A suspenseful, emotionally charged real-life Sopranos: The son of New York's most notorious Mafia killer reveals the conflicted life he led being raised by a cold-blooded murderer, who was also a devoted family man, and the wrenching legacy of Mafia family life.
Al DeMeo will never forget the day in 1992 when a coworker, a fellow trader at the New York Stock Exchange, taunted him with a copy of the hot new book Murder Machine, chronicling the horrific criminal life of DeMeo's father, Roy, the head of the most deadly gang in organized crime. The moment sent DeMeo into a psychological tailspin: How could he have spent his life looking up to, and loving, a vicious killer?
For the Sins of My Father recounts the chilling rise and fall of the man who led the Gambino family's most fearsome killers and thieves, through the eyes of a son who had never known any other kind of life. Coming of age in an opulent Long Island house where money is abundant but its source is unclear, Al becomes Roy's confidant, sent to call in loans at age fourteen and gradually coming to understand his father's job description--loan shark, car thief, porn purveyor and, above all, murderer. But when Al is seventeen, Roy's body is found in the trunk of a car, a gangland slaying that places Al between federal prosecutors seeking his testimony and a mob crew determined to keep him quiet.
Desperate to abide by the father-son bond, but equally determined to escape his father's dangerous and doomed life, Al Demeo embarks on a courageous quest for the truth, reconciliation, and honor. With the implacable narrative drive of a thriller and the power of a painfully honest memoir, For the Sins of My Father presents a startling and unprecedented perspective on the underworld of organized crime, exposing for the first time the cruel legacy of a Mafia life.
While it's understandable that the publisher compares this memoir of life in a Mob family to The Sopranos, the book stands firmly on its own as one of the most searing volumes ever written about the Mob. (Mafia cognoscenti will recognize the DeMeo name, for the author's father, Roy, gunned down by fellow mobsters in 1982, has in recent years gained a reputation as one of the most ruthless members of the Gambino family, responsible for dozens of killings.) DeMeo's coauthor, Ross (In the Company of Men), probably deserves credit for the fluid, dark-hued prose that surges throughout the narrative, but what really sets this book apart, in addition to its brutal honesty, is its unique perspective: that of a child drawn into a macho world of fear and violence, money and power. Before Albert was a teen, he had become the principal confidant of his father, who was a soldier and then a made man with the Gambinos, picking up payoffs, familiar with wise guys and guns; Albert's involvement was such that only a few years later he practiced, with his dad, at what angle he would shoot Roy when and if Roy needed to fake his own death. There's the familiar other side of Mob life here, too, the wide circle of eccentric acquaintances and the robust celebrations centered around a nuclear family in which mom and kids (other than Albert) floated unaware of the crimes of father and son; but what eats through this book like acid is the horror, mixed with undying love and loyalty, that Albert feels as over the years he learns just what his father did for money a horror that as an adult would send the author into a mental hospital but which he has now assimilated sufficiently to write this painful, intense, unforgettable memoir.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Although I enjoyed reading the good side of Roy DeMeo, it should have included more information of how his father teamed with his associates and discarded his enemies.
However this was a very sober account of a child living in that world. I enjoyed it very much.
Breath taking and absorbing, to the point that you feel that you are Albert and that you have lived the life he has.
Well Written and Compelling
This book is about the son of a Mafia capo. It is interesting and insightful from the perspective of a loving and largely innocent son. I recommend it to anyone who is intrigued to see the other side of the mob guy, as the loving head of his family, who is also deeply immersed in the life of la cosa nostra.