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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  7,578 ratings  ·  348 reviews
Nicholas Pileggi’s vivid, unvarnished, journalistic chronicle of the life of Henry Hill—the working-class Brooklyn kid who knew from age twelve that “to be a wiseguy was to own the world,” who grew up to live the highs and lows of the mafia gangster’s life—has been hailed as “the best book ever written on organized crime” (Cosmopolitan).

This is the true-crime bestseller th
ebook, The 25th Anniversary Edition, 304 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Funny like I'm a clown?
C.C. Cole
“Wiseguy” tells the story of the life of career criminal Henry Hill, well known in the film “Goodfellas,” which is based upon this book. As with many books that go to films, the inner details add depth to Hill’s story and give the reader a better feel for the disturbing and violent life he lead. With the romanticism of film removed, the facts are told mostly from Henry and his wife at the time, Karen. What I liked most about “Wiseguy” is the true events, rather than the detailed idealistic ficti ...more
I think this could have been a very jarring book had I not seen the movie Goodfellas so many times I practically have it memorized. As with the Godfather book/film, Goodfellas is an extremely faithful representation of Wiseguy.

As many people have pointed out previously, what sets this book apart is the outright bluntness in the delivery. It wastes no time trying to water the cold, hard facts down or romanticize the lifestyle of a mafioso. We're talking about people who would murder their best fr
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli
A deeper look into the story of Henry Hill and his life and involvement with the New York City Mafia from the 1950s-90s. The beginning of the book is nearly exactly like its film version (Goodfellas, a classic in my opinion), but if you keep going the story takes new turns not shown in the film, with additional schemes and characters. I enjoyed the different perspectives, with narratives from the writer, Karen (Henry's wife), FBI detectives, and mostly Henry himself. If you have an interest in l ...more
I first read this when it came out in the mid 80s. I was 70 or 80 pages into it when Henry Hill first mentioned his niteclub on Queens Boulevard,The Suite. At that point I realized I had worked in Henry's club as a musician in the early 1970s. I remembered Henry (never knew his last name)standing at the end of the bar most nights watching the action and hanging out with his friends. Of course at that point the book grabbed my total interest and I finished it in a few hours. It's arguably the gre ...more
By: Tj Scott
The book “Wiseguy” is about Henry Hill a member of the Lucchese crime family.The book itself tells a different perspective of the “Mob”. Its seen through the eyes of Nicholas Pileggi the author but told to by Hill himself . It displays an interesting outlook,Mob movies books characters have fascinated the world for so long and its the belief that their is another world more exhilarating and exciting fast paced and the common person is just looking to escape the real world i
Based on evidence given while going into the witness protection program, this is a gritty view of what it is actually like to be a 'Wise Guy' or Mafia thug. I was amazed & repelled by the book. Unlike the Godfather which made a hero out of such men & touted a loyalty & honor throughout the ranks, this book shows the actual setup. How self-interest rules their lives & how little empathy they have.

I didn't like the book or the subject, but it was well written & worth reading.
This is the story of Henry Hill, a close associate of Paul Vario, a capo in the Lucchese crime family in New York City. It impresses not in the criminal achievements of Hill, but rather in the breadth of knowledge which Hill provides of the mafia way of life - what is entailed in living the life of a wiseguy.

Comparisons with the film of the same name are inevitable but I tried to avoid this common pitfall. the film is slick, star studded, well acted and with innovative and highly effective camer

در صورت تمایل، جهت مشخصات فیلمی که بر اساس این کتاب ساخته شده است؛ میتوانید از لینک زیر استفاده بفرمایید
Great read. I, like many, read this after seeing GoodFellas dozens upon dozens of times. I'll start by saying I like the film better, but that's not to downplay how good this book is. Reading it makes me appreciate the film even more.

Part of what I love about the film is that it has that "no way this could be made up" vibe to it. Little touches throughout made it all so believable. This is because the film soaked up countless minute details from the book (which is actually pretty lean at only 2
This is the sort of book that makes reading true crime interesting. What I mean is this: while reading about gruesome murders is sometimes chillingly good, and one reads such books just for the shock value, sometimes a book comes along that gives you the big picture. This is such a book.

Henry Hill fell in love with the Mafia way of life as a kid, and he stuck to it until the bitter end - or rather, until he had two choices. Either join the Federal Witness Protection Program, or face the music wi
Peter Bucaccio
Response 1
If I had the option, I would be friends with Henry Hill in a heartbeat. He is a young, kind, and easygoing person. Although he is surrounded by violence, he never seemed to give into the peer pressure of his friends. When people around him were thinking of how to whack their friend, Henry was thinking of how to talk them out of it. He seemed to be a genuinely good guy.
Henry was always generous, giving out money like candy, and treated those who gave him respect, with respect. Among It
Daiv Shorten
If you can't get enough of Goodfellas, this book is a perfect way to get all of the details. The most surprising aspect of the book is just how true-to-life Scorsese was in his direction of the movie. I suppose that might have something to do with his collaboration with author Nicholas Pileggi, who he worked with again on Casino. This attention to detail allows the reader to visualize and recall the scenes of Goodfellas as Pileggi provides embellishments to enrich the story for the reader. Norma ...more
Hands down, this is the best book ever written about the mafia. Like Pileggi says in the first few pages, Henry gives one of the most rare views from the inside, because he watched everything and participated in the lifestyle with a sense of detachment, probably because he knew that while he could never be an "official" member, the more he paid attention, the more he could endear himself to the higher-ups of the mafia family he was associated with.

Like most people who read this book, I saw the m
This book documents the mobster Henry Hill's story, and was the inspiration for the move Goodfellas. The writing style is very journalistic, and most of the book consists of direct quotes from Henry, with some from his wife Karen. It was interesting to compare and contrast the movie with the book. The book uses real names, (Jimmy Conway in the movie is the really James Burke, etc.), and is entirely Henry's story without being fictionalized. The movie compresses some events, and Tommy DeVito (Joe ...more
Henry Hill was a criminal, snitch, con artist, drug addict and betrayer of people that were more or less family to him so you have to take a lot of what he says in this book with a grain of salt. If you have seen the movie Goodfellas then this is the book that film was based on. The only difference I noticed between the two was the book goes into how they were running a points shaving/gambling scam with Boston College basketball players. As untrustworthy as Hill is the book itself is a fascinati ...more
This book was amazing. Until recently I never knew there was a book version of "Goodfellas". I always loved the movie, so when I found out there was a book I had to read it.
The book is way better than the movie. So much more detail and you really find out what happens. Nicholas Pileggi did a marvelous job in writing the book. I loved the style he chose to write it in: with descriptions and then first person accounts by Henry, his wife Karen and one time girlfriend, Linda.
A truly wonderful book a
"One of the largest heists in American history occurred in December of 1978 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York when an informant, Louis Werner, tipped off Martin Krugman, a bookmaker and member of the Lucchese crime organization to whom Werner owed a large sum, that millions of dollars in cash and jewels were due to arrive on a Lufthansa flight and would be stored over a weekend in a particular vault on the grounds of JFK. Jimmy Burke’s mob, a sub-organization of Lucchese’s, to ...more
How does a boy from a nice family grow up to be a gangster? Well, it helps to live across the street from a mob-owned cab stand that needs fleet-footed boys to run errands. Growing up in poverty, young Henry Hill couldn’t help but envy the lifestyles of the men who frequented the cab stand across the way, rolling by in luxury cars, dressed in tailored suits, and handing out wads of cash like peppermint candy. Determined to wield the power they did, at the age of twelve he became a gofer – and on ...more
It's difficult to regard this book as a separate entity from the film Goodfellas, so for the purposes of this review, I won't even bother, I'll directly compare the two. The setting, styling, and dialogue of the film is obviously lifted right from the book. It's a freewheeling, fast-paced ride through the kind of existence that most of us would only recognise through the cartoon-ish sylised violence of mobster films. The films don't feel real, and neither does this book. The concept of unreliabl ...more
Steffan Haskins
Way Overrated! I truly thought this book would live up to the reviews but obviously whoever has read this and rated it the best mafia book of all time, has not read The Godfather. This was a halfway entertaining novel that was more of an autobiography. The only reason I continued reading was because the reviews were so I'd I thought the book would redeem itself, though it never did. You want a good mafia book, read some Mario Puzo.
Brenden Sutton
I absolutely love mob stories especially ones that are true about gangsters I've heard of and this book is a notorious example of a scumbag and what he's done. I picked his up for 3 dollars at a garbage sale with 2 other books and I read this in a span of only 2 days reading along with the audiobook. I am a procrastinator so that's a big deal for me to read a book in a day or two days time. me and my friend both read this along with the audiobook together and then we compared it to goodfellas a ...more
A 2 second hand pick up at Hammett in Berlin, it's a book I've always meant to read. Large sections of Hill's personal testimony in this book made it to the narration in Goodfella's of course.

Assuming that editing and shaping of Henry and Karen's story by Pileggi naturally took place, this book becomes as much about the quality of the writing as it does the events and lives in describes. Compare the complexity and detail of mob activity to the description of the multiple heists in Richard Stark
This is a great book! A lot of violence and a good story about the life as a mobster or a wise guy. It's the life story of Henry hill and his involvement of the mafias organized crime. If you want to be entertained read wiseguy

Good book about a bad ass Italian "wise guy". He was you know, a goodfella. The viewpoints change quickly between the author then direct quotes/pieces between Henry Hill and even Karen- his wife, Linda etc...
I liked it!
Probably when I first picked up this book and put it in my "to-read" pile, I read the back cover that clearly says that this is the story of Henry Hill. However, somewhere between then and now, I thought this book was going to be the story of an undercover cop in the mob. Yes, I believe I got the show and the book mixed up. I was quite surprised to find out I was reading the book Goodfellas was based on. (The edition I had was printed before the movie so there was no advertising to the fact on t ...more
Clearly my best decision was to watch the movie "Goodfellas" only after I had read the book, since it allowed me to fully apreciate it's content without the spoilers from the screen version bases upon it. What I most enjoyed about this book was its amazingly true to the core writting with zero care for your susceptability to violence. The cold blood killer Henry Hill is very well portraid in this book where we can have a more insightful view of its life and actionsactions só that we can get to h ...more
Amar Pai
I'm enjoying reading this to myself in Ray Liotta's voice
Goodfellas was already one of my all-time favorite books, and this book, upon it was based, makes me enjoy it that much more. Details are filled in and clarified, and context is given to the entire movie. It stands on its own as a book as well, thanks to Pileggi letting Henry and Karen Hill (and a few others) speak their piece, adding comment when necessary. Recommended for those interested in learning more about the Air France/Lufthansa heists, a specific time and in place in mafia history, or ...more
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Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy, which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas, and for writing the book and screenplay Casino. The movie versions of both were co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the 1996 film City Hall. He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia. This is where he developed his ...more
More about Nicholas Pileggi...
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