English, T.J.: Where the Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him
LJ Reviews 2015 June #1
Quintessential Irish American gangster and an FBI informant to boot, Whitey Bulger was arrested in 2011 after a 16-year manhunt and tried and convicted of racketeering and murder. New York Times best-selling author English (e.g., The Savage City) offers a whole new take on Bulger's crime career. With a 75,000-copy first printing; this fall, Warner Bros. will release Black Mass, a movie based on Bulger's life, starring Johnny Depp.[Page 70]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2015 September #1
Mobster Whitey Bulger was on the lam for 16 years before he was caught in June 2011 in Santa Monica, CA. English (The Westies; Paddy Whacked), an authority on the Irish Mob, attended every day of Bulger's trial. Here, he intertwines the proceedings with the history of Bulger's career and the Irish Mob to tell the story. Bulger was a master manipulator who got what he wanted. He and his associate Stephen Flemmi knew that by becoming top echelon informants for the FBI, they could do whatever they wanted—drugs, loan-sharking, extortion, and robberies. They also got away with murder as long they made the bodies disappear. English goes into great detail and presents solid evidence that the demoralization of the Boston FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) allowed these men to terrorize New England. He demonstrates that the FBI went to great lengths to protect itself, and if innocent people were collateral damage, so be it. The average citizen has to wonder if these federal justice departments can be trusted in using informants to obtain their objectives or even to do their primary job, which is to protect Americans. VERDICT This kind of insight into corruption in the FBI and the DOJ doesn't get published very often. For those who want to read about such impropriety or have been following the Bulger story.—Michael Sawyer, Pine Bluff, AR[Page 122]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2015 July #3
English, who has produced some notable books on Irish organized crime in America, like The Westies (1990) and Paddy Whacked (2005), finally weighs in, in-depth, on the now familiar story of murder and corruption centered on Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in the film The Departed. English combines firsthand coverage of Bulger's 2013 racketeering trial with flashbacks to the decades leading up to Bulger's conviction in a court of law, and his account is enhanced by access to one of the jurors on the case. English's passionate outrage at the corruption in the FBI and Department of Justice stemming from their reliance on confidential informants whose hands were as bloody as those they gave up is compelling, but he takes it too far; he concludes that since Bulger's conviction by jury was a foregone conclusion the trial "could have been a legal exploration of the law enforcement policy that makes it possible for a man like Whitey Bulger to thrive." His prose can also be over-the-top ("The defense lawyer misread the recipe and undercooked the main course, leaving the jury, paradoxically, both gaseous and malnourished"). Though English's account adds insight to the trial, it is not the definitive account that fans of the author's may have hoped. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Inc. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC