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"I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa
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"I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  3,889 ratings  ·  327 reviews
The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his frie ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Steerforth (first published June 1st 2004)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,889 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing

I really and truly couldn't care less who killed Jimmy Hoffa, but if he's the catalyst for this book being written--well then, cry me a river. Charles Brandt is the nominal author here, but it's Frank Sheeran's book all the way, and is he ever a genius storyteller! Okay, he killed Hoffa, but let's put that into perspective by noting that Hoffa was just one notch on what was apparently one of the longest gunstocks in the history of man. In between killings--or, as he delicately put it, "taking ca
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I had to read this book after I heard that Martin Scorsese was making a $100 million film based on it. The book had a really cool name that humorously alluded to killing a man. I Heard You Paint Houses is about Frank Sheeran, the Irish gangster, who carried out more than twenty executions on the orders of his boss, the Italian mobster Russell Bufalino.

The book is written like a murder mystery. It begins with Sheeran trying to make peace between Jimmy Hoffa (former leader of t
Jiří Pavlovský
I když je pod knihou podepsaný jistý Charles Brandt, tak hlavním autorem je Frank Sheeran. Irčan, který pro mafii „maloval kvartýry“ (rozuměj, likvidoval lidi) a občas k tomu přihodil i nějakou tu „truhlařinu“ (čili likvidaci nepohodlných těl). Prostě práce všeho druhu. Přesto, že je to vrah a evidentně poměrně výkonný, je to rozhodně charismatický, pragmatický, sympatický a zábavný vypravěč. Ve svých vzpomínkách se neomlouvá, nebrečí nad sebou, nesnaží se ani nějak zdůvodnit své činy. Prostě by ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just find mob stories so fascinating - maybe because it seems straight out of a movie, not real life. Speaking of - can’t wait for the movie!
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Frank Sheeran tells a good story.
Regardless of your interest in the mafia/teamsters/kennedy story, Sheeran colorfully articulates life in Philadelphia from the Depression through the 1970's. He describes in living detail the odd jobs, the restaurants, the hang-outs, the entertainment, and characters who populated his life story. Even as an old man he describes the affliction of arthritis better than any medical text.
Of course, it helps that Sheeran was a leading character himself in the fascinat
Geoff Smith
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The story of Frank Sheeran's life up to and beyond the disappearance of Hoffa. I'm not American and the Hoffa thing was new to me. Maybe it was this that made me feel that this book is just too damned long. If a book can be interesting and boring at the same time, then this is it.
Adam O'Grady
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Preface: I'm not a true crime fan and hadn't even heard the name "Jimmy Hoffa" before purchasing this book, I read it to step outside my usual comfort zone.

I had mixed reactions to this, there were some parts I absolutely loved and a number of chapters and idiosyncrasies in the writing style that bugged me to no end.

- Frank Sheeran's account of growing up in the Great Depression painted a very stark and strange picture so removed from modern life.
- His service in WWII conveyed the horrors o
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I received an offer that I couldn't refuse I figured, what do I have to lose (except maybe an unscheduled trip to Australia)? Actually, the book was loaned to me by my current employer...but it sounds much more threatening when put into 'mafia' terms.
Frank Sheeran, the central character in the book, is a murderous creep, known liar and alcoholic, who was apparently controlled by the mafia. Why should I believe anything in this book? Needless
Book Concierge

Subtitle: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran & the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

Well, that pretty much covers it. Brandt, a former prosecutor, managed to get Frank Sheeran to tell the true story of what happened. This virtual death-bed confession is sometimes fascinating, but I could not reconcile the violent behavior of this man (and that of his “friends”). He may have made a full confession and gotten absolution from a priest, but to me Sheera
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book enough.
Kevin Krekling
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
greatest crime story I’ve ever read. masterfully gives a glimpse inside the mob and solves the Hoffa/jfk murders
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, crime, politics
An authentic account from a dying man of his life in the mob, spoken in his own "street vocabulary". He makes no attempt to gloss over what he has done or to make excuses for it.

As a Catholic (by his definition), he forms a relationship with the author who also has a Catholic background. Despite his life of crime and remorseless killing on command even of his best friends, as he nears death, he wants peace in his life. Both have an understanding of confession and forgiveness of sin, and on this
Kat Walter
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Because I ate at that restaurant on that fateful day, the Hoffa disappearance has always intrigued me. This story was interesting for many pages, but then it lapsed into ramblings of an old, dying man intent on revealing the dark underbelly of his life. There were many parts of the book that put things into historical perspective for me, but the court challenges, jail time, union arbitrations etc., were dry and uninteresting. There were certainly no apologies or excuses made for the violence and ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very eye-opening! Best organized crime book I've ever read since "For the Sins of my Father". I wanted to read this mainly because I wanted to know what the movie being released this fall was going to be about. I had no idea what I was going to learn by reading it. It clears up 2 of the biggest mysteries in American history.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Solid as non fiction comes. Street rich and authentic, with an inside knowledge, that could only come from real time in the trenches.
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The real story about the infamous Jimmy Hoffa and his surprising demise. Although the author and the reputed gangster that did the deed don't address the question about where his remains are buried (it isn't in the end zone at the Meadowlands according to this account)the account rings true.

A fascinating story about Hoffa's rise to power as the head of the Teamster's Union, his increasing relationship with the mob who made good use of the Teamster's growing pension fund to build out casino's, Ho
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
While "true crime" is not my genre, I read this on the recommendation of a friend and because I remember all of the publicity about Hoffa, the Teamsters, organized crime, etc. The story is told through two narrators -- Frank Sheeran killer of Hoffa (noted in quotes) and Charles Brandt, the author who intersperses background details.

The book sheds good insight into the character of Sheeran (from his perspective of course) which was aided by the insight of the author through hundreds of hours of i
Sean Owen
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Frank Sheeran was a Teamster official who was investigated by the FBI for all sorts of illegal mafia connections and assassinations. He was long suspected as being amongst those involved in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. In this end of life confession to Charles Brandt he claims that he pulled the trigger in the Jimmy Hoffa murder. The Jimmy Hoffa disappearance is only part of the picture here. What ultimately is more interesting is the picture Sheeran paints of the early days of the Teamsters and t ...more
Rich Jonny's Son
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ir-reading
The book, "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, is about Jimmy Hoffa's life and his mysterius death. Jimmy's main Internal conflict was being convicted of jury tampering and attempted bribery. His main external conflict was his death.

While readin this book i made a text-to-world connection. with how politicans are alway landing in hot water. Like Elliote Spitzer for example.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars. The book has action a
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! After completing this book, you'll be sure you know the real truth behind the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa- and even if you didn't care before, you will now! It's the memoir of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, told to the author over the course of a few years before Frank dies. Not only is it a confession of the Jimmy Hoffa murder, it also lays out in chilling detail just how much power and influence the mafia had (or has?) over the lives of every American, from labor issues to the economy and ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I don't read very much true crime and I actually didn't know much about the historical background for this book going in, I really ended up enjoying it. You get the sense from the afterword that Sheeran didn't reveal nearly as much as he could have, but that what he did was enough. Definitely an interesting window into another world... Also, Brandt does a good job of bringing in conjecture and points from other Hoffa/mob narratives. Overall, would recommend to true crime and/or Goodfellas ...more
Catherine Weaver
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book several years ago. I'm writing about it now after a conversation with someone who just finished it.
The underworld, the Kennedy assassination, Jimmy Hoffa..... The author created a compelling and plausible story. What I really want to know is- how much of this is true???
I would not have chosen the book for the topics covered. I never cared what happened to Hoffa and am skeptical of Kennedy conspiracy theories. But while I was reading, I believed.
Jeff Tucker
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
There are so many revelations in this book that it’s hard to review it without giving something away. Growing up during the depression with an abusive father and then enduring a difficult WWII experience in the army Frank Sheeran evolved into a man capable of almost anything. It’s a fascinating story and it all sounds very plausible to me. It touches on many of the great historical mysteries and conspiracy theories of the last half century. It's a fascinating read.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a tragic but endearing book. The story is about a 6'4" Irishman that went from being a small time crook to hit man to union boss to the man that killed Jimmy Hoffa (his dear friend).

Sheeran did many horrible things in his life (murder, theft, racketeering). I would suggest the worst thing he did was get Joe Biden elected senator of Delaware.
Mike Starkey
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed Goodfellas, Casino or Donnie Brasco, this book is a must read. Brandt relays Frank Sheeran's story beautifully, from his rough upbringing all the way to his deathbed. Whether or not Sheeran really did kill Hoffa doesn't really matter because this is a masterfully told story.
Tom Mueller
Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
A very believable explanation of what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, and why it happened. Bibliography includes insight on the JFK Dallas Assassination, Bay of Pigs & Cuba Invasion and more.
Robin Wray
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Well written, true crime story. Good juxtaposition of author's research with Frank Sheeran's direct quotes. Answers mystery of Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Whoa!!! Great story
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book. There are numerous edits of this book as the author promised Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran not to publish certain things he was told until after certain people died so they would not be prosecuted or hounded by the FBI to roll on others. I understand this decision and admire that his promise was kept.

I highly recommend this book, and that you read or listen to the most recent edition, in my case that is the 2017 edition.

I Heard You Paint Houses

What I learned: What truly happened t
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Play Book Tag: I Heard You Paint Houses - Charles Brandt - 3*** 3 14 Jan 29, 2016 07:21PM  
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“People in those days didn’t display affection like they do today. I’m still learning how to be affectionate to my grandchildren. I don’t ever remember getting a kiss from my mother. I never even saw her kiss my kid brother, or my kid sister, Margaret. Not that anyone meant to play favorites, but Tom was my father’s favorite and Peggy was my mother’s. I guess I was so big, and being the oldest, they expected me to be more grown up than the two younger ones.” 2 likes
“I often said that when they put me in jail in 1981 it was not the FBI’s intent, but they saved my life. They only have seven days in a week, and by the time I went to jail I was drinking eight.” 2 likes
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