Carmine the Snake
The shocking true story of  the most ruthless and deadly mob boss in the annals of the American Mafia.In the golden age of organized crime, Carmine “The Snake” Persico was the King of the Streets. The defacto boss of the Colombo Mafia family since the 1970s, he oversaw gang wars, murders, and major rackets, even from prison. He is suspected of personally murdering as many as 60 people and ordering the hits of hundreds more. Sentenced to 139 years in the fed, he continued to exert power over a vast criminal empire from behind bars. His brutal rise and bloody reign is the stuff of legend.In this blistering street-level account, “Mafia survivor” Frank Dimatteo teams up with true-crime master Michael Benson to take down one of the most notorious figures in the American La Cosa Nostra. This is the real inside story of Carmine “The Snake” Persico,  from his crime-filled childhood on the streets of Brooklyn to the long-term jail sentences that didn’t stop him from controlling his criminal empire with the help of his brother, the equally kill-crazy Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico. His deadly teen years as leader of the fearsome Garfield Boys. His recruitment into the Profaci—later the Colombo—crime family. His bloody  betrayal of the Gallo brothers. His role in the hair-raising ambush-slaying of Albert Anastasia—the Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc.—as he sat in a barbershop chair getting a shave. The terror he struck into the hearts of the New York Mafia’s other families, and even his own crews. And the many courtroom trials where Persico walked after witnesses came down with sudden cases of amnesia.Today, Carmine “The Snake” Persico schmoozes with Ponzi king Bernard Madoff behind bars where at age 84 his legend, packed as it is with cold-blooded brutality, continues to inspire goodfellas everywhere.

Carmine the Snake Details

TitleCarmine the Snake
Author
ReleaseAug 28th, 2018
PublisherCitadel
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction

Carmine the Snake Review

  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    I found this to be a wonderful book to learn about Carmine “The Snake” Persico, Jr. aka “the Immortal” and “Junior”, who was known for being the longtime boss of the Colombo crime family. It tells a lot about his family and how he got started so young on the streets even in primary school. He was head of his own youth gang, the Garfield Boys. He was investigated for murder by the time he was just 16 years of age when a young man was killed during a fight between rival gangs over a girl supposedl I found this to be a wonderful book to learn about Carmine “The Snake” Persico, Jr. aka “the Immortal” and “Junior”, who was known for being the longtime boss of the Colombo crime family. It tells a lot about his family and how he got started so young on the streets even in primary school. He was head of his own youth gang, the Garfield Boys. He was investigated for murder by the time he was just 16 years of age when a young man was killed during a fight between rival gangs over a girl supposedly. Other places (and sources) cite age 17 in the book for the age of the arrest. His older brother Alphonse “Allie Boy” eventually took the rap and went away for the murder.The book shows good insight into Persico, sharing his life during the years on his way coming up through the ranks as he learned by watching and listening. Carmine started out doing bookmaking and loan-sharking, and later moved up to burglaries and hijackings. He was very intelligent and a good earner. Then as he got closer to the seat of power, watching how things were done. And of course his years when he was in charge, after turning ‘snake’ to become head and claim power for himself. Fascinating to see how he handled it, and the overall effect it had on the people under him, and on his real family, in the end. He made a lot of money, “enough for ten lifetimes” he claimed to someone he trusted. Persico is one of the few from that era still alive surprisingly, at least as of this writing. Born August 8, 1933, he just had his 85th birthday a few weeks ago. The book ended with his lawyers trying to get him out on time served, using some recent discoveries from documents from the government’s case against him, including one crime he’d been convicted of he may not have committed, and others exaggerated, plus his rapidly failing health. So he may be out of prison by now, released from his 100+ year sentence. Very well researched and put together, It flows easily and for the most part has a straight time-line with few jumps back and forth. Overall, an excellent true crime and mob read I’d recommend if either interests you. It surely gives a great life lesson to anyone considering a life of crime. The first thing you need to know about gangsters back then is they were cowboys—and the streets of South Brooklyn was the Old West. Gangs ruled. The street corner Garfield Boys of Carmine’s youth were a starter program, a farm system, feeding the behemoth of Joseph Profaci’s South Brooklyn brugad”--i.e., the borgata. Street Tough Carmine was first arrested for murder at sixteen, brawling in a gang fight straight out of West Side Story, a rumble that left one youth still and cold on the dark side of Prospect Park and another screaming in agony with a stab wound to the guts.An advance electronic copy was provided by NetGalley, authors Frank Dimatteo & Michael Benson, and the publisher for my fair review.CitadelPub: August 28th, 2018My Bookzone blog at Wordpress.com: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Dee Arr
    January 1, 1970
    I have had the opportunity to read other books on organized crime, some of them visiting the same topics covered by the author of “Carmine the Snake.” However, these books had more of a historical feel to them and did not come close to the intimacy reflected on the pages of author Frank DiMatteo’s retelling of the same events.Mr. DiMatteo tells the story of Carmine Persico in chronological order, and when he detours away from the timeline, it is for a good reason and he gives the reader fair war I have had the opportunity to read other books on organized crime, some of them visiting the same topics covered by the author of “Carmine the Snake.” However, these books had more of a historical feel to them and did not come close to the intimacy reflected on the pages of author Frank DiMatteo’s retelling of the same events.Mr. DiMatteo tells the story of Carmine Persico in chronological order, and when he detours away from the timeline, it is for a good reason and he gives the reader fair warning. The book begins in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, offering us a view of Carmine’s parents before his conception, moves on to Carmine’s early days of leadership with a neighborhood gang, and onward through his tumultuous life both in and out of prison. What separates this book from others is the author’s unique perspective, provided due to his upbringing as the son of a member of the Gallo gang. Mr. DiMatteo personally witnessed some of the events during the gang wars and he adds those memories to the book. You almost feel like you are sitting with the author while he relates tales of what happened over the last 80 years. Details scrambled in other books are explained and corrected, and Mr. DiMatteo is not shy about seasoning his book with colorful expressions and language that match the stories but may offend or redden the ears of more delicate readers. Using words typically not found in most history books definitely added to the book’s personality. One helpful addition might have been an appendix of names. There are many people that Carmine Persico interacted with during his lifetime. To his credit, the author included full names, nicknames, or other identifying factors to jog our memories, so while I felt there were many characters, Mr. DiMatteo did his best to help me through the pages. This is an interesting book, and I would recommend it to anyone who has read other books on organized crime as well as those who are new to the subject. The author, while focusing on Carmine Persico’s life, still describes many of the major events that affected the five crime families in New York. Five stars.My thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance complimentary copy of this book.
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  • Randal White
    January 1, 1970
    An insider's look at the story of mafioso Carmine Persico, the head of the Colombo family. Persico (later nicknamed the Snake, or Mr. Immortal) began his criminal career at a very young age in the streets of New York City. Already at age 17, he was charged with his first murder. The book documents his rise in the rank and his participation in many of the infamous mafia hits. Through it all, Persico emerges as a highly intelligent man, with an incredible sense of honor to the code of "Omerta". De An insider's look at the story of mafioso Carmine Persico, the head of the Colombo family. Persico (later nicknamed the Snake, or Mr. Immortal) began his criminal career at a very young age in the streets of New York City. Already at age 17, he was charged with his first murder. The book documents his rise in the rank and his participation in many of the infamous mafia hits. Through it all, Persico emerges as a highly intelligent man, with an incredible sense of honor to the code of "Omerta". Despite being in prison on repeated stints, and now locked up for the rest of his life, he never "rats" out anyone. The book discusses the huge impact the "RICO" laws had on the mafia. Basically, no matter how careful you were, and how many levels you had between you and the actual crime, it was "guilt by association". The author is in a unique position. As the son of an actual "hitman' for the Gallo crime family, he witnessed the life firsthand. His level of insight is unique. While you would think you would be repulsed by Persico, the author manages to make him come across as an almost normal character. One who, if his life had taken a different direction, could have been a respected and successful business man or politician. The author's disgust for the judicial system and it's RICO laws is palpable. Not to give anything away, but Rudy Giuliani is lucky to be alive today. The book was great, and very readable. The nicknames tended to confuse me, one almost needs an index to keep track of who was who. In fact, that would be a great idea for the next publishing of this book. Finally, on a personal note, I spent over 20 years working in the Federal Prison system. Over the course of my career, I met and interacted with many incarcerated members of the "Mafia". While I know they were dangerous and violent men, and I have no doubt they were criminals, they always acted with honor and respect towards the officers. If you didn't harass them, you would never have a problem with them. They had their rackets, but they never ran around the prison creating havoc and disorder like many of the other inmates. To be sure, they were running their rackets, but they never ran around the prison creating havoc and disorder like many of the other inmates. And they never whined about their conditions, as did most of the "white-collar" criminals incarcerated.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Good Mafia biographyThis account of Carmine Persico's life of crime kept my interest throughout. He came across as human. I wish there had been more about his day to day life, relationships with family and such. But people are dead or not talking. For all that, it wasn't just a list of facts strung together. The book is interesting.Persico is smart, but doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. He's in jail, his fourth decade there. His kids, nephews, brothers--everyone behind bars. For years and Good Mafia biographyThis account of Carmine Persico's life of crime kept my interest throughout. He came across as human. I wish there had been more about his day to day life, relationships with family and such. But people are dead or not talking. For all that, it wasn't just a list of facts strung together. The book is interesting.Persico is smart, but doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. He's in jail, his fourth decade there. His kids, nephews, brothers--everyone behind bars. For years and years. I wonder if he ever asked himself if life in organized crime was worth the results.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    The author did a great job of capturing the highs and lows of Carmine Persico's life as the head of the Colombo Mafia. He was arrested for murder as a teenager and was behind some of the bloodiest and brutual mob hits over decades. Even being in prison hasn't stopped Carmine from having control. This was a great read!
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