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Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia: a True Story by an FBI Agent [Kindle Edition]

Joseph D. Pistone
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Penguin Group USA
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Product Description

From Amazon

In Donnie Brasco, FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone tells the story of working so deep undercover in the Mafia that the truth of his identity became blurry even for him. For six years, Pistone posed as jewel thief Donnie Brasco in order to pull off one of the most audacious sting operations ever. Because any small detail could blow his cover, Pistone adjusted his personality and habits to earn the trust of Mafia soldiers, connected guys, captains, and godfathers. He was so successful that many FBI surveillance teams assumed that he was yet another Mafia guy. This memoir paints a vivid portrait of the underworld of wise guys by revealing their code of honor, their treacherous dealings, their relationships with their wives and mistresses, and their lavish money habits. The suspense in Pistone's story builds as he unfurls his experience of life on the edge of good and evil and on the verge of death.

From Library Journal

Author Pistone narrates this thrilling account of his own experiences as an undercover FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the dangerous world of the Mafia. During a six-year period in the 1970s, Pistone adopted the persona of Donnie Brasco, a successful jewel thief who was looking to "get connected." He slowly and carefully ingratiated himself with the Mafiosi and was about to be initiated as a member when his assignment ended. Successfully earning the trust of many high-ranking "wise guys," he was able to expose the activities of several important families, including the Bonannos and the Colombos. Though it reads like a thriller, this work also provides listeners with much concrete information about Mafia financial and familial operations. Pistone's narration and the inclusion of excerpts from actual FBI surveillance tapes bring the events of this tale chillingly to life. Taking into account the recent release of the movie version starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp as Pistone, this excellent production is essential for public libraries with crime collections.?Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2302 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (Feb. 1 1997)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,107 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful books I came across June 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story of Donnie Brasco is dramatic, courageous and at some points emotional. No one has ever done what he was able to do. He stayed in the Mafioso underworld for longer than any of his fellow agents, or "feds."
You might think you know the story simply by following the news or watching the movie (which was skewed significantly to Hollywood's liking,) but not until you read the behind-the-scenes book will you truly fathom his courage and heroism. You will read the many times his life was on the line, so much for his family being on the line.
This is not a product of Hollywood imagination. This is the story of a real life con-man working on the good side yet posing as the bad guy. What a thriller. This book will also give you the inside, the structure and lifestyle of the mafia underworld. This is one of the most powerful books I came across. (A similar book that I would recommend is Serpico.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Flip Side of "Goodfellas" March 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joe Pistone is a real American Hero. The former F.B.I agent spent six Years deep undercover as Donnie Brasco, a jewel thief, and infiltrated the Mafia, penetrating it's upper eschalon and bringing their power structure crashing down around their heads, resulting in over 100 convictions...
Pistone, along with Richard Woodley, does a great job of bringing real-life Wiseguys like "Lefty Guns", "Sonny Black", and Tony Mirra to life on the printed page, and even though I know Pisone survived his ordeal (He obviously did- He wrote the book!), I was still constantly worried about him. Any fan of true-crime will love Donnie Brasco!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great understanding of the mafia April 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a great read. It gave me a good understanding of the mafia and how it works.I have seen the movie and after that I had to read the book. The pressures of an undercover agent really comes through. I must of read at least half way through before I noticed how much time had gone by.Donnie Brasco is a must read. Once you get started good luck trying to put this book down.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before you run out and spend $3 bucks to rent the movie from Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, read this book. It starts off simple enough: an agent sent to infiltrate the Mafia in NY/NJ area in the late 70s. But "Donnie Brasco" is a much more complex novel than some man faking his identity. Joseph Pistone (Donnie Brasco) was forced to use his street wits, common sense, and just plain luck against ruthless killers, thieves, crooks, addicts, and other general degenerates. Pistone was forced to abandon his family (wife and children) for months on end, and be on assignment for the FBI. He made friendships and forged alliances, posing as jewel thief Donnie Brasco in order to ingratiate himself into the inner workings of the Mafia. Brasco became so close to many members of Bonnano families and their wiseguys, that when it came out that Brasco was an FBI agent posing as a wiseguy, many were in disbelief. One Bonnano affiliate in particular, Sonny Black, was fond of Brasco and thought of him as a son. He allegedly said that he had no ill feelings toward Brasco, because he was just doing his job. (Months later, Sonny Black was found murdered in a trunk. His hands had been cut off--a symbol that Mob security had been violated.) Pistone takes the time to explain in such a way without sounding boring or grating. He explains the slang, the situation, the characters as if you were there standing over his shoulder. This has to be one of the best Mafia books out there. Don't sleep on this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dashed it off in 5 hours July 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this in about a five hour straight period...interesting.It's a lot better than the puts too much false or half true stuff in it and doesn't potray the characters in it accruately. He starts out by working his way into the Colombo crime family and from there meets Bonnanno soldier Tony Mirra who would introduce him to lefty from there the story takes off. Donnie first tries to help another agent get into the vending machine market in Milwaukee..which was controlled by mob boss Frank Ballisteri..the other agent comes close to getting his car blown up..they thought he was a g..which he was .. but then is introduced by the Bonnano's to Balisteri...Donnie also gets offered a bookmaking job for balitsteri..ends up turning down..then the vending machine thing goes down the tubes. Then Donnie gets the Bonnano's to hook up with another agent in the King's court deal which becomes a success..All the while Carmine Galante gets whacked the power structure changes..eventually Tony Mirra comes back to lay a clain on King's court..lefty fight's against this..this and certain things lead to the hits put on 3 Bonnano captain's. Donnie's allies are victorous..Sonny Black, Lefty, and even current boss Joe Massino. Donnie gets contract on Sonny the reds son..then the FBI decides to take down the Kings Court deal. In the end Sonny Black and Tony Mirra get whacked. Lefty ends up in prison for 10 years(he died in 95 by the way).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Veritable Truth About The Mafia Nov. 12 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is truly one of the most riveting books I have ever read. I have read "The Godfather" and "The Last Don" and found them to be excellent reading but they are strictly fiction and even make gangsters seem like legitimate businessmen. If you want the truth about the Mafia, read "Donnie Brasco."
I am certain that Joe Pistone never came close to fathoming how far he would infiltrate the Mafia when he began his undercover operation. It was as if he set out to climb a mountain just to get to the first summit, then realized he could get to the next and the next and so on. Before he knew it, he had won the confidence of those who considered him to be their peer and ultimately put most of them in the slammer. Had he remained undercover for another year he would have been the first FBI Agent in history to become a "made" member of the Mafia. Imagine what a psychological blow that would have been to the mob!
What Pistone does is give a more in-depth view of the mindset involved with the Mafia. He gives an eyewitness description that shows individual members of the Mafia in their most graphic human forms from the volatile Tony Mirra to the loudmouth Lefty. He even showed a side of Sonny Black that nobody would have otherwise seen. Although I have very little sympathy for Black for "getting whacked," Pistone did show that Black at least had a heart to contrast the notches on his gun.
I also recommend that you not take the movie seriously. While the movie is interesting, I estimated it to be about 85 percent fiction. Pistone's description of his wife showed a very strong woman who would not have stayed with a man who hit her the way he was alleged to have done in the movie.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The movie only gave 10 percent of the story.
Published 3 months ago by aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! (UPDATE)
I had bought this to give as a Christmas gift to my grandfather. Before wrapping it, I had decided to read some pages to test it out. I had a hard time setting this book down! Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2012 by Bruiser
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Non-fiction
I just finished reading this book and it was worth it. I love non-fiction, and this is a great true story of an FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the Mob for 6 years in the... Read more
Published on May 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Look at a True American Hero
In this gripping read, Joe Pistone's story reminds us that there are still true heroes in our society, and that he is one of them. Read more
Published on April 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real, Genuine, True Look At The Mafia
This book is valuable because it does not glorify those who engage in organized crime. Unlike the Godfather series and, to lesser extent, The Sopranos, Donnie Brasco paints these... Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING
the story of fbi agent joseph pistone sent undercover to infiltrate the mafia is one story you will not soon forget. Read more
Published on April 2 2003 by Daniel J. Hagerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for any fan of the movie!
First off I loved the movie and have seen it numerous times. It ranks with one of my al time favorites. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003 by Jaha
4.0 out of 5 stars From Family Man to Mafia Man
I am not really a reader but Donnie Brasco is a book that really caught my eyes from the first page. I was stuck to it like glue. Read more
Published on Dec 13 2002
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