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Takedown: The Fall of the Last Mafia Empire
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Takedown: The Fall of the Last Mafia Empire

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  165 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Seldom has the netherworld of the mafia been revealed with such fascinating detail and sheer suspense. Like the classics of the genre-from "The Godfather" to "The French Connection" to "Wise Guy"-"Takedown" leads us to the inner ring of a conspiracy of corruption and terror that held the city in its grip for nearly fifty years.

Rick Cowan was a young NYPD detective in 1992
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 28th 2002 by G. P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2002)
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I really liked this book by NYPD detective Rick Cowan, about Operation Wasteland, the undercover investigation that crippled the garbage hauling rackets in NYC. I don't tend to be partial to books by police officers, maybe having been burned by the stunning dullness of Donnie Brasco early on in my true-crime-reading career. But I found this much more interesting, maybe because Cowan was younger and greener and, at least as he portrays it, had to do more improvising due to the lesser resources of ...more
Bob Schmitz
In May 1992 Rick Cowan, an NYPD undercover cop, is investigating the arson of a garbage truck at Chambers Paper and Fiber when 2 mobsters from a rival garbage company stop by. When they ask the owner Sal who Cowan is he responds "That's my cousin Danny." Seizing the moment Cowan for three years becomes Danny, works at Chambers and infiltrates to the top of the Mob controlled NYC garbage industry. He wears a wire to scores of Mob meetings collecting recordings that eventually put almost 200 mobst ...more
Kim Gates
May 23, 2015 Kim Gates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another good expose of the Mafia's inner workings. It's amazing to read about the 50-year stranglehold the Mob had on the collection of New York City's commercial garbage. If not for the infiltration by a courageous NYPD detective, NYC would still be in thrall to the Mob. Wow!
Peter Shovlin
If you like the genre, I'd definitely recommend. What I liked most is, this is the real deal, the majority of encounters described were caught on tape so what you're reading is for the most part genuinely what went down. Alongside Brasco and Falcone, essential true crime Mafia entry
Jul 29, 2009 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one undercover cop's gripping tale of infiltrating the mob to uncover corruption in the waste management industry. Recalling it here in vivid, riveting detail, Rick Cowan (aided by journalist Century) reconstructs a time when he was deeper undercover in the garbage "cartel" than any city cop had ever been, with the close calls to prove it. Whether he's boosting a wiseguy's car to plant a bug, navigating confrontations with goons wielding two-by-fours and baseball bats or suffering throug ...more
This book tells the story of the NYPD’s investigation into the mob run garbage cartel which ran and controlled the industry in NY for over 50 years. Told by the cop who spent over 3 years undercover with the members of the mafia who ran these lucrative rackets. Good read.
Nov 22, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed portrait of the Mob run garbage cartel in the 1990s. The fact that a large percentages of the conversations were from wiretaps allowed the author (undercover NYPD officer) to get into a lot of the minutia of the day to day activities of the organized crime figures and the carters. It was a fascinating look into a corrupt industry and the gangsters that had been running it since the 1950s. I deducted one star because the basic racket was explained and laid out over and over.
Adam Swift
Probably closer to 3.5 stars if I had the option, fast-paced undercover detective infiltrating the mafia sorta stuff, with more information about waste management than you probably want or need.
Feb 10, 2010 Walt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: organized-crime
This is a very well researched and written study of the mob in a particular industry. The authors do an excellent job describing the racket from its inception through the modern era and its dissolution. This is one of the best books on organized crime I have read.
Rob Younger
Aug 02, 2007 Rob Younger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic, true story about the man who took down the Mafia from the inside. Highly recommended for true crime or Mafia buffs.
Jan 03, 2010 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eh, this was okay. It does give the reader some perspective of how stressful it must be to be deep undercover.
Vanessa Calabria
A NYPD detective infiltrates the commercial, mob-dominated, garbage collecting industry in New York City.
Susan Schnell
Fascinating story. I had a hard time getting past the obscene language even though I know that is realistic.
May 04, 2013 Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read! Like the Sopranos, but much more exciting and suspenseful, as it's a true story.
Mar 25, 2008 Harold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good account of a cop infiltrating the NYC mob.
Jun 06, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the book version, excellent!
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