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I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa
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I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  983 ratings  ·  124 reviews
"I heard you paint houses" are the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke
to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran. To paint a house is to kill a man. The
paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the
course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran
confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits
for the mob, and for his friend
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Steerforth (first published October 7th 2003)
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Jim
This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I received an offer that I couldn't refuse I figured, what do I have to lose (except maybe an unscheduled trip to Australia)? Actually, the book was loaned to me by my current employer...but it sounds much more threatening when put into 'mafia' terms.
Frank Sheeran, the central character in the book, is a murderous creep, known liar and alcoholic, who was apparently controlled by the mafia. Why should I believe anything in this book? Needless
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Richard
The real story about the infamous Jimmy Hoffa and his surprising demise. Although the author and the reputed gangster that did the deed don't address the question about where his remains are buried (it isn't in the end zone at the Meadowlands according to this account)the account rings true.

A fascinating story about Hoffa's rise to power as the head of the Teamster's Union, his increasing relationship with the mob who made good use of the Teamster's growing pension fund to build out casino's, Ho
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Boyd

I really and truly couldn't care less who killed Jimmy Hoffa, but if he's the catalyst for this book being written--well then, cry me a river. Charles Brandt is the nominal author here, but it's Frank Sheeran's book all the way, and is he ever a genius storyteller! Okay, he killed Hoffa, but let's put that into perspective by noting that Hoffa was just one notch on what was apparently one of the longest gunstocks in the history of man. In between killings--or, as he delicately put it, "taking ca
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Dan
Frank Sheeran tells a good story.
Regardless of your interest in the mafia/teamsters/kennedy story, Sheeran colorfully articulates life in Philadelphia from the Depression through the 1970's. He describes in living detail the odd jobs, the restaurants, the hang-outs, the entertainment, and characters who populated his life story. Even as an old man he describes the affliction of arthritis better than any medical text.
Of course, it helps that Sheeran was a leading character himself in the fascinat
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John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rich Jonny's Son
The book, "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, is about Jimmy Hoffa's life and his mysterius death. Jimmy's main Internal conflict was being convicted of jury tampering and attempted bribery. His main external conflict was his death.

While readin this book i made a text-to-world connection. with how politicans are alway landing in hot water. Like Elliote Spitzer for example.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars. The book has action a
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Liz
Wow! After completing this book, you'll be sure you know the real truth behind the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa- and even if you didn't care before, you will now! It's the memoir of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, told to the author over the course of a few years before Frank dies. Not only is it a confession of the Jimmy Hoffa murder, it also lays out in chilling detail just how much power and influence the mafia had (or has?) over the lives of every American, from labor issues to the economy and ...more
Nicole
Though I don't read very much true crime and I actually didn't know much about the historical background for this book going in, I really ended up enjoying it. You get the sense from the afterword that Sheeran didn't reveal nearly as much as he could have, but that what he did was enough. Definitely an interesting window into another world... Also, Brandt does a good job of bringing in conjecture and points from other Hoffa/mob narratives. Overall, would recommend to true crime and/or Goodfellas ...more
Jeff Tucker
There are so many revelations in this book that it’s hard to review it without giving something away. Growing up during the depression with an abusive father and then enduring a difficult WWII experience in the army Frank Sheeran evolved into a man capable of almost anything. It’s a fascinating story and it all sounds very plausible to me. It touches on many of the great historical mysteries and conspiracy theories of the last half century. It's a fascinating read.
Nathan
This was a tragic but endearing book. The story is about a 6'4" Irishman that went from being a small time crook to hit man to union boss to the man that killed Jimmy Hoffa (his dear friend).

Sheeran did many horrible things in his life (murder, theft, racketeering). I would suggest the worst thing he did was get Joe Biden elected senator of Delaware.
Mike Starkey
If you enjoyed Goodfellas, Casino or Donnie Brasco, this book is a must read. Brandt relays Frank Sheeran's story beautifully, from his rough upbringing all the way to his deathbed. Whether or not Sheeran really did kill Hoffa doesn't really matter because this is a masterfully told story.
Robin Wray
Well written, true crime story. Good juxtaposition of author's research with Frank Sheeran's direct quotes. Answers mystery of Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.
Sandra
I gotta say I enjoyed reading this book. Sheeran is a complicated man doing complicated things, many of which the law and most people's moralities disapprove of. Yet, as I read along I couldn't help but understand the fascination that the mob life most hold for some. You feel like these are just good ole boys doing the dirty work that nobody else wants to do, reminded me of some guys that my Uncle used to know when I was a kid in the Bronx. So pull up a chair, get some spaghetti with gravy and j ...more
Steve
Whoa!!! Great story
Walt
This is a difficult to review. On the one hand it includes some fanciful stories; but it also has some stories that ring true. I think readers need to be cautious with accepting this book. The epilogue includes references to other authors who based their claims on Frank Sheeran's recollections with the casual dismissal that these are incorrect or lies seriously undermines the reliability of this book.

The biggest problem is that the focus of the book is not Sheeran; but rather Jimmy Hoffa. There
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Max Magbee
Interesting oral account of Teamster and Mob hit man, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran's life and work alongside Teamster Boss, Jimmy Hoffa and other organized crime chieftans, as well as his revealing knowledge of the details of Hoffa's "Last Ride".
Written by former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Delaware, Charles Brandt, the narrative is told in Sheeran's own words (with Brandt filling in the gaps for clarification on many details) therefore everything is very matter-of-fact while also being car
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Ruth Ann
So many rumors float around about events that it can be hard to decide what to believe. I think this book dispelled many rumors that I've heard over the years and not just about the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. "I heard you paint houses" is an euphemism about being a professional killer for the mob. Charles Brandt writes about events from Frank Sheeran's experiences with his father, the U.S. Army, and the Teamsters that form Sheeran's personality and lead to his subsequent life in crime. Especially c ...more
Joseph Bruno
“I Heard You Paint House's - Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa,” is the autobiography of mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheehan, written by former homicide prosecutor and Chief Deputy Attorney General of the State of Delaware, Charles Brandt. The main point of the book is that Sheehan, more than 25 years after the disappearance of Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa, finally admitted to putting two bullets in Hoffa's head. The book is interspersed with Brant's writing, which are precise and quite ...more
Allan MacDonell
In fiction, an admitted sociopath relaying the course of events is accepted and enjoyed as an “unreliable narrator.” In a true-life memoir, an autobiographical subject with a self-admitted history of lies and betrayals, especially one who purports to have played a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and to have delivered the bullets that killed labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, can—if “I Heard You Paint Houses” is any indication—be experienced as an enthralling expert witness to an Am ...more
Bill Varon
there's a reason scorsese, de niro, pesci, etc. are making the movie version of this book: it's really good and it finally tells the story behind jimmy hoffa's disappearance and the mob's role in American labor unions, especially back in "the day" ('50's thru the '80's). thru this book i learned the jimmy hoffa story and how our unions were built, something i never paid attention to growing up but had always heard about in the news or tangentially in movies. but what i also really appreciated in ...more
John
i was looking on IMDB or Wikipedia or somewhere @ Martin Scorsese's bio, and saw that this was a book he was thinking of filming, and so that's what piqued my interest. i think Scorsese does best when he film's crime and mob related material. and then when i saw that this was a story about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, knowing that Jack Nicholson starred in a movie about Hoffa, i was curious as to what angle Scorsese might take to film this.

the book is convincing. Frank Sheeran might not have been
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David
“I Heard You Paint Houses” were the first words Teamster leader and union boss Jimmy Hoffa spoke to Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. This book is a retelling of some of the most tense economic moments in the 1960s, where mafias ran unions and criminals rose to the top. Charles Brandt managed to sit down with an aging Frank Sheeran and extract first-hand accounts of Jimmy Hoffa’s accounts with the mob and his ultimate death. Hoffa’s disappearance was for 35 years one of the most mysterious unsolved ...more
Matt
I heard you paint houses is a good read. I give this a solid 4 stars. Like many books like this, you have to sift through the bluster, and exaggerations to get a real story. This book reads a little more like an Autobiography, but Brandt fills in the gaps to tie it all together.

Clearly connected to Hoffa and also with several murders on his hands, it is hard to really credit Frank Sheeran with killing Hoffa or his explanation of his whereabouts, you have to be able to absorb the probable lies he
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Lynn
Fascinating book! This book was mentioned in a newspaper article about the vast amount of corruption in Northeastern Pennsylvania government. It linked a convicted judge in our county to Russell Buffalino who played a prominent role in the Hoffa story.

The book is based on a series of interviews conducted with Frank Sheeran over a period of years. Much of the book is directly quoted from those interviews. The major focus is Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance and the backstory. Frank's insight into mob a
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Megan
I'm afraid to say anything about this book for fear I may be sent to Australia!

I think my chin was on the floor throughout this book...for many different reasons...the acts of violence, the utter disregard for law and life, complete hypocrisy of what it meant to be a good guy or bad guy,...just. Wow. And when you're all done reading you think about two things; who is involved now? and can anyone be trusted?

True story that finally tells the story of what happened to Hoffa (and others). the auth
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Rdonn
I was the only one in my reading group who really didn't like the book. There are some interesting facts about famous people and their connection to the Mafia, the Kennedy connection. Sinatra, etc. And of course Appalachin isn't far away and several in the club knew people in Appalachin who saw the big black cars, the police, etc. i simply have no connection nor knowledge of many of the famous members of the clan. The book was basically the life story of Sheeran, the part he played in some big c ...more
Jennifer
After hearing an interview with Brandt, I eagerly visited the library and started in on this book. Somehow, I expected more about Hoffa and the Hoffa years and less about Frank Sheeran's early years, failed marriages, war experiences, etc. Although, I imagine that those years shaped him into the hit man that he ultimately became. The book was mostly written in Sheeran's first person voice, and ultimately, I ended up just skimming the last half of the book. It certainly is believable, and if you ...more
P.J. Kelley
This book makes some outrageous claims. It says Jack Ruby procured prostitutes for Meyer Lansky and the Chicago Mob, and was a minor mobster himself. Why would Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald if he was mobbed up?

From Sheeran saying he got his on the job assassin training from shooting German POWs during The Battle of the Bulge, to saying the mob orchestrated the Kennedy Assassination, this book is absolutely groundbreaking.

Although Sheeran lies at times, I think, a lot of this sounded true, a
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Steve Lozon
What a great peek into 'thug' life. While this book might be more 'story-true' than 'happened-true', it is an interesting and well-written tale. A fair, insightful look into a bad man's life.
Tim Coyne
Book is great all around, but the account of how they killed Hoffa is amazing.
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