Walt's Reviews > The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath

The Butcher by Philip Carlo
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Dec 29, 11

bookshelves: organized-crime
Read in December, 2011

This was a truely disappointing book on the Mafia. It is more of a commercial for the DEA than a biography on Pitera. In fact, there seemed to be conspicously little on Pitera and more on others. There is also cause to question some of the facts. If we believes Carlo, and the superheroes of DEA Unit 33, everyone in the Mafia is a raging psychopath. Carlo claims that Pitera killed dozens of people; but they only uncovered 7 in his private graveyard? "Oh but he had other private cemeteries..."
I also doubt the veracity of informants like Frank Gangi who killed, burgled, robbed, assaulted, drugged, and exhibited other bad behaviors; but apparently, he was a good guy all along. Superagents of Unit 33 knew he was just brought up under the wrong circumstances, like most of their sources (who were more sympathetic). He really wanted to save his some-time girlfriend from Pitera; but decided they needed a drug-induced orgy beforehand allowing Pitera to locate her and kill her. It was so traumatic to him.
Finally, the reader should wonder at the repetitive writing style that is overly simplistic and full of excessive drama, praise for the goodguys and terror for the bad guys.
I also doubt that Pitera was a captain, as Carlo repeatedly states because the storyline is clear that he reported to Frank Lino, a well-documented captain. Carlo has similar problems with Gambino mobster Eddie Lino, and Bonanno mobster Shorty Spero.
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