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Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia
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Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  4,944 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
In 1978, the US government waged a war against organised crime. One man was left behind the lines. From 1976 until 1981, Special Agent Pistone lived undercover with the Mafia. Only able to visit his young family once every few months, Pistone - under the alias Donnie Brasco - ate, drank, partied, worked and sometimes killed with the wiseguys. He got so close that his Mafia ...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published January 29th 1988 by New American Library (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chris G Derrick
Having read the first book 'Donnie Brasco:My Undercover Life In The Mafia' a few years ago I thought I'd give this follow up novel a try a short time after.
While there is absolutely no denying the bravery, determination & mental toughness of someone prepared to go through such an ordeal I personally didn't find the book the easiest to read. There was no feeling of not being able to wait until I could pick up it's pages again.
There were several instances of repetition sprinkled thoughout its
I know this book is a watershed in the history of Mob literature, and that Pistone's investigatory efforts were a breaking point for the Mob. But this book of his just leaves me dozing. I don't know what it is; maybe he's just a boring guy. Everyone blathers on about how great this book is, but I don't get it. It was made into a far worse movie, incidentally. One of the things the book does have going for it is that Pistone explains at great length what undercover agents can and can't do. Sawing ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
One of my favorite books. It read like a movie and being a fan of Mafia history, this was informative. I often recommend this to students who are trying to get into reading, but hate reading big novels. They like the story line. The movie butchered the book.
Sep 03, 2012 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cool. Good. Un-romantic. Not psychologically insightful, by design. Pistone spent so many years undercover, separated from his family, working on taking the Mob down, and he categorically states that the experience didn't affect him emotionally. Just a job. I think that's a great example of compartmentalization, if I may be so bold to presume; and he sure had to be capable of it to get through this experience successfully. So the movie goes the other direction, obviously, as the drama is of the ...more
Vinothraj J
Bought it because I'm a huge fan of mafia stories, and what better book to read (I thought), than a real-life story.

Though the book starts off well, and there's a decent amount of info about the families, I could've done with more.
The writing isn't too gripping, and the second half of the book has too much of Lefty, which becomes a bit of a bore.
But I shall watch the movie though.
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Posing as jewel thief "Donnie Brasco," FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone carried out the most audacious sting operation ever, working undercover for six years to infiltrate the flamboyant community of mafia soldiers, "connected guys," captains, and godfathers. Now his unforgettable eyewitness account brings to pulsating life the entire world of wiseguys—their code of honor and their treachery, their wives, girlfriends and whores, their lavish spending and dirty dealings." (From Amazon)

It is a
Patricia Loofbourrow
Before the FBI did undercover stings, an agent might go in for a few weeks to catch a low level criminal. But they wanted to go for the top dogs in the Mafia.

So in the 1970’s they sent an agent undercover for six months. Six years later, when they pulled the agent out, the FBI was able to take down Mafia personnel spreading across the US. This agent was Joseph Pistone, who went undercover as jewel thief Donald Brasco.

“Donnie Brasco” by Joseph D. Pistone is the best book on either the FBI or the
Jul 07, 2011 Heikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first ran into this book when an excerpt of it was inserted in "The Mammoth Book of the Mafia". At that time I read it as just a short peek into the life of the wiseguys, but when I bought my Kindle, I downloaded a sample of it and then bought the book.

Joe Pistone, an FBI agent, didn't really aim for six years in the Mafia, far from it. He started a six-month undercover stint into the stolen trucks business, trying to get a crack into the organized racket. What happened was that his undercover
Pablo Pachalian
Jun 02, 2012 Pablo Pachalian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people are into reading books like Hunger Games and I'm observing a big trend in the Fantasy genre. Something that the book Donnie Brasco written by FBI Agent Joseph D. Pistone isn't. This book brings the reader into the menacing life of an FBI Undercover agent, who has to infiltrate himself in the mafia. All and everything inside the book is a true story, from his connection with Tony Mirra to Milwukee mafia vending-machines. This is the type of book that only interest readers that like c ...more
An amazing story of, at that time, unprecedented undercover work. The line that Pistone managed to walk was unbelievable and the risks were great. I grew a little tired of such a factual narrative, but he stayed true to his story.
May 09, 2015 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book and I would still recommend it. But annoyingly, it felt like it was trying to come across as a novel rather than an in-depth account of what Joseph D. Pistone went through while undercover, also because of this is started to feel like it was going on too long. By the 300 page mark I felt myself getting bored and just wanting him to get on with it instead of telling us every conversation (Which I also question how, since he was undercover for 6 years, I fail to see how he can rec ...more
Steven Scaffardi
Jun 07, 2013 Steven Scaffardi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crume, mafia
The term ‘blew me away’ is perhaps used far too often when it comes to book reviews, but I can safely say that this is one book that left me truly astonished and open-mouthed with every page turn. Special FBI Agent Jospeh. D Pistone spent five years working undercover as a mafia associate in the Bonnano New York crime family. A film was made in 1997 based on his life starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, but like most films based on books, you only get half the story on the big screen.

To read the
Dec 01, 2015 Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plus4, crime
An amazing book in which you are constantly reminding yourself is true.

An FBI agent goes deep undercover in the mafia for 12 years putting together the evidence to try and bring the whole edifice down.

The book did get pretty complex towards the later quarter as more and more characters were introduced and more threads to the investigation were brought into play. At times I found it difficult to remember who were good guys and who were bad guys at the periphery.

A rare case in which watching the f
May 26, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued, because much of the action took place within a mile of where I was living in Brooklyn, NY during the 1970s. I didn't know any of the characters but I was familiar with some locales and I'm sure we had mutual acquaintances.

364.106 Autobiography - Author Pistone's account of his own experiences as an undercover FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the dangerous world of the Mafia. During a six-year period in the 1970s, Pistone adopted the persona of Donnie Brasco, a successful j
John Allen
Dec 05, 2014 John Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pistone is obviously an adrenaline junkie, and probably a wee bit differently constituted from you and I.
His desire to "be the best" at what he did certainly made him into a good FBI agent, spending 8 years undercover in the Bonanno crime family.

He was taken under the wing of Lefty Ruggiero, an aging mobster who was pretty vigorous. Saving Pistone's life more than a couple of times because of suspicions that he was law enforcement, the photo of Ruggiero after the realization that his friend was
Jevron McCrory
Jul 24, 2014 Jevron McCrory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Just amazing!

Forget the film (which is great) but that Joseph D Pistone spent SO long undercover in the New York Mafia and gained such confidences is incredible!

With every chapter, your respect for the man just grows and grows. We are talking COURAGE and then we are talking what THIS MAN did!

It's above and beyond!

It's a very important book and deserves to be read by a great number of people!
Clint Mccoy
This was a very very interesting book. I saw the movie (based on the first book) before I read this though so right away I could see how they differed...besides Pistone out and out saying how they did. In any case, Pistone really had his shit together, and based on the undercover stories I've read (in LCN and the like)... he seems to be the most hardcore of them all... nice work.
Nov 02, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about an FBI agent who infiltrates the mafia for 6 years (yes, you read that right), and it was intriguing. First of all, kudos to Agent Pistone who was willing to risk his life for this assignment. He barely saw his family during this time, and was at the beck and call of his partner, Lefty. And AMAZINGLY, he didn't commit any crimes during those 6 years! To read about how he walked and talked the part of a wiseguy is really fascinating. (Yes, they made it into a movie in the 90's. ...more
Zachary Stewart
Aug 04, 2011 Zachary Stewart rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't really my thing. The writing is quite poor and repetitive, which may be based on its real event sources. It does give some insight into how organized crime really works.
On a side note, it is amazing how much information on the current mafia exists on wikipedia.
Sean Davison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Forsythe
This book claims that the mafia is virtually destroyed. Primarily due to RICO cases. If that's the case then this book really is an insiders account of a watershed in NYC history.
Saman Kashi

در صورت تمایل، جهت مشخصات فیلمی که بر اساس این کتاب ساخته شده است؛ میتوانید از لینک زیر استفاده بفرمایید
Great book and the movie is faithful to the book as well. I recommend reading the book first. The movie is excellent though.
Jun 09, 2016 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible. This guy is an arrogant, self righteous, narrow minded braggart. I ended up skimming over half of the book because it was so boring and repetitive. I normally do not let people like mr pistone upset me, but when the guy keeps saying over and over how tough and scary he is, and yet has lived IN HIDING for the past 30 years, it sure makes me want to call his bluff. But of course that is why he talks so tough, he knows that nobody can find him to call him on it LOL. Anyway if you must was ...more
Angela Reese
May 21, 2016 Angela Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Generally, I am not a fan of Mafia type stories, either movies or books but I was interested in how Joe Pistone was able to fool the mob guys for so long. Also, a big factor was my son urged me to read it and he is usually spot on in recommending books for me to read. The reason I shy away from these books and movies is that they so often glamorize what is being done or they portray the mob members as totally imbecilic and full of self loathing bravado always trying to prove that they are better ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mafia
Donnie Brasco delivers a solid if imperfect look into the world of organized crime. The book will grip any fan of organized crime drama, whether it be Godfather, Sopranos, or true crime stories.

The story is quite a unique one. Donnie Brasco was an undercover FBI agent who attempted to infiltrate the mafia for six months and ended up undercover for six years.

It's a great story because most of the time true crime stories focus entirely on the "bad guys" side of the story and ignores the agents w
Steven Scaffardi
Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia is one of my favourite books. The bravery and courage of FBI Special Agent Joseph D. Pistone to remain undercover within New York’s Bonnano crime family for six years was nothing short of amazing, especially when I consider that I’d probably shit myself within about six minutes if I was in the same situation.

That’s the great advantage of books; you get to imagine yourself as that character, and as Donnie Brasco I got to whack wiseguys (that’s killin
Dec 02, 2007 Belmanoir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down, and I am getting his other two books, the first Donnie Brasco and The Way of the Wiseguy, as soon as possible. It's about him going undercover in the mob for six years, and it contains the SHOCKING UNCLASSIFIED DETAILS of how he participated in hijackings and warehouse robberies and beat the crap out of people. Then it describes the trials of mafia guys that Pistone (Brasco's real name) testified at, talks about other undercover gigs he did, and describes how th ...more
Justin Hebert
Great read for people who like true crime and real-life accounts of the Mafia, but not terribly accessible. Conversations often read like transcriptions, there's a real lack of narrative structure, and a lot of unnecessary details that often bog down the prose. Again, if you really like Mafia stuff, you'll probably enjoy it in spite of these shortfalls, but if you're looking for a more coherent, focused narrative, look somewhere else.
Apr 09, 2013 Landon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe Pistone spent 6 years as an undercover agent for the FBI, working to gather intelligence on the Mafia. Up to that point in time, the FBI had never done an undercover mission lasting more than a few weeks. Pistone's mission was scheduled to last 6 months, and ended up lasting 6 years. Joe Pistone, under the alias "Donnie Brasco" gathered enough evidence to put over a hundred members of the mafia behind bars with sentences ranging between 20 and 100 years. Several mafia members (the ones who w ...more
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