A longtime member of organized crime recounts his criminal career, his involvement in the six-million dollar Lufthansa robbery, and his decision to become a federal witness.
Why read it?
3 authors picked Wise Guy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
This book is the biography of Henry Hill, who, at the age of eleven, began working as an assistant for a boss of the Lucchese crime family in Manhattan. The book was turned into the movie Goodfellas, with Ray Liotta playing the role of Hill.
Fast-paced and filled with brutally violent incidents, Wise Guy portrays Henry Hill’s involvement in the life of the crime organization. In 1980, twenty-five years after he began working with the Lucchese family, Hill was arrested for heroin trafficking. Knowing he would be convicted at trial and would receive a lengthy sentence, and understanding that…
This book takes you on Henry Hill’s journey from a streetwise kid to a major mob player. Along the way it hits all the highs and lows without pulling punches. It doesn’t get bogged down in excess rituals found in The Godfather. It lets the reader have it straight, no chaser.
Henry Hill’s story is well-captured in the movie Goodfellas, but the movie departs from the true story in crucial ways. Beyond this book’s utility as an extension (and fact check) of the film, Wise Guy stands on its own as one of the best American chronicles of the life of a modern outlaw. It’s steeped in practitioner-level details on organized crime in the 1970s, from street-level scams to the record-breaking Luftansa heist of 1978. The strength of the story is the rise and fall of the disreputable Hill, the lifetime mobster turned informant. The heart of his saga is…
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