Cover image for Bound by honor : a mafioso's story
Bound by honor : a mafioso's story
Bonanno, Bill.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvii, 282 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6452.N7 B65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
HV6452.N7 B65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6452.N7 B65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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No one can tell the true story of the Mafia in America better than Bill Bonanno. He was there. He lived it.

Bill Bonanno was born into a world of respect, tradition, and honor. The son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno, Bill was a "made" member of the Mafia by the time he was in his early twenties. He was rumored to be the model for The Godfather' s Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's best-selling Honor Thy Father.

Now retired, Bill is finally ready to give an eyewitness account of his life as a high-ranking captain in the Bonanno crime family, one of America's most powerful Mafia syndicates. He takes you inside the mob at its peak, when New York's Five Families-Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese, and Genovese-not only dominated local businesses, but also controlled national politics. For the first time, Bill Bonanno discloses the machinations behind his marriage to Rosalie Profaci (niece of the powerful don Joe Profaci), and even that cemented the alliance between the two Families with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding. From the truth about the mysterious disappearance of his father to a startling disclosure about he mob's participation in the Kennedy assassination, Bill Bonanno lays bare the inner workings of his chaotic, violent, and surprisingly human world with unparalleled detail and insight.

Bound By Honor not only recounts Bill Bonanno's tumultuous life, but also is an engrossing chronicle of organized crime. Bonanno's story provides a remarkable glimpse into all of the intriguing personalities of the underworld of yesterday to today, from Bugsy Siegel to John Gotti.

This book is a must for readers of Mario Puzo, Gay Talese, Nicholas Pileggi, and others who have written abut the Mafia, but who have never been in the eye of the storm in quite the same way as Bill Bonanno in Bound By Honor.

Author Notes

Bill Bonanno lives in Arizona.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

One of "a long line of mafiosi" recalls his colorful life. Bonnano claims that he and his father were the real-life models for godfather Don Corleone and son Michael of novel and multiple-movie fame. Whether or not this is true, the Bonnano family fielded plenty of major players in the Sicilian underworld; indeed, it may still. Bonnano not only details Mob infighting and the struggles among rival East Coast Mob families; he also offers specifics concerning Mob influence on Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon as well as on other important political figures, such as J. Edgar Hoover (Bonnano claims to have seen the infamous, fabled cross-dressing photos) and Morris Udall. Even the Mob's involvement in JFK's assassination is spelled out; the alleged triggerman confessed to him in prison, Bonnano says. Despite the explosive nature of his confessions, Bonnano seems detached and impersonal in the telling. Perhaps this aloofness helped him survive a dangerous career fraught with assassination attempts, government harassment, and imprisonment. Straightforward rather than chatty, the book paints a revealing picture of Mob family politics and government intervention. A 60 Minutes feature and a six-part Showtime dramatization are set to get readers' juices flowing. --Sue-Ellen Beauregard

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1964, hijackers working the New Jersey Turnpike were baffled when they ended up with a truckload of right-footed sneakers. The manufacturers figured they could frustrate the thieves by shipping half pairs of shoesÄbut the enterprising crooks started nabbing twice as many trucks and repacking the matched footgear in a mob warehouse. Unfortunately, this is one of the few colorful stories in the book, which is big on bluster and short on substance. Bonanno must have hundreds of chewy anecdotes, yet his only apparent goal is to exalt the world of his father, mob boss Joseph Bonanno (referred to repeatedly and without a scintilla of irony as "the Angel of Peace"), whose noble, European-style family opposed the drugs and prostitution championed by upstart Americanized mafiosi. His memoir will attract some interest because it claims to reveal the identity of the "real" JFK assassin, a hit man named Johnny Roselli who, by claiming to have fired from a storm drain on Elm Street, qualifies for membership in an alumni association now numerous enough to fill Dealey Plaza. Such overblown claims are just part of a bloviating style windy with references to "our tradition" and "our world," phrases that would have struck a more resonant chord in the mid-70s, when Mario Puzo's books and Francis Ford Coppola's movies introduced the country to the peculiar mix of honor and violence that Bonanno crudely celebrates. Photos. $100,000 ad/promo; audio rights to Simon & Schuster; author tour. (May) FYI: Bonanno is said to have inspired the character of Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father. A 60 Minutes segment will air near pub date, and a Showtime miniseries is planned. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Inside the Mafia with the son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.