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The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his frie The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually he would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures. When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, he did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself. Sheeran's important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that is destined to become a true crime classic.


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The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his frie The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually he would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures. When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, he did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself. Sheeran's important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that is destined to become a true crime classic.

30 review for I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank the Irishman Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Boyd

    I really and truly couldn't care less who killed Jimmy Hoffa, but if he's the catalyst for this book being written--well then, cry me a river. Charles Brandt is the nominal author here, but it's Frank Sheeran's book all the way, and is he ever a genius storyteller! Okay, he killed Hoffa, but let's put that into perspective by noting that Hoffa was just one notch on what was apparently one of the longest gunstocks in the history of man. In between killings--or, as he delicately put it, "taking ca I really and truly couldn't care less who killed Jimmy Hoffa, but if he's the catalyst for this book being written--well then, cry me a river. Charles Brandt is the nominal author here, but it's Frank Sheeran's book all the way, and is he ever a genius storyteller! Okay, he killed Hoffa, but let's put that into perspective by noting that Hoffa was just one notch on what was apparently one of the longest gunstocks in the history of man. In between killings--or, as he delicately put it, "taking care of a couple of matters"--he attended christenings, went to prison multiple times, drove all over creation for his very favorite mob boss, Russell Bufalino, played a part in the JFK assassination, loyally talked a bunch of shit about Bobby Kennedy, Hoffa's nemesis, and--most of all--enthusiastically commented on food of any kind whatsoever wherever he went, right down to the "out of this world" chocolates he sent his lawyers' wives. You can learn a ton of stuff from this book, like what to do with a gun you've just used in a crime (throw it into a river, get a brand new one just like it, and keep it in its box until you need to use *that* one. Lather, rinse, repeat.) If you need to kill someone in broad daylight, be sure to use a .45 or something else really loud to scatter any witnesses, but if you just need to make a quick little neighborhood hit at night, use a .22 so you don't disturb anyone's sleep. Also etiquette: never kill anyone in front of his family unless that person is a total disgrace; never bring a girlfriend to dinner at a restaurant on the designated "wives' night;" always check to make sure that your employer doesn't own part of a building you plan to burn down. In other words, people, be thoughtful! The mob idioms are a high point: "going to school"= going to jail; "going to Australia" = shot and buried "down under"; and of course "painting houses," named for subsidiary blood spatter. I hear Martin Scorsese has bought the film rights to the book, but plans to call the film "The Irishman," which would be a total travesty. Why mess with the best title ever?

  2. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    Holy Moly... this was one hell of a book. Wow. Still hard to wrap my head around everything, but if you really want some fascinating true crime history, not to mention the facts surrounding the Jimmy Hoffa case and the Kennedy assassination, this book is for you. Every adult in this country would benefit from reading I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES. Of course, with the Netflix film THE IRISHMAN, the entire world is now more aware of not only the story, but has also come to know more about Frank "The Ir Holy Moly... this was one hell of a book. Wow. Still hard to wrap my head around everything, but if you really want some fascinating true crime history, not to mention the facts surrounding the Jimmy Hoffa case and the Kennedy assassination, this book is for you. Every adult in this country would benefit from reading I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES. Of course, with the Netflix film THE IRISHMAN, the entire world is now more aware of not only the story, but has also come to know more about Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran; war veteran, ballroom dance instructor, father, Teamster leader, and cleaner for the mob. Frank Sheeran's life alone is enough material for a jaw-dropping movie. He had a hard scrabble childhood and adolescence growing up in Depression-era Philadelphia. Later, he was a WWII infantryman for the 45th Division in France. His unit experienced 411 days of intense combat in a few years, which is one of highest totals ever recorded in any war. General Patton demanded that not all German prisoners were going to be allowed to live when captured. In the Army, Sheeran developed the ability to kill efficiently and to follow orders without question. He also developed some sociopathic tendencies during those brutal years of service. Who the hell would not have been deeply changed by the bloody combat experienced by the soldiers of the 45th?! Unbelievable...You can say what you want about Frank Sheeran, and he did what he did, but he had his good side too. He was a killer and a crook to a point, but he also helped a lot of hard working union employees better their lives through improved wages and pensions. He loved his four daughters very much. I couldn't help liking the man. The Irishman was deeply troubled and full of regret and remorse late in life. I'm glad Frank Sheeran was able to make his peace with the Catholic church and with God before he died. One note, if you do read this book, definitely read this new updated edition. It has 100 extra pages of further testimony from Charles Brandt that he was able to compile and reveal since the original publication in 2004. This was possible because of the deaths of certain crime figures, as well as further investigative discoveries and corroborating evidence that came to light over the years. Charles Brandt did an absolutely unbelievable job in this monumental tour de force of writing. I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES is a must read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cbj

    I read this book after I heard that Martin Scorsese was making a $150 million film based on it. The book has a really cool name that humorously alludes to killing a man. I Heard You Paint Houses is about Frank Sheeran, the Irish gangster, who carried out more than twenty executions on the orders of his boss, the Italian mobster Russell Bufalino. The book is written like a murder mystery. It begins with Sheeran trying to make peace between Jimmy Hoffa (former leader of the Teamsters – an American I read this book after I heard that Martin Scorsese was making a $150 million film based on it. The book has a really cool name that humorously alludes to killing a man. I Heard You Paint Houses is about Frank Sheeran, the Irish gangster, who carried out more than twenty executions on the orders of his boss, the Italian mobster Russell Bufalino. The book is written like a murder mystery. It begins with Sheeran trying to make peace between Jimmy Hoffa (former leader of the Teamsters – an American labor union that represented the interests of blue collar workers) and his boss Russell Bufalino (the most powerful Italian crime boss in America). Bufalino and the rest of the Italian mob are angry with Hoffa after he threatens to expose how money from the Teamster pension fund was being loaned out to Italian mob bosses at very low and at times, zero interest rates. Sheeran has done jobs for both Bufalino and Hoffa. He is caught between the two men whom he respects most in his life. After the tense beginning, the book goes back in time to capture Sheeran’s life - his childhood and teenage years growing up as a devout catholic during the great depression, his youth working in a carnival, his 411 days of service during World War 2 where he carried out executions of many captured German soldiers, his gradual entry into the Italian mob and climb up its rungs after the great war and his days as an official in the Teamsters union. You could say Sheeran’s early life was picaresque. But the second world war changed him forever. The chapter where Sheeran travels by helicopter to carry out the most important and personally painful hit of his life is pulsating and takes the book to another level. But the rather long account of Jimmy Hoffa’s trial and incarceration, peppered with many characters that I had a tough time keeping track of, prevented me from giving a five-star rating to this fine true-crime thriller. Also, the author makes some wild conclusions about the role of the mob in the Kennedy assassination in the book’s final chapter. Charles Brandt believes that the Kennedy assassination was a present by the Genovese family to the rest of the Italian mob. The Genovese family was made to look bad after one of its soldiers – Joseph Valachi (Charles Bronson made an average film based on this guy’s life) talked to the authorities. To save face, they ordered a hit on the president who had betrayed the mob in Cuba and whose brother Robert was making life very tough for them. Of course, the Kennedy assassination is not the main event in this book. I will not spoil it for other readers. This is a very entertaining book. It is told in first person and Sheeran’s voice is candid while describing his adventures and respectful when he talks about the two men who shaped his life. Like Nicholas Pileggi’s Wise Guy/Goodfellas, the author Charles Brandt often explains the milieu or an important event before letting Sheeran talk. He also makes certain conclusions after each chapter, that explains his own point of view about a certain happening. Brandt is very much a man of the law and expresses his admiration for Robert Kennedy’s open war against the mob and Jimmy Hoffa. An important aspect of the book is its confessional nature. Sheeran felt guilty about some of the things that he had done in his life. As a staunch Catholic, he felt like he had to confess in his old age. He opened his heart to Brandt, a lawyer who had got him out of jail. Maybe this is what attracted Scorsese, who is a lapsed Catholic, to the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tara Rock

    This was an awesome book. An historical account which was obviously meticulously researched and written in the format of a true crime novel. The information imparted was astonishing and staggering. I would highly recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I cannot imagine why the title of this book was changed, for the recent film version, to the, rather dull, “The Irishman,” when it, surely, has one of the best titles ever. “I heard you paint houses?” is a question that Frank Sheeran was asked a lot, alluding to his willingness to get rid of people. In this book, Frank Sheeran paints a LOT of houses, including his admittance to the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. So many people did he, and his mob associates, kill, that he jokes that, were a local river I cannot imagine why the title of this book was changed, for the recent film version, to the, rather dull, “The Irishman,” when it, surely, has one of the best titles ever. “I heard you paint houses?” is a question that Frank Sheeran was asked a lot, alluding to his willingness to get rid of people. In this book, Frank Sheeran paints a LOT of houses, including his admittance to the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. So many people did he, and his mob associates, kill, that he jokes that, were a local river dredged, a small country could be armed from the number of weapons thrown into the water. It is hard to believe this book is actually factual, but the elderly, dying, Sheeran, is open about his life. We hear of his poverty stricken childhood, his time in the army, during WWII, his return to the States and the meeting that changed his life, with Russell Bufalino. Sheeran does all sorts of jobs for Bufalino; including driving all over the country, delivering packages, getting involved in Cuba, the Kennedy assassination, meeting everyone from mob bosses to Sinatra, and, of course, Jimmy Hoffa, who made the mistake of thinking he was ‘untouchable.’ Of course, a life such as this is not without victims and personal tragedy. Sheeran not only dispatched many men to their final resting place (he drew the line at killing women), but lost contact with one of his four daughters, who refused to meet him after the disappearance of Hoffa. This was a life of violence and yet Sheeran, unaccountably, comes across as a somewhat old-fashioned criminal, who stood by his own principles and who, without doubt, became all too familiar with violence at a young age. Morality aside, this is a riveting read and Sheeran’s story is a fascinating one. However, it is difficult not to be affected by the shadow of violence, which Sheeran became too desensitised from. One witness to a hit that Sheeran admitted to in a New York restaurant, still preferred to cling to anonymity, despite the years that had passed and a photo of Sheeran, from that time, still affected her, many years after the event. Still, Sheeran’s story is one that is worth reading and a period of history, which will appeal to all readers of true crime.

  6. 5 out of 5

    JD

    This was not a book I enjoyed reading and I struggled to get through it. Firstly the writing style put me of, as it is taken from taped interviews with Frank Sheeran and put like that on pages and then interspersed with small pieces of facts the author put in. Secondly there are too much historical dialogue that makes this feel like a novel. Thirdly, how much of this could be fact as it is just one man telling stories where there is no historical references to verify it, as there is even mention This was not a book I enjoyed reading and I struggled to get through it. Firstly the writing style put me of, as it is taken from taped interviews with Frank Sheeran and put like that on pages and then interspersed with small pieces of facts the author put in. Secondly there are too much historical dialogue that makes this feel like a novel. Thirdly, how much of this could be fact as it is just one man telling stories where there is no historical references to verify it, as there is even mention of Sheeran delivering the guns that were used to kill JFK!! Even the part of Frank Sheeran's 411 days in combat in World War 2 was a disappointment as it is rushed through. If you are interested in mob history, then this book will be for you, if you are not then this book is best avoided.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    Predictably enough it was Martin Scorcese's film adaptation which prompted me to read The Irishman: Originally published as I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. I always prefer to read source material before watching adaptations. This is a true crime classic. It's almost a factual version of American Tabloid, indeed the two books would work really well together. Not only do we learn what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, we also get definitive closure on the JFK assassination too. It helps that Fran Predictably enough it was Martin Scorcese's film adaptation which prompted me to read The Irishman: Originally published as I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. I always prefer to read source material before watching adaptations. This is a true crime classic. It's almost a factual version of American Tabloid, indeed the two books would work really well together. Not only do we learn what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, we also get definitive closure on the JFK assassination too. It helps that Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran is a likeable and compelling character. One of a handful of non-Italians to gain acceptance at the very top of the mafia. After fighting for 411 combat days in World War II, hardened veteran Frank Sheeran found it difficult to settle back to a regular civilian life. Before long he became a hustler, and hitman, who ultimately worked for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino and Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa. If you find this aspect of US history interesting, then this book is right up there with the very best. The 2019 edition has very lengthy appendices which bring the whole thing up-to-date and provide an even more fulfilling coda to an epic story. 5/5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a very interesting read and I think it clears up some loose ends or at least sheds light on a number of historical gangland murders and disappearances. Sheeran was a special kind of bug; it's amazing that he was able to die of old age. He started out in WWII, and if it wasn't documented one would have trouble believing the extent of his involvement in that conflict. In fact, throughout his life Sheeran would pop up at significant historical events, at least peripherally. He put me in mind This is a very interesting read and I think it clears up some loose ends or at least sheds light on a number of historical gangland murders and disappearances. Sheeran was a special kind of bug; it's amazing that he was able to die of old age. He started out in WWII, and if it wasn't documented one would have trouble believing the extent of his involvement in that conflict. In fact, throughout his life Sheeran would pop up at significant historical events, at least peripherally. He put me in mind of Mr Peabody and Sherman or perhaps Forrest Gump, always involved in everything. Sheeran was front and centre in the midst of every serious battle from the initial invasion of Italy. He killed an awful lot of Germans and Italians; sadly, most of them were unarmed POWs. He was the go-to guy for the brass who wanted someone who didn't mind murdering prisoners in cold blood. After the war, Sheeran wound up in the mob and in this book admits to being involved in a number of high profile hits and tells exactly how he did it. He delivered the guns that killed Kennedy and killed Crazy Joey in front of his family, but probably his most heinous act was the murder of his friend Jimmy Hoffa. Surprisingly, the latter crime actually seems to have bothered him a bit in later years. Brandt is a good writer, highly qualified, and supplies corroborative details wherever he was able to dig them up. Half of the book is given in Sheeran's words, the other half in the clarifying voice of the author (in alternating chapters). It's a great technique for a book of this type. As a matter of curiosity, I viewed the movie based on the book. It is true to the book, but De Niro and Pacino are so decrepitly old that they are unconvincing in their portrayal of the younger men, De Niro pathetically so. Poor casting choice...read the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Really enjoyed this book, so interesting and informative!! Gripped me from start to finish!!! I have a deep seated curiosity of everything related to the Mafia!!! Can't wait to see the Netflix movie towards the end of this month (21st November I think! Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheeran (The Irishman) Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Kietel are also in the movie!!! Amazing actors for an amazing true story!! The movie is three and a half hours long and will probably fly by!!! Really enjoyed this book, so interesting and informative!! Gripped me from start to finish!!! I have a deep seated curiosity of everything related to the Mafia!!! Can't wait to see the Netflix movie towards the end of this month (21st November I think! Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheeran (The Irishman) Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Kietel are also in the movie!!! Amazing actors for an amazing true story!! The movie is three and a half hours long and will probably fly by!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joseph DiFrancesco

    Being born in South Philly this book held a lot of personal nostalgia for me. I’ve eaten at Villa de Roma more times than I could count. Though I’ve never been in the habit of dipping my bread into glasses of red wine, I recall my grandmother doing it. It’s a fascinating account of the underworld and its ways. Sheeran’s biopic was handled nicely. His childhood, war experiences and growing up in neighborhoods familiar to me, held me riveted. If his claims are indeed true this book holds its place i Being born in South Philly this book held a lot of personal nostalgia for me. I’ve eaten at Villa de Roma more times than I could count. Though I’ve never been in the habit of dipping my bread into glasses of red wine, I recall my grandmother doing it. It’s a fascinating account of the underworld and its ways. Sheeran’s biopic was handled nicely. His childhood, war experiences and growing up in neighborhoods familiar to me, held me riveted. If his claims are indeed true this book holds its place in history. It alludes to as many mysteries as it attempts to satisfy, and with the passage of time, I’m not sure if we’ll ever know all there is to know here. I must admit, having watched the film, I do feel the casting hurt its potential. Though a big fan of all involved, a younger crew should have been assembled.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Grinavich

    I just find mob stories so fascinating - maybe because it seems straight out of a movie, not real life. Speaking of - can’t wait for the movie!

  12. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    If you can't make money in Chicago you can't make money anywhere. They leave the bodies right on the sidewalk. If your dog was with you, your dog goes, too. Whoo, this book was one heck of a ride. I thought THE IRISHMAN movie was good, but this bio of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran is even better. It's written by Charles Brandt in a matter-of-fact manner, emulating the way Sheeran lived and saw his life. But it's that particular lifestyle which keeps the reader glued to every page. While the main f If you can't make money in Chicago you can't make money anywhere. They leave the bodies right on the sidewalk. If your dog was with you, your dog goes, too. Whoo, this book was one heck of a ride. I thought THE IRISHMAN movie was good, but this bio of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran is even better. It's written by Charles Brandt in a matter-of-fact manner, emulating the way Sheeran lived and saw his life. But it's that particular lifestyle which keeps the reader glued to every page. While the main focus is on the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, it's the entire Mafia world and all its happenings that blow one's mind. To effect a desired change in policy, mob bosses have traditionally eliminated - and still eliminate - bosses, not underbosses. On an international scale it is called regime change. To the Italian bosses it is merely a matter of following the old Sicilian maxim that to kill a dog, you don't cut off its tail, you cut off its head. Frank Sheeran became part of Mafia when he met Russell Bufalino, who was the head of the Bufalino crime family. This led to connections with Jimmy Hoffa, the famous union leader who was as bad, if not worse, than his Mafia buddies. It was Hoffa who ordered various killings and it was Hoffa who took $400,000 (in the 1960s, so imagine the worth now) from his own union and then took another $500,000 so he could pay back the first amount. Such a sweetheart. Yet, when Hoffa suddenly disappeared, the world was shocked. Many believed him to be some poor victim of organized crime, not realizing he WAS organized crime. Hard-working blue collar workers funded his lifestyle and that easy money was his death knell. By refusing to give up power and retire gracefully off the scene, Hoffa needed to be eliminated. Sheeran was Hoffa's close friend and bodyguard. Et tu, Brutus? The book was also instructional in learning some of the phrases used by organized crime members: Paint Houses = murder Carpentry = body disposal School = prison Dry Spot = safe house with money Little Friend = gun Going To Australia = death 2x2 = $200,000 There's a lot here, whether one decides to believe it or not; the mob being behind President Kennedy's assassination and Hoffa, specifically, being behind Robert Kennedy's assassination. Power certainly does corrupt, doesn't it? Book Season = Year Round (head to Florida)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    (The following contains some spoilers for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood. Please proceed with caution.) I enjoyed The Irishman, but at this point I'm probably not going to read this book, especially because Frank Sheeran's confession to Charles Brandt seems not to be true. But I also think The Irishman makes an interesting contrast with the latest Tarantino film, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, the latter of which helped me to understand why I haven't liked anything Tarantino's (The following contains some spoilers for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood. Please proceed with caution.) I enjoyed The Irishman, but at this point I'm probably not going to read this book, especially because Frank Sheeran's confession to Charles Brandt seems not to be true. But I also think The Irishman makes an interesting contrast with the latest Tarantino film, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, the latter of which helped me to understand why I haven't liked anything Tarantino's done since Pulp Fiction. Were there things that I enjoyed about Once Upon a Time...? Sure. The dialogue didn't seem to have been generated by an algorithm, which automatically made it better than any superhero movie. The Spahn Ranch sequence was pretty awesome. But what is it all in the service of? Once Upon a Time... is an alternate history, sort of, but I realized by the time it was over that Tarantino was just using the patina of history for the same sentimental and simplistic reasons he used it in Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained- something evil happened in the past, but wouldn't it be nice if it hadn't happened? Wouldn't it be great if there'd been a tough guy with a flamethrower around? Wouldn't it be funny to watch the bad guys get killed in gruesome ways? Well, I don't know- it feels like kind of a hollow substitute for seeing Hitler at Nuremberg. Maybe it's just me, but I think facing the nightmare of history is the only chance we have of learning something from it- we don't learn anything (except maybe indirectly) from desperate attempts at nostalgia and comfort, or from hermetically separating events (like the Manson murders) from their broader historical and cultural context. Tarantino has no interest in that kind of context- evil, be it personified in slaveholders, Nazis or Manson Family members, springs up from nowhere, and all we need to deal with it is a tough guy with a gun- and no interest in the idea that Manson and his Family emerged out of just such a context, one that everyone alive at that time played a small role in creating. The message to those of us in the audience in the present day is that we're free of evil, not complicit in any way, there are just a few bad apples out there without rhyme or reason, and it's therefore easy for us to laugh when the people we're instructed to feel superior to, the bad people, (view spoiler)[get mauled by a pittbull and set on fire and whatever (hide spoiler)] . Then again, as my friend Mark said, "fantasy and revenge- and you're surprised that it's popular?" The Irishman is also in part about violence, like many of Scorcese's movies; but instead of getting off on or finding nostalgia in it, Scorcese explores the effects of violence, both on its victims and on those who commit it (and often those who commit it were once its victims). Violence for Scorcese isn't a solution or a punchline or the price of entrance into an enchanted wood, but something devastating that ripples through time. Scorcese withholds the comforts that Tarantino offers: instruction to the audience about who deserves to receive violence and who doesn't, for example, as well as faith in violence's magical, redemptive qualities. Furthermore, The Irishman (like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, among a number of other Scorcese movies) doesn't depict violence in a vacuum but contextualizes it in history, culture and institution- it's not an accident that Scorcese's Frank Sheeran transitions so easily from the hallowed American institution of the military (where he joins a kind of brotherhood, becomes acculturated to violence, and learns to follow orders from superiors who are endowed with the divine authority to justify murder) to the hallowed (in its way) institution of the mob. Tarantino used to look at violence with a certain degree of skepticism as well, and in at least one scene memorably dramatized that tension that exists within all of us (see Samuel L. Jackson's monologue at the end of Pulp Fiction: "I'm trying real hard...to be the shepherd", as well as John Travolta's idea about giving it all up an "wandering the earth"), but these days he's pretty clearly a believer in a paradise that can only be consecrated by blood. Which happens to have been Manson's fantasy, as well. False confessions like Sheeran's are apparently a fairly common phenomenon. Maybe there's a strange human temptation to look back and give ourselves more agency than we had, to place ourselves at the center of historical events- sometimes even in the case of murder.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Smith

    The story of Frank Sheeran's life up to and beyond the disappearance of Hoffa. I'm not American and the Hoffa thing was new to me. Maybe it was this that made me feel that this book is just too damned long. If a book can be interesting and boring at the same time, then this is it. The story of Frank Sheeran's life up to and beyond the disappearance of Hoffa. I'm not American and the Hoffa thing was new to me. Maybe it was this that made me feel that this book is just too damned long. If a book can be interesting and boring at the same time, then this is it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Frank Sheeran tells a good story. Regardless of your interest in the mafia/teamsters/kennedy story, Sheeran colorfully articulates life in Philadelphia from the Depression through the 1970's. He describes in living detail the odd jobs, the restaurants, the hang-outs, the entertainment, and characters who populated his life story. Even as an old man he describes the affliction of arthritis better than any medical text. Of course, it helps that Sheeran was a leading character himself in the fascinat Frank Sheeran tells a good story. Regardless of your interest in the mafia/teamsters/kennedy story, Sheeran colorfully articulates life in Philadelphia from the Depression through the 1970's. He describes in living detail the odd jobs, the restaurants, the hang-outs, the entertainment, and characters who populated his life story. Even as an old man he describes the affliction of arthritis better than any medical text. Of course, it helps that Sheeran was a leading character himself in the fascinating and unbelievable story of the rise of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters, that organization's connections to the Mafia, and the Kennedy crusade against them. The book is at its best when Sheeran just talks, humanizing the larger than life Hoffa, mob boss Russell Bufalino, and Bobby Kennedy. Author Charles Brandt does a great job editing the conversations, and also filling in the historical facts, but he occasionally violates the writer's maxim "show don't tell" by inserting himself into the story. Brandt found Hoffa's killer, and the prosecutor in him can't help crowing. He also gives the readers some cringe-worthy statements, such as helping his reader's appreciate the import of Jimmy Hoffa by saying he is "as recognizable as Tony Soprano today." Interesting choice. Regardless, it's a great story and here's hoping for a movie.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    A well written and interesting story about mob life and the death of Jimmy Hoffa. I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was impeccable. I do wish there had been audible clues to the changes between the storytellers though, since it was all narrated by one person.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam O'Grady

    Preface: I'm not a true crime fan and hadn't even heard the name "Jimmy Hoffa" before purchasing this book, I read it to step outside my usual comfort zone. I had mixed reactions to this, there were some parts I absolutely loved and a number of chapters and idiosyncrasies in the writing style that bugged me to no end. Pros: - Frank Sheeran's account of growing up in the Great Depression painted a very stark and strange picture so removed from modern life. - His service in WWII conveyed the horrors o Preface: I'm not a true crime fan and hadn't even heard the name "Jimmy Hoffa" before purchasing this book, I read it to step outside my usual comfort zone. I had mixed reactions to this, there were some parts I absolutely loved and a number of chapters and idiosyncrasies in the writing style that bugged me to no end. Pros: - Frank Sheeran's account of growing up in the Great Depression painted a very stark and strange picture so removed from modern life. - His service in WWII conveyed the horrors of warfare much better than a lot of flowery recounts which try to immortalise it as something despicable and "other". Frank's account and the notes made by Charles Brandt tell of just doing the job. There's no joy in the work and there's sadness as friends die but that is masked by the need to keep going and sets the stage for his emotional detachment from taking lives later on. - The first chapters that deal with the rise of the labour movement after WWII are also a fascinating aspect of history I'd never looked into much before. - Frank's account often feels like an avuncular speech directly to the reader, you can almost picture yourself listening to him recount events of his past. Cons: - The narrative wanders around so much at points, getting distracted by minutiae and minor events and characters. It's made worse that tangents often jump forwards or backwards in time, leaving the reader confused about the timeline and characters involved. This is especially pronounced during the many chapters on Hoffa's court cases, dragging them out for too long. - The parts implicating various characters in the (view spoiler)[assassination of John F. Kennedy (hide spoiler)] seem made up by Frank as a potential "out" if he wanted to distance himself from the book. - The afterword about Frank's decline in health seemed very unnecessary, it reads like the author did nothing but hound a dying man for extra information about Hoffa's death. - The epilogue makes the author seem unhinged and chasing after conspiracy theories, believing circumstantial evidence confirms his account because he's dedicated so much time and effort to this book that it must be true. TL;DR: If you're into mob history and true crime from that period, you might love this book. Outside of that there's some other really interesting points I've outlined above but you can probably stop reading it about halfway through.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    3.5*** Subtitle: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran & the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa Well, that pretty much covers it. Brandt, a former prosecutor, managed to get Frank Sheeran to tell the true story of what happened. This virtual death-bed confession is sometimes fascinating, but I could not reconcile the violent behavior of this man (and that of his “friends”). He may have made a full confession and gotten absolution from a priest, but to me Sheeran was a 3.5*** Subtitle: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran & the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa Well, that pretty much covers it. Brandt, a former prosecutor, managed to get Frank Sheeran to tell the true story of what happened. This virtual death-bed confession is sometimes fascinating, but I could not reconcile the violent behavior of this man (and that of his “friends”). He may have made a full confession and gotten absolution from a priest, but to me Sheeran was a thug and sociopath who was making excuses for his behavior. Still, the story of how Hoffa came to power and succumbed to his own ego is fascinating.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    The Irishman (Movie Tie-In): Frank Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa is a true crime novel by former homicide prosecutor and Chief Deputy AG of Delaware besides other jobs. I haven't read a lot of true crime. In fact I think the only other one might have been In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It's not my favorite genre. I think part of my problem might be the glorification of criminals.. With that qualification, I did find this book interesting reading. It purported to provide the true i The Irishman (Movie Tie-In): Frank Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa is a true crime novel by former homicide prosecutor and Chief Deputy AG of Delaware besides other jobs. I haven't read a lot of true crime. In fact I think the only other one might have been In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It's not my favorite genre. I think part of my problem might be the glorification of criminals.. With that qualification, I did find this book interesting reading. It purported to provide the true information of the assassination of JFK and of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (the Teamster leader). Based on the information provided in the novel, I've no reason to doubt the findings. (I'll let you read the book to see) The story follows Frank Sheeran, aka The Irishman, a mob hitman and close friend to mob leader Russell Bufalino, and also union fixer and friend of Teamster boss, Jimmy Hoffa. The story follows Sheeran from childhood, during his time in the military in WWII, and finally as he began working for the unions and Mafia. The main theme is the story to discover what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. It's an interesting story and Sheeran definitely lived a fascinating life. The explaining of how hits were conducted was interesting, something like explaining spycraft. The workings of the unions, RFK's investigations of the Mafia and their influence on the unions, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination of JFK, and so many other stories make this a rich, interesting story. Having said all this, I didn't feel any sympathy or empathy to Frank Sheeran or any of the union / Mafia personalities. It's basically a historical novel of a certain period of American history and that was interesting. Brandt presents the story in a well-crafted, flowing story. He does have the somewhat disconcerting habit of switching from 3rd person story teller to 1st person autobiography, a minor distraction I guess. As I read the book, I thought of the movie of the same name (full disclosure - I haven't seen the movie and won't) and what seems like a huge miscasting of Robert de Niro as Frank Sheeran. de Niro was in his 70s when the movie came out and for the most part, Sheeran is in his 30's and middle-aged. Sheeran was 6'5" and over 300 pounds and he was IRISH! Part of the attraction of him being a hitman was that he didn't look Italian and could get close to his targets.. de Niro? Oh well... Anyway, if you're interested in true crime, it's an excellent story (3.5 stars)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    My knowledge of this part of American history has always been rather sketchy, and I wanted to know more about Hoffa, the Teamsters, the Mafia connections, and the Kennedy’s. This book, certainly filled in a lot of the spaces even if it wandered a little too much in areas that weren’t all that central. If I am to be honest, it seemed to go on and on, and I was relieved that it finally ended. I also felt I never got a close enough feel of Hoffa himself. It was, however, good, and a start to findin My knowledge of this part of American history has always been rather sketchy, and I wanted to know more about Hoffa, the Teamsters, the Mafia connections, and the Kennedy’s. This book, certainly filled in a lot of the spaces even if it wandered a little too much in areas that weren’t all that central. If I am to be honest, it seemed to go on and on, and I was relieved that it finally ended. I also felt I never got a close enough feel of Hoffa himself. It was, however, good, and a start to finding more out about Hoffa and what happened to him.

  21. 4 out of 5

    C.

    Haven't had a book pull me in like this in a long time. What a great read overall. Haven't had a book pull me in like this in a long time. What a great read overall.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Realini

    The Irishman, based on the book by Charles Brandt 10 out of 10 this is a note on the film, not the book on which it is based.... Given the glorious reception received by this magnum opus, the only thing that may be left to establish would be what will be the place of the motion picture among the other quintessential classics, would it be in the same top twenty best ever, with Goodfellas and The Godfather, or right behind…Variety has perhaps a very accurate, awed take on the latest Scorsese achievem The Irishman, based on the book by Charles Brandt 10 out of 10 this is a note on the film, not the book on which it is based.... Given the glorious reception received by this magnum opus, the only thing that may be left to establish would be what will be the place of the motion picture among the other quintessential classics, would it be in the same top twenty best ever, with Goodfellas and The Godfather, or right behind…Variety has perhaps a very accurate, awed take on the latest Scorsese achievement “The Irishman is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout — a majestic Mob epic with ice in its veins. It’s the film that, I think, a lot us wanted to see from Scorsese: a stately, ominous, suck-in-your-breath summing up, not just a drama but a reckoning, a vision of the criminal underworld that’s rippling with echoes of the director’s previous Mob films, but that also takes us someplace bold and new.” This viewer was equally exuberant, although the Al Pacino performance as Jimmy Hoffa seems less than overwhelming, maybe somewhat exaggerated and a little artificial, though the undersigned is not in a position to dispute the quality of the overall production, which is not affected by the emphatic, oversized Hoffa... even this estimate is probably wrong, for there are surely many who would say that Al Pacino is flawless. The saga is complex and there is no point in trying to touch on the plot line, which has Frank Sheeran aka The Irishman aka Robert De Niro at the center, with a thoughtful, restrained, perhaps perfect performance from the legendary actor, surrounded by an ensemble that is equally phenomenal, perhaps with the exception aforementioned, including formidable Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin and so many others. A film that would enter the History of Cinema, together with The King of Comedy, Goodfellas and most of the other films directed by the divine Martin Scorsese.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    This past week, I happened to see a clip from CBS Sunday morning in which the guests were Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro who were promoting their movie ‘The Irishman’. Coming to theatres and Netflix in November 2019, it is now open knowledge that this movie is based on the book that I had just finished reading. When I sat down to watch the clip after having read the book, there were two points where curiosity got the better of me : 1.While being a true crime/investigative non fict This past week, I happened to see a clip from CBS Sunday morning in which the guests were Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro who were promoting their movie ‘The Irishman’. Coming to theatres and Netflix in November 2019, it is now open knowledge that this movie is based on the book that I had just finished reading. When I sat down to watch the clip after having read the book, there were two points where curiosity got the better of me : 1.While being a true crime/investigative non fiction book, the contents of this book easily outpaced most thrillers I have read of late. Come to think of it, this is vintage Scorsese territory around finding an identity in the Mafia world, loyalty and trust, finding your way to redemption and so on. What went on behind the scenes as Scorsese was developing the movie ? (This wasn't answered though, Scorsese was sort of quiet through the whole interview) 2.Pacino and De Niro are two actors who I cannot get enough of and I still have not figured who I like more ( and yet, for a teeny tiny fraction I favor De Niro…mostly !) and Scorsese is a director who has been hit and miss with me ( more hit than miss though) and being the first time that all three of them collaborated for a movie, I wanted to hear what they had to say. After a fair amount of pleasantries and also having the host trying to butter up the three celebrities, there was this point blank question asked to all three of them “Do you believe what Frank Sheeran has confessed to?” (This here refers to Frank’s confession of his involvement in Hoffa’s disappearance) After a minor pause in which Pacino and De Niro look at each other, De Niro replies that yes he does believe in it. Pacino follows it up saying that there are so many details and so much accuracy in the account that it is not really possible to disbelieve it. This actually stuck a chord with me as a reader since I found Frank Sheeran’s account to be as hard hitting (if not more so) than most Mafia related movies that I have seen. In the late 60’s and early 70’s there was very little going on in the US that either Frank or his bosses in the Mafia did not have a hand in. But what makes Frank an interesting character is how a single act and conflicting loyalties that resulted from it had changed him as he grew older. The term 'late bloomer' would not apply to Sheeran and yet there are definite parallels with that notion and how he opened up later in life. Frank Sheeran had led a very colorful life way before he became a gangster. He had been by turns a street boxing champ, a performer in a travelling circus, a lumberjack, a soldier who fought in WWII and a ballet dancing instructor . Following his discharge from the Army and after a brief stint working as a truck driver, Frank forms bonds with two men which puts his life on an entirely different track. The first of these men was Russel Bufalino ( the head of the Bufalino crime family) and the second was Jimmy Hoffa ( trade union leader and later the sworn enemy of Robert Kennedy). While it all reads like a great thriller, as a reader you are given an inside view at how the American Mafia got its hands wrapped around and later manipulated the relationship between employees and employers and made itself a mountain of money in the process. All three of the men had action packed lives and the twists and turns and the ultimate test of loyalty that Frank needs to undertake between the two of them is not just a history of Frank's life but also of the fall of one of the phases of America's criminal underworld. The structure of the book alternates between Frank's memories and Charles Brandt's analysis of them in light of facts and evidences. Being the Mafia hitman and the former attorney, they are at two ends of the law and this brings in a sort of balance to the whole narrative. Barring the fact that the legal battles between Hoffa and RFK are quite long drawn out in the book, I really could not find much to deter my attention to the main goings on. It is interesting that I had this book on my TBR for a good three years or so until I realized Scorsese is making a movie out of it and that too starring Pesci, Pacino and De Niro. Next thing I know, I rushed out to purchase the book and raced through it. Knowing myself, this would be a movie that I would not be able to stop myself from seeing as soon as it came out and I had to read the book before that (we cannot have it any other way can we ?). Having read the book, the accuracy of Scorsese’s casting choices amaze me. Jimmy Hoffa was a man of mercurial temperament and volcanic tirades and Pacino the actor fits that to a T, Frank Sheeran was a stolid and brutally efficient Mafia man and that is safe in the hands of De Niro and the calm, silent and extremely dangerous Mafia boss Russ Bufalino is a role tailor made for Joe Pesci. As to how the movie will turn out to be only time will tell but that does not stop me from thinking up how such a movie will be rare to come by. Recommended !

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    This book is a historical account of Frank Sheeran "The Irishman" When Frank was a young man he fought older kids to get beer bets for his dad. Frank fought in Word War II; a good soldier, obeying his commanders. He took no prisoners. All these happenings, were an impact on his adult life. "I heard you paint Houses" was a slang from Jimmy Hoffa to get rid someone. Frank also replied " I do carpentry work too." Frank knew all the goings on of the underworld and the teamsters. He was the head of Teamst This book is a historical account of Frank Sheeran "The Irishman" When Frank was a young man he fought older kids to get beer bets for his dad. Frank fought in Word War II; a good soldier, obeying his commanders. He took no prisoners. All these happenings, were an impact on his adult life. "I heard you paint Houses" was a slang from Jimmy Hoffa to get rid someone. Frank also replied " I do carpentry work too." Frank knew all the goings on of the underworld and the teamsters. He was the head of Teamster 299. Frank knew what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. He was there and held the smoking gun.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gram

    This is the book which inspired "The Irishman" - the latest film directed by Martin Scorsese. The Irishman is Frank Sheeran, a close friend of the union boss, Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared disappeared on July 30, 1975. During five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he carried out more than 2 dozen murders for the Mafia, and for his friend Hoffa. This book documents Sheeran's life, including his lengthy spell in combat during World War II. Despite being a s This is the book which inspired "The Irishman" - the latest film directed by Martin Scorsese. The Irishman is Frank Sheeran, a close friend of the union boss, Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared disappeared on July 30, 1975. During five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he carried out more than 2 dozen murders for the Mafia, and for his friend Hoffa. This book documents Sheeran's life, including his lengthy spell in combat during World War II. Despite being a self-confessed thug and murderer, Sheeran tries to come across as a decent man, only killing people who deserved to die, mostly because they "ratted" or were about to "rat" on the Mafia. I found it difficult to take Sheeran's moralistic attitude seriously and became fed up with his attempts to justify these murders and other very nasty things he'd done in his life. During the course of these interviews, he admitted that he had killed his good friend Jimmy Hoffa on the instructions of another good friend Mafia boss Russell Bufalino. There are other tantalising stories from Sheeran. For example, he says he delivered weapons which were used in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and made a similar trip to deliver 3 rifles which he says were to be used in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd, 1963. As far as Sheeran is concerned, Kennedy's death was the result of a Mafia plot. In a lengthy afterword, Charles Brandt states that all of Sheeran's claims - including his murder of Mafia boss, Joey Gallo - have been corroborated, but I'm not so sure that hearsay and statements by major criminals count as such. This is a true crime book which may not be true - depending on how you view Sheeran's claims. I skipped a lot of pages because it's a very repetitive story, but I imagine conspiracy theorists will love it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian Joynt

    An excellent read, and a crucial document that ties up loose ends for some of the more sinister events in American history, including the rise and the overall scale of power of organized crime elements as they were mid-century, the Hoffa disappearance, the JFK assassination, and various other intricate pieces that have attracted controversy and conspiracy theories over the decades. The Irishman, Frank Sheeran, narrates his story to Charles Brandt for most of the tome, detailing his harrowing exp An excellent read, and a crucial document that ties up loose ends for some of the more sinister events in American history, including the rise and the overall scale of power of organized crime elements as they were mid-century, the Hoffa disappearance, the JFK assassination, and various other intricate pieces that have attracted controversy and conspiracy theories over the decades. The Irishman, Frank Sheeran, narrates his story to Charles Brandt for most of the tome, detailing his harrowing experiencing as a child under a sadistic father, and then as a Solider in WW2 forced to carry out brutal war crimes, and later as a killer-for-hire for Russell Bufalino and Jimmy Hoffa. This is a fascinating character study of a loyal and cold-blooded man who, through his connections, became very powerful. Sheeran makes a notorious but likable figure, never a snitch, and comes across as loyal to the very end. This is am important book for American History. Can't wait to watch the Scorsese film later this year...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    It was kind of inspirational how this author was able to make the mob, one of the most interesting and engaging topics ever, boring and confusing. Made for a boring movie too. 🤮.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A seriously compelling look at the deaths of both Hoffa and Kennedy. As gripping a true crime book as I’ve ever read. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the crime genre.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    An authentic account from a dying man of his life in the mob, spoken in his own "street vocabulary". He makes no attempt to gloss over what he has done or to make excuses for it. As a Catholic (by his definition), he forms a relationship with the author who also has a Catholic background. Despite his life of crime and remorseless killing on command even of his best friends, as he nears death, he wants peace in his life. Both have an understanding of confession and forgiveness of sin, and on this An authentic account from a dying man of his life in the mob, spoken in his own "street vocabulary". He makes no attempt to gloss over what he has done or to make excuses for it. As a Catholic (by his definition), he forms a relationship with the author who also has a Catholic background. Despite his life of crime and remorseless killing on command even of his best friends, as he nears death, he wants peace in his life. Both have an understanding of confession and forgiveness of sin, and on this basis, Sheeran over a period of years tells Brandt the story of his life. Regardless of one's religious beliefs, when a mob member can murder one day and receive forgiveness and communion in his church the next, and then repeat the cycle, most people probably cannot understand or condone this behavior. Many mob members with a Catholic background have a firm teaching in sin, redemption, Heaven and Hell. And it seems that, when they near death, many of them do have actual death bed conversions where they have regret for the lives they have led and really want to be forgiven. In my opinion, Sheeran's experience was real. Does it matter? Probably, because a person going through this type of death bed conversion is not telling a story to justify his actions or to protect himself and others. He is confessing his actions as sin and wants to be forgiven. So this makes Sheeran's account seem very credible to me. (Note: I am not Catholic, I am not criticizing or judging the Catholic church in my comments, I am not stating that Sheeran was or was not forgiven, I am simply stating an opinion on the credibility of this account, since it is really his story in his words.) Despite Sheeran's need to be set free from the guilt of his life, he is careful not to reveal any information about those in the mob who are still alive. So, many secrets probably went to the grave with him. However, he does provide enough information for the Jimmy Hoffa file to be closed and for final closure for Hoffa's family. He also provides credible information of the involvement of the Mafia in the assassination of JFK. My purpose in reading this book was to find the real story behind the death of Jimmy Hoffa. And this book gave me every detail that I wanted to know. I had read too many incomplete accounts based on rumor. Now I feel that I have the entire story. Does it really matter? When this story first broke, the public suspected Hoffa was murdered. But there was no body and nobody talked. Hoffa was a great political power at the time of his death; his re-election as President of the Teamsters' Union would have had a significant effect in the political life of the US. We were fairly certain he was murdered to stop him from taking back control of the Teamsters. But nobody knew for sure. And despite what you may have thought about Hoffa, he and his family did deserve justice. And somehow, we thought that Hoffa was teflon coated. (I am speaking as a Canadian who lives 75 miles from Detroit and was interested, but never involved, in US politics.) I never expected a book which would open such a wide window into the intertwining of organized crime, labor, and politics (with major politicians of both parties, including those close to the President, accepting huge political donations aka "bribes".) Nor did I expect a book that so thoroughly described the brutality and corruption of organized crime. The author is thorough in his legal research and does not publish anything which cannot be validated. The book is well written and honest. I found it to be a bit tedious when he discussed other cases in which Sheeran was involved, since I was interested only in Hoffa. But I feel now that I know the truth about Hoffa.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I received an offer that I couldn't refuse I figured, what do I have to lose (except maybe an unscheduled trip to Australia)? Actually, the book was loaned to me by my current employer...but it sounds much more threatening when put into 'mafia' terms. Frank Sheeran, the central character in the book, is a murderous creep, known liar and alcoholic, who was apparently controlled by the mafia. Why should I believe anything in this book? Needless This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I received an offer that I couldn't refuse I figured, what do I have to lose (except maybe an unscheduled trip to Australia)? Actually, the book was loaned to me by my current employer...but it sounds much more threatening when put into 'mafia' terms. Frank Sheeran, the central character in the book, is a murderous creep, known liar and alcoholic, who was apparently controlled by the mafia. Why should I believe anything in this book? Needless to say, that's why I had a hard time 'getting into' this book. But once I began to accept premise, I treated this tale as just another crime novel (facts sprinkled into a work of largely fiction). At that point it became an interesting read...certainly not flattering to the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa and the Nixon administration...that, if taken at face value, suggests that this country is largely influenced by secret organizations capable of bribing the highest elected officials and instigating international terror through assassinations (JFK?) and regime change (Cuba?). Sound familiar? But in the end is all forgiven? Evil undone by a few "Hail Marys"? You decide (cue the music)! If you like this type of book, you'll like this book (huh?).

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