Cover image for Mob nemesis : how the FBI crippled organized crime
Mob nemesis : how the FBI crippled organized crime
Griffin, Joe, 1939-
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Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
336 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
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HV6446 .G83 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Buffalo Collection Non-Circ
HV6446 .G83 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6446 .G83 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV6446 .G83 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Griffin, a retired FBI agent who worked for the bureau for 31 years, offers a first-person account of early FBI efforts to destroy Mafia operations in the Northeast. Griffin was part of a team that succeeded in convicting Mafia leaders in Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, and Youngstown. Because of J. Edgar Hoover's early skepticism, the FBI was initially slow to catch on to the menace of organized crime. It was not until the late 1950s and early 1960s that the FBI began gathering intelligence on Mafia operations. Griffin joined the FBI during that period, learned to speak Sicilian Italian, and began the long process of developing informants. His contacts led to surveillance, wiretapping, and eventual raids on betting operations in upstate New York. Griffin remembers the interbureau politics, camaraderie, and determination of the FBI agents. And in contrast to the glorified image of the Mafia presented in movies, Griffin recalls mobsters who were violent, petty thugs. The combination of FBI and Mob intrigue makes for compelling reading. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

Retired Special Agent in Charge Griffin, currently CEO of an investigative firm, found his way to the FBI for pragmatic reasons: hailing from humble West Virginia beginnings, he wanted to work for the government in order to attend Georgetown at night. Initially rejected as too "immature" for special agent training (he was given a job as a clerk), Griffin was eventually accepted and soon developed an appetite for crime fighting. And as with many younger agents, he wanted to go after infamous La Cosa Nostra; how he does so is the subject of this no-frills memoir of the FBI-mob wars of the 1960s and '70s. Griffin details several protracted campaigns in unglamorous locales like Cleveland and Buffalo, which were hotbeds of Mafia activities like gambling, loan-sharking, prostitution and drug-related murders. His distant, hardboiled perspective is appropriate to the material, though the prose might be described as workmanlike at best, wooden at worst. Still, Griffin and DeNevi (Riddle of the Rock) offer ample unadorned recollections of the nitty-gritty a part of American underworld in its death throes. While the aging Rust Belt gangsters Griffin pursued were extremely violent and mercenary, their downfall seems foretold by their cheapness (they refused to hire lawyers for jailed underlings, whom Griffin was then able to "flip") and stupidity (they failed to dispose of cars, guns and loot from major crimes). (Jan.) Forecasts: Although this book's limited stylistic palette may fail to engage casual readers, mob and crime-fighting cognoscenti and die-hard Sopranos fans will certainly enjoy Griffin's detailed recollections of these lesser-known mobsters' downfall. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Griffin joined the FBI in 1957, La Cosa Nostra hadn't even been officially acknowledged, but the Mob families had a stranglehold on many American port cities. Soon after, though, the reality of La Cosa Nostra couldn't be denied. J. Edgar Hoover declared war on the Mob, and FBI Special Agent Griffin, who later won the FBI Medal of Valor, found his calling. After providing a very brief history of the Mafia in America, Griffin (with research help from DeNevi) details his experiences in fighting the Mob in Cleveland, Youngstown, Rochester, and Buffalo, describing the surveillance, the stings, the frustrations, and triumphs. He also discusses some internal problems, including feuds between law enforcement groups and the discovery of a Mob mole in their Cleveland office. The prose, written by a man who filed reports for a living, isn't stylish, and the not-quite-chronological order of the anecdotes and the vast number of names can be confusing. But Griffin comes off as a hard-working guy with a job to do, one that made the country a lot safer for the rest of us. For all true crime collections. Deirdre Root, Middletown P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

G. Robert BlakeyPatrick M. McLaughlinDon DeNevi
Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introductionp. 11
Forewordp. 19
A Few Words about Joe Griffin and His Bookp. 23
Chapter 1. Our First Efforts against Organized Crimep. 27
Chapter 2. The Early Yearsp. 43
Chapter 3. Smashing the Money Sourcesp. 65
Chapter 4. Magaddinop. 99
Chapter 5. Going After the Bossesp. 111
Chapter 6. Another Washington Assignment--This Time We Investigate Ourselvesp. 145
Chapter 7. Clevelandp. 164
Chapter 8. On the Inspection Trailp. 209
Chapter 9. My Return to Clevelandp. 213
Chapter 10. Top Notchp. 275
Chapter 11. Jackie Presser--Code-Named ALPROp. 301
Chapter 12. The End of an Era--The Card Shop Casep. 317
Epiloguep. 321
Glossaryp. 333