Cover image for Born to the mob : the true-life story of the only man to work for all five of New York's Mafia families
Born to the mob : the true-life story of the only man to work for all five of New York's Mafia families
Saggio, Frankie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : [Perseus Books Group], [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 211 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
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Publisher imprint varies.
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6452.N72 M347 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6452.N72 M347 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Frankie Saggio reminisces about the era of true wise guys like his Uncle Philly --a contemporary of Al Capone. After all, it was Frankie's uncle who "taught him the value of a dollar and how to steal it from someone else." Uncle Philly was from a day when being in a mafia family meant being bound by blood and honor, not like modern day families whose only concern is money. For Frankie, the only way to avoid the modern mob treachery is to avoid getting involved with any single mob family, working "freelance" for all five. Frankie can do this because he is one of the biggest earners in the business, pulling down millions and kicking a share upstairs to the bosses. Though he fights the decision, Frankie is tied by blood to the Bonanno family, Uncle Philly's family, and current home to Philly's murderer. Soon after joining the Bonannos, Frankie narrowly escapes an assassination attempt and is busted for a major scam. With little choice, and even less loyalty to the Bonannos, Frankie turns himself over to the Feds on the one condition that he will tell the feds everything, but will not squeal on his own relatives.

Author Notes

Fred Rosen is the author of the cult-classic, true-crime Lobster Boy, and many other books
Frankie Saggio lives in an undisclosed location

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The apparently insatiable public appetite for insider stories from the world of organized crime gives Saggio's dramatized third-person narrative, co-written with true-crime veteran Rosen (Lobster Boy), a built-in audience, but don't expect another Wiseguy or Donnie Brasco. Saggio, a federally protected witness following his cooperation against his former partners in crime, relates a familiar, clich?d tale without offering much new. While his schemes involved mail fraud scams and stock manipulation rather than violence, more detailed and better-written accounts of mob infiltration of Wall Street have appeared recently (e.g., Gary Weiss's Born to Steal and Salvatore Lauria's The Scorpion and the Frog). Purple prose ("With a crackle of gears, the bus descended to hell") mingled with blatant errors (the underboss, not the capo, is "one rung below boss"; Rudy Giuliani never prosecuted John Gotti) and "revelations" that are not news (Carmine Galante's assassins have been publicly named before) add up to a disappointing by-the-numbers story. The few touches of humor-Saggio refers to the mob's ruling body, the Commission, as the "Justice League" and compares his life to that of Harry Potter-don't make Saggio, who comes off here as greedy and conscienceless, any more endearing. Readers with a background in law enforcement will dispute Saggio's accusation that FBI undercover agent Joe Pistone was complicit in three murders and that the FBI let those hits go forward. (Mar. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Saggio, now residing in an unknown location under the federal government's Witness Security Program, tells all in this interesting but unevenly written memoir of the Wiseguy life. Growing up under the wing of his uncle, "Philly Lucky" Giaccone (a member of the Bonanno crime family), Saggio was initiated early into the ways of the Mafia. When he was 17, Uncle Philly was killed, and Saggio became a "freelance" mobster, going on to work for all five of New York's crime families. Ultimately busted for his operation of a phony pay-phone scam, Saggio made a deal with the federal government to inform on the Mafia in which he had traveled so widely. The story is told in the third person, but large parts are made up of direct quotes from Saggio, often breaking the flow of the book and making it slightly disjointed. Not for the faint of heart, given the superfluous use of strong language, this is an optional purchase for the true-crime collections of large public libraries or wherever Mob tell-alls are popular.-Sarah Jent, Univ. of Louisville, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Prologuep. ix
Part 1 The Outfit
1 Learning to Drivep. 3
2 Rally Sports Corvettep. 13
Part 2 The Freelancer
3 Pontiac Trans Amp. 29
4 Slowed to a Crawlp. 41
5 Lincoln Towne Car, Coupe DeVille, Chevy Corvettep. 51
6 Coupe DeVillep. 63
7 Chevy Corvette Convertiblep. 73
8 Chevy Corvette Convertiblep. 83
Part 3 The Fugitive
9 El Dorado, Lincoln Towne Carp. 95
10 Dodge Durangop. 105
11 Chevy Corvette Pace Carp. 123
12 Chevy Corvette Convertiblep. 133
13 Government Chauffeursp. 147
14 Lincoln Towne Carp. 165
15 1970 Restored Ford Truckp. 175
Afterwordp. 183
Glossaryp. 186
Appendix Ip. 188
Appendix IIp. 197
Appendix IIIp. 204