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Whitey's Payback and Other True Stories of Gangsterism, Murder, Corruption and Revenge

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Sixteen stories of true crime from America’s foremost authority on the underworld

James “Whitey” Bulger is the last of the old-fashioned gangsters. As a polished, sophisticated psychopath—who also happened to be a secret FBI informant—his reign of power in Boston lasted for more than twenty years. When he went on the lam in 1995, the kingpin’s legend grew to rival that of A
Paperback, 230 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Road (first published January 1st 2013)
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May 05, 2013 Stacia rated it really liked it
The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge was one of the best books of 2011. I’ve read almost all of English’s books, and I’d recommend them to anyone who is interested in organized crime in America. He’s not a journalist so much as he’s a social historian, and his books make for compelling, compulsive reading.

This book is a little different. It’s a collection of articles written by English and spans almost two decades (the first story was published in 1991 in Playboy, the last
Susie Sentevski
Jun 30, 2013 Susie Sentevski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Ahh, a stellar collection of True Crime. English uses a base of facts and stories about classic, well-known mobsters to usher the reader into the discussion of the lesser known hard-hitters in organized crime.

This is as unbiased as it gets when it comes to journalism. There is neither judgement nor promotion of the organized crime presented in English's pieces. There is - simply - history; what happened, how did it happen, and why did it happen. English is even thorough enough to turn his watch
Aug 30, 2016 Ben rated it really liked it
I anguished for a few seconds about whether to give this three stars or not, but I courageously got over that struggle since it turns out there are more important ways to spend/waste my time. The reason for the uncertainty was that there are quite a few pieces in this collection that were more than 20 years old when it was published in 2013, and it would be nice to have at least a smidgen of an update or two to bring us clueless readers up to speed. As English himself acknowledges, the pieces we ...more
Bettye McKee
Semi-true crime

This book consists of a series of articles written for various publications. They are ABOUT true crime, which is not the same thing.

The author knows plenty about mobsters, but I found his writing to be overly wordy, thus making it difficult to read and follow. Perhaps I am spoiled by the short, pithy true crime accounts I like so well.
Nov 13, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Interesting articles about true crime in which the author shares with us several axioms of criminal life, such as, "nice guys make the best killers" and "short of death, prison remains the great equalizer".
Mark Hepler
Oct 08, 2013 Mark Hepler rated it liked it
Maybe I shouldn’t try to review a non-fiction book that has the breadth and gravitas of a Russian novel, but I’ll try.
This compendium can’t help but weigh itself down with its depressing subject matter, and it is made sadder by the pathos of the libertine subtexts of the articles that were written for Playboy and Esquire.
Especially disturbing are the tinges of cultural relativism that run through pieces on Jamaican gangs, and the glossing over of the nasty impact that illegal drugs have on a soc
Aug 31, 2014 Erichyde rated it liked it
Just okay. Rehash.
Debbie Smyth
Jul 26, 2013 Debbie Smyth rated it really liked it
I finished the book on a Chi-SF flight. He is one of best true crime writers. He takes a journalistic approach to crime writing without being boring. I highly recommend the section on the war on drugs.

Mar 06, 2014 Carie rated it really liked it
There are nasty people in this world. T.J. English likes to dig in and get his hands dirty, then tell you about it later !
Gabriel Sheehan
Jun 04, 2013 Gabriel Sheehan rated it it was amazing
Top notch journalism from a writer with an impressive vision of "how things work," as he puts.
James Tracy
Jun 24, 2013 James Tracy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: public-policy
Old school in the tradition of Royko, Kempton, and Breslin.
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T. J. English is an author, journalist and screenwriter with an emphasis on organized crime, the criminal underworld, and the criminal justice system. Many of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, including THE SAVAGE CITY, HAVANA NOCTURNE, PADDY WHACKED, and his most recent book WHERE THE BODIES WERE BURIED. In 2013, a collection of his journalism was published under the title WHITEY'S ...more
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