long time to read because it was so heavy in detail, so it was not one I could really escape into for hours at a time. However, if you have any interest in how Genovese completed his rise to the top, set against a backdrop of a detailed history of the New York Mafia of the 1930s through the 1950s and 1960s, this book is certainly worth a spot on your bookshelf, Kindle or otherwise.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    I was excited to see a biography of Vito Genovese up for review on NetGalley. I’ve studied gangsters from the 30’s-70’s since I was a teen, writing multiple papers on them for both high school and college assignments, but hadn’t researched Don Vito before. I saw that this was written by Pulitzer Prize Winner Anthony M. DeStefano and I knew I would get an in-depth and well-written biography. What we get is a lot of facts thrown at us. Mostly in chronological order, he does do some backpedaling th I was excited to see a biography of Vito Genovese up for review on NetGalley. I’ve studied gangsters from the 30’s-70’s since I was a teen, writing multiple papers on them for both high school and college assignments, but hadn’t researched Don Vito before. I saw that this was written by Pulitzer Prize Winner Anthony M. DeStefano and I knew I would get an in-depth and well-written biography. What we get is a lot of facts thrown at us. Mostly in chronological order, he does do some backpedaling though, to add events that were left out and needed to be talked about. This is a very dry book, As I said, we do get a lot of facts thrown at us as we read. Since Mr. DeStefano is a journalist, he takes the journalistic approach of dispensing facts, no story, no buildup. You know the line from the old tv show, “Just the facts, ma’am”. That’s how this biography is written. Now, this isn’t bad, you definitely build a complete picture of just how Don Vito was, from the time he came to the USA, how he grew in the Mafia, his life in exile, his return, even his time in prison. He is one of the few men of the Mafia who was actually able to grow old. We know how rare that was during that period. It was more common to be struck down in you prime than it was to age. I definitely enjoyed learning about Don Vito Genovese, from the time of his arrival, to the time of his death. I do thank the author for all of his hard work to find out everything he could on this elusive Don. **I received an ARC of this story from the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Luc

    The legitimate biography of Vito Genovese, the bigger than life mobster who was everything but legitimate during his colorful life of crimes and numerous misdemeanors... Anthony DeStefano has written a fiendishly good portrait of an unscrupulous man who steadfastly and ruthlessly built an empire through anything illegal you could possibly name. Name it, he did it. This biography reads like a thriller. Actually it's like reading on a rollercoaster.Nothing is left untouched, nothing is left in the The legitimate biography of Vito Genovese, the bigger than life mobster who was everything but legitimate during his colorful life of crimes and numerous misdemeanors... Anthony DeStefano has written a fiendishly good portrait of an unscrupulous man who steadfastly and ruthlessly built an empire through anything illegal you could possibly name. Name it, he did it. This biography reads like a thriller. Actually it's like reading on a rollercoaster.Nothing is left untouched, nothing is left in the dark and you better make sure that your seatbelt is well fastened It's actually more than the biography of a notorious mobster. It's the biography of a 20th century crime family and the malevolent roots it deeply anchored all around the World. A very satisfying read, full of fascinating details that allowed me to finally understand what the mafia was, stood for and its brutish influence throughout American history. A great book to be enjoyed without moderation👍👍 Many thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful biography prior to the release date

  7. 4 out of 5

    Annetta Sweetko

    During the pandemic my family and I have been watching more biographies and documentaries and my husband's favorites are the older mafia ones. Which has led us to reading more of these biographies. Author Anthony M. DeStefano does a very good job of trying to explain Don Vito and erasing a few myths that have followed the man around after all these years.One myth that might or might not have been cleared was - did he kill his second wife's husband so he could marry her? The man died and Vito marr During the pandemic my family and I have been watching more biographies and documentaries and my husband's favorites are the older mafia ones. Which has led us to reading more of these biographies. Author Anthony M. DeStefano does a very good job of trying to explain Don Vito and erasing a few myths that have followed the man around after all these years.One myth that might or might not have been cleared was - did he kill his second wife's husband so he could marry her? The man died and Vito married Anna so you be the judge after reading "The Deadly Don." Mr. DeStefano, seems to have done quite a bit of researching to give an interesting and factual look at this man's life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Randal White

    An excellent look into the life and times of one of the original Mafioso's, Vito Genovese. The author seems to leave no stone unturned, as he delves deeply into Genovese's story. You will witness his coming up in the Mafia, as well as the tactics and strategies he employed to rise and to stay in power. A incredibly ruthless man! I was impressed with the author's research. He even managed to unearth information about Genovese's history and duplicity in Italy during World War II. All in all, a very An excellent look into the life and times of one of the original Mafioso's, Vito Genovese. The author seems to leave no stone unturned, as he delves deeply into Genovese's story. You will witness his coming up in the Mafia, as well as the tactics and strategies he employed to rise and to stay in power. A incredibly ruthless man! I was impressed with the author's research. He even managed to unearth information about Genovese's history and duplicity in Italy during World War II. All in all, a very thorough biography. If you are interested in the "golden age" of the Mafia, this would be a good book to read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Berryman

    I have always enjoyed stories of mob figures, probably because I am of Sicilian ancestry. This book was very informative without being just a dry recitation of facts. It gives you a good look at one of the most interesting times in crime history. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I received an e-book from NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ron Baumer

    A great true crime read! The story is compelling and offers a unique look into the life and times of a Mafia Don. I found this book hard to put down. Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol Macarthur

    Pulitzer Prize winner Stefano comprehensively covers the history of the Mafia in the United States in his non-fiction novel on the life of Mob Boss, Vito Genovese. The reading is immersive so that one feels submerged in the lives and minds of this powerful band. This is a solid and engrossing read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary Rosenthal

    Excellent book. For those of you fans of organized crime books and the people behind this organization, i highly recommend this book. The Deadly Don goes into great depth to explain this fascinating man and what he meant to the world of La Costra Nostra.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Norma

    This book drew me because my father grew up in the 30s and told me stories about the key mob players as I was growing up in the 70s-80s. I like how the author put the story It in a very interesting way and didn't glamorize anything. This book drew me because my father grew up in the 30s and told me stories about the key mob players as I was growing up in the 70s-80s. I like how the author put the story It in a very interesting way and didn't glamorize anything.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liquidlasagna

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  16. 5 out of 5

    William Kielty

  17. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Garcia

  20. 4 out of 5

    JOAN MOSTERT

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patti

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary D.

  24. 5 out of 5

    richard thury

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cilla

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alec Hallal

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex Wilson

  29. 5 out of 5

    James

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

  31. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

  32. 5 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

  33. 5 out of 5

    Merete Aasen

  34. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Bitowt Jr.

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sarrah

  36. 5 out of 5

    Sam Pritchard

  37. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Ehrlich

  40. 5 out of 5

    Irene Perez

  41. 5 out of 5

    Tori D’Ambrosi

  42. 4 out of 5

    oton golob

  43. 4 out of 5

    Jacquelyn White

  44. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

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