A courageous FBI agent recounts his battle against a corrupt law-enforcement culture that protected one of the nation’s most notorious criminals.

By the time he was ordered to Boston in 1980, Fitzpatrick had already distinguished himself, handling 1960s KKK bombings in Mississippi and uncovering crucial evidence relating to the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, but putting the Boston FBI office on the “straight and narrow” proved impossible. Fitzpatrick and novelist Land (Strong at the Break, 2011, etc.) trace the breakdown of discipline and order there back to the ’50s and the beginning of the furious effort to bring down La Cosa Nostra. Out of greed and ambition, agents went “native,” choosing their “Boston Irish roots…over loyalty to the organization.” In exchange for what turned out to be worthless information about the Italian gangsters, they leaked to and protected Irish mob chieftain James “Whitey” Bulger and his right-hand man, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, allowing them literally to get away with murder. Fitzpatrick understood immediately that Bulger should have been an investigative and prosecutorial target, but during three frustrating years he couldn’t “close” him as an informant. Pushback from colleagues, prosecutors and superiors with too much to lose—“Don’t embarrass the Bureau” was the overriding imperative—cost Fitzpatrick his job and his starry-eyed belief in the FBI’s efficiency and honor. The author’s assessment of the Boston Bureau has been vindicated in a series of civil and criminal trials, but he convincingly argues that the corruption ran much deeper than the single agent convicted. After more than 25 years on the lam, Bulger was recently arrested. Will Whitey sing? The FBI must tremble at the prospect. An alarming, depressing tale of how law enforcement lost its way, how the insidious line between cop and criminal can be so easily obliterated.


Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3551-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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