Cover image for The Sinatra Club
Title:
The Sinatra Club
Author:
Polisi, Salvatore, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Gallery Books, [2012]

©2012
Physical Description:
xiv, 386 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
The Mob was the biggest, richest business in America--too dangerous and too deadly to fail. Until it was destroyed from within by drugs, greed, and the decline of its traditional Crime Family values. And by guys like Sal Polisi. Born in Brooklyn, Polisi was raised on a family legacy as a member of the Colombos, one of the New York Mob's feared Five Families, and came of age when the Mafia was at the height of its vast wealth and power. He ran an after-hours gambling den, The Sinatra Club, a hangout for up-and-coming mobsters like the three wiseguys immortalized in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas. For Polisi, the thrills of robbing banks, hijacking trucks, pulling daring heists--and getting away with it all, thanks to corrupt cops--were fleeting. When he was busted for drug trafficking, and already sickened by the bloodbath that engulfed the Mob as it teetered toward extinction, he flipped and became one of a breed he had loathed all his life--a rat. Here, Polisi paints a never-before-seen picture of the inner workings of a once extensive and secret underworld that, thanks to guys like him, no longer exists.--
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9781451642872

9781451643169
Format :
Book

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HV6452.N7 P65 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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HV6452.N7 P65 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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HV6452.N7 P65 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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On Order

Summary

Summary

In the bestselling tradition of Wiseguy comes a mobster's behind-the-scenes look at how drugs and greed and the decline of traditional family values brought down an American institution--the New York Mafia.

The Mob was the biggest, richest business in America--too dangerous and too deadly to fail. Until it was destroyed from within by drugs, greed, and the decline of its traditional crime Family values.

And by guys like Sal Polisi.

He was born in Brooklyn--the same place that spawned Murder, Inc., Al Capone, and John Gotti, the future Mob godfather who became his friend. Polisi was raised on a family legacy that led him into the life he loved as a member of the Colombos, one of the New York Mob's feared Five Families, and came of age when the Mafia was at the height of its vast wealth and power.

Known by his Mob name, Sally Ubatz ("Crazy Sally"), he ran an illegal after-hours gambling den, The Sinatra Club, that was a magic kingdom of crime and a hangout for up-and-coming mobsters like Gotti and the three wiseguys immortalized in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas--Henry Hill, Jimmy Burke, and Tommy DeSimone. For Polisi, the nonstop thrills of glory days spent robbing banks, hijacking trucks, pulling daring heists--and getting away with it all, thanks to cops and public servants corrupted by Mob money--were fleeting. When he was busted for drug trafficking, and already sickened by the bloodbath that engulfed the Mob as it teetered toward extinction, he flipped and became one of a breed he had loathed all his life--a rat.

In this riveting, pulse-pounding, and, at times, darkly hilarious first-person chronicle of his brazen crimes, wild sexual escapades, and personal tragedies, Polisi tells his story of life inside the New York Mob in a voice straight from the streets. With shocking candor, he draws on a hard-won knowledge of Mob history to paint a neverbefore- seen picture of the inner workings of the Mob and the larger-than-life characters who populated a once extensive and secret underworld that, thanks to guys like him, no longer exists.

***

I was always a street guy. I was into robbing and stealing and gambling and loan sharking. I wasn't involved in the bigmoney sit-downs, the labor racketeering and construction company shakedowns, the Garment District and garbage and cement company kickbacks. . . . For guys like me and Fox, my blood brother and crime partner, the thing we loved about being in that life was the action, the excitement. . . .We were in it for the money, sure. But it was the danger, the thrills that made the life of crime something special.

A guy like John Gotti was different. He was far more ambitious than me and Fox. He wasn't just in it for the rush and the riches. He wanted the power and the glory.

John Gotti's tragedy, if you can call it that, was that he was born too late for the old-school gangster crown that he craved. He began his rise as the Mob was beginning to crumb≤ by the time he got to the top, the bottom had dropped out.

From the beginning, John was charismatic and smart. He just wasn't cut out to be godfather. Once he became boss, he drove the bus right off the bridge. Or maybe it was the bus that drove him. Either way, I watched him go.

Here's how it all happened.


Author Notes

Sal Polisi spent much of his life inside the New York Mafia before he flipped and provided testimony against key Family members. No longer under federal witness protection, he has been featured in The New York Times , Vanity Fair , New York , and Playboy , and has been interviewed by Larry King, Connie Chung, and Matt Lauer, among others. He works as a screenwriter and playwright and also speaks frequently in schools and at law enforcement gatherings as an organized crime expert. He lives somewhere in America. Coauthor Steve Dougherty is a freelance journalist in New York City.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In the mid-1980s, after a decade and a half as a member of one of New York City's famed Five Families of organized crime, Polisi (the subject of Nick Taylor's Sins of the Father, 1989) joined the Federal Witness Protection Program in exchange for his testimony against his former associates. Here he focuses on the Sinatra Club, a gambling house he ran in the early seventies, one in which a young John Gotti, among other up-and-comers, was a familiar face. Mafia memoirs are well-trod ground, but Polisi's personal focus will engage readers. Polisi was a bank robber, loan shark, and drug dealer before he left the Mob and became a writer. He's not out to win any friends here; but, like Henry Hill, the famous subject of the genre classic Wiseguy, he has a sort of disreputably-likable quality about him. For fans of inside-organized-crime books, this one's a definite must-read.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Polisi's early life was marred by abandonment, abuse, and loss. His greatest joy came from going to the racetrack with his Uncle Tony and listening to stories about famous gangsters-indeed, it was Uncle Tony who introduced him to the Colombo mob family. Polisi's connection to the notorious family would lead him to selling heroin, robbing banks, stealing trucks, and, in 1971, opening an illegal all-hours gambling den dubbed "The Sinatra Club." John Gotti would later become a partner in the business, as well as a friend of the author. Polisi provides fascinating details about some of his crimes as a member of the first "Three-Families hijack crew," which included Gotti's protegee, Ronald "Foxy" Jerothe, and Tommy "Two Guns" DeSimone, the man who inspired Joe Pesci's character in GoodFellas. He also details the murder of Joe Gallo, wars between families, and compelling evidence to suggest JFK's assassination was a mob hit. But in addition to an exhilarating trip though Italian-American mafia history, Polisi's text doubles as a heartfelt memoir, wherein he candidly expounds on the pain of neglecting his family and the devastating losses that eventually impelled him to leave "The Life" behind and testify against his former colleagues. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.