Michaela's Reviews > Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob

Black Mass by Dick Lehr
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Jan 30, 12

Read in January, 2012

** spoiler alert ** The Black Mass by Dick Lehr is a story of an alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob. This novel recounts the alliance itself, the relationships between Mob bosses and FBI agents, and also with the Italian Mafia. Dick Lehr tells the story with exceptional details and first hand accounts of some of the most famous mobsters of all time.
The novel is focuses on the two main figures of the alliance; former corrupt FBI agent John Connolly and James "Whitey" Bulger. The two grew up just doors down from eachother in the Old Harbor Housing Projects in South Boston (more famously known as "Southie"). In the beginning of the novel, Connolly recalls one of the first interactions that he had ever had with Bulger. It was when he was younger, and he and his friends were at a store. They all wanted ice cream, but had no way to pay for them. Then the tough,already infamous, 16 year old Whitey Bulger walked in. Even at such a young age, he was known around the projects as the toughest guy that you will ever meet. Whitey walked over the kids, staring at him in awe. He picked John Connolly up, sat him on the counter, and bought him some ice cream. Little did Connolly know, that same guy who bought him ice cream all those years ago, would be the same guy that Connolly would be tracking down his whole FBI career, and later make an unholy alliance that would end it as well.
Whitey Bulger is probably the most famous mobster of all time. He was born on September 3, 1929. He had ties with the Winter Hill Gang, he worked with other mobsters such as Steve Flemmi, Frank Salemme, and his hit-man Johnny Martorano. During his lifetime, he was always known as a fierce enforcer. He had a stone cold stare that would cut deep into anybody's soul. His nickname came from his blonde, almost white hair. Although known as the toughest man alive, he did have one soft spot; it was only for his mother. He loved with his beloved mother right up until the day she died, even while he was conducting business.
Along with the relationship/alliance that Whitey had with John Connolly, the book also shared stories of his relationship with mobsters of different organizations. Other mob bosses included Gennaro Angiulo. Gerry Anguilo was a memeber of "La Cosa Nostra" that operated out of the North End in Boston. The way that the Irish and Italians felt about eachother were not good feelings. They both hated one another, and always had to be the ones with the most power, to be on top. This battle continued all the years that they were competing.
The alliance between Whitey and John Connolly grew from one being that Bulger would inform Connolly of activity surrounding other mobsters, to one that Connolly was protecting Bulger. Connolly was protecting Bulger and covering up his tracks so that Bulger would never be convicted, and basically never be found. Had been protecting them from prosecution by feeding Bulger information about possible attempts to catch them. The FBI eventually caught wind of this. Connolly was later convicted with racketeering and obstruction of justice. In 2008, he was moved to a Massachusetts prison and is currently serving the remainder of his sentence for second degree murder. Connolly went from being one of the best FBI agents, to a man that is going to basically rot in prison for the rest of life.
Overall, I found this book extremely interesting. This is probably the most interesting Mob book that I have read so far. I found it crazy how John Connolly would risk his whole career just to protect someone from his old neighborhood. He ruined his whole life, and is now paying for it. Whitey Bulger has always fascinated me. This one man controlled so much and caused so much fear in everyone he encountered. The thing that amazed me most was he got away with all the murders, and conning for all those years. I think the question is everyone's mind was "Will Whitey ever be caught?" The day when I heard that he was caught, I couldn't believe it. To this day, I think the reason he gave up without a fight is because he is sick. Before he dies, the only thing I want to hear is what his voice sounds like. I need to put a voice to his face. I just want to hear him speak, and tell his side of this very famous story.
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message 1: by David (new)

David Ambrose A-. Well, if you're fascinated with Whitey Bulger, I'd say you found the right book for you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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