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4.6 out of 5 stars86
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 1999
I've now read the book twice once before and once after the film the film is amazingly poor compared to the book the film is rushed where as the book can go into detail and does so. Pistone or Brasco was an amzingly strong and brave man it must have taken extreme stregth of caracter to hold up under such pressure. Yet in the photo's in the book one shows lefty after he'd been told about the 'sting' he look so crest-fallen all through the book he tells donnie how much he loves him. They almost treat each other like brothers yet everyone knows that crime doesn't pay yet in the picture he look so dissapointed you can just imagine what is going though his mind after what he and brasco/pistone have been through together. I urge everyone to buy this book.
Feel free to mail me to discuss the book
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on 29 November 2013
This book represents the best account of an FBI undercover operation in the 1970`s to infiltrate one of the 5 families of NYC. This story is unique in that the scale of this operation was and still is unprecendented to this day. I loved how the book gave a very realistic account of undercover work and how slow and arduous it was to infiltrate the mafia criminal circles. The characters in the story are quite interesting as you would expect from the type of criminals . The book also gives details of the sort of effects undercover work has on the agents as well as the effects on their family lives. I found this open honest potrayal quite refreshing as the details are not glamorized and glossed over in the way movies tend to do.

In short of you like stories of the Mafia or if you are interested in what it`s like to be an undercover agent then get this book as its the best potrayal you will find. Physically the book itself is larger than a regular novel in terms of length & width which is quite amazing when you first get a hold of it !
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on 20 August 2012
The book was well written and really lets the reader into the wiseguy world - one can only imagine the daily anxiety that agent Pistone went through in order to jail high ranking members of the mob. The book seems to run out of steam and I had to google characters in the book to find out what happened to them. A great read though.
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on 13 November 1998
Joseph Pistone is a true American hero in a society that worships the likes of John Gotti. As risky as it is to be a member of Cosa Nostra, Pistone illustrates how much riskier it was to be an FBI agent under deep cover in the mafia. I saw the movie first and immediately got the book. The movie takes a lot of liberties and stretches the truth...surprise, surprise. Hollywood not sticking to the real story? I'm shocked! This book is a milestone and in my top 10, right up there with Catch-22, Johnnie Got His Gun, and All Quiet on the Western Front. Pistone's courage remains unparalleled. The tragedy is that this amazing man now has to live the rest of his life under an assumed name. Hey, maybe Hollywood will come up with a new one where Joe Pistone and Sammy Gravano hook up, become pals and fight martians or something. You just gotta love Hollywood, huh?
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I have just finished this book for the third time. I have bought three copies in total, having given the first two to friends, because I wanted them to read it. Why is this book so good? I think that it's because so much of it is written in dialogue, meaning that you really feel that you are in the room with the mafia guys. Reading this book you gain an insight into a world with values so different to those of normal people or "civilians" as we are apparently called. Their dedication to crime is total, yet there is a code of honour (observed to a greater or lesser extent) and extreme hierarchy within the organisation itself. The writing is vivid and gripping. And it is a hell of a story, offering complete insight into the life of the mafia, not to mention the methods of the FBI. Very strongly recommended.
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on 8 May 1999
This is a hero's tale. And the best book on organized crimeever. The best - because it has not been written by a blased overexcited journalist, but by a man who was in the very core of things. And he isn't a criminal - he is a man of the law. This is the only book that gets as close to *our* points of view as possible - because, though being an agent, Joe Pistone is a normal, intelligent man. Not an incoherent simpleton like 99% of the gangsters. He's book isn't narrated from the position of a brainless crook like Henry Hill, hardened though honourable criminal like Gravano, or ultraegoistic ridiculous fool like Gotti. Well, as Pistone says, wiseguys don't make good readers. Their supporters are even worse.
I also recommend everyone Pistone's new book "Donnie Brasco: Deep Cover".
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An absolutely superb read. Couldn't put it down, only when I had to eat. Gives you so much more information than the movie does, not least because the movie plays around with and alters so much of the truth. I understand biopics need to be condensed sometimes to fit snugly and aesthetically into 2hrs, it still doesn't explain why the movie was about the relationship between "Johnny Depp & Al Pacino" and not "Johnny Depp & Michael Madsen". But, heh, Pacino's a bigger star than Madsen, so Hollywood wins, the truth gets binned.

Anyway, the book... Incredibly well written by Pistone's professional co-writer, zipping from chapter to chapter in no time, making 6yrs of solid undercover work seem like the flashing glint of a fugazy diamond ring. Fuggedaboutit!
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on 5 June 2008
I Came across this story first as a side line in many Mafia/Mob based books and then the Movie. This book far outshines them all. It has to be one of the best, most truthful portrayals of the American Mafia I have come across. The book has the added advantage of being written by someone outside the mob going in. Pistone shares our values and curiosity for detail where it matters. This is no egotystical mob defector this guy is an ex FBI undercover officer. It covers 6 years of undercover work during the late 70s and early 80s infiltrating the Bonanno family amongst others. This book shines a light on the lesser, street mob characters but infinately more interesting such as Ben "Lefty" Ruggiero and Sonny Black. ITS A MUST READ for any Mafia fan.
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on 13 October 2000
I, like most people only knew of "Donnie Brasco" through the movie, this book shows you what really happened, without the gloss of hollywood. To go and do what this man did takes guts beyond belief. And to write a book this good about it all is incredible. The story of breaking into the mob and gaining the trust of the most untrusting. It's a great story about courage, not just of getting that close to the danger, but of having to leave his family behind for 6 years, to keep secrets from everyone he knew. I slaute you Joseph and Richard. Thanks for writting a book that i just don't want to put down.
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on 13 July 2014
Having seen the film a few years ago I was curious to read the full account that it was based on and was not disappointed. In the book you get enough background to understand how he got to the point of going undercover and from there it is broken down into various stages of the operation and you get a real understanding of how things unfolded. He does not shy away from parts of the story which do not always paint himself in the best light or the ones which show the guys he was around to be not all bad all the time.
I would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.
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