Featuring all the trappings of a Scorsese film, this first-hand account from one of Whitey Bulger’s enforcers is “one of the best” insider accounts of life inside the mob (Washington Post)
During the 1980s, Edward J. MacKenzie, Jr., “Eddie Mac,” was a drug dealer and enforcer who would do just about anything for Whitey Bulger, the notorious head of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang. In this compelling eyewitness account—the first from a Bulger insider—Eddie Mac delivers the goods on his one-time boss and on such former associates as Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi and turncoat FBI agent John Connolly. Eddie Mac provides a window onto a world rarely glimpsed by those on the outside.
Street Soldier is also a story of the search for family, for acceptance, for respect, loyalty, and love. Abandoned by his parents at the age of four, MacKenzie became a ward of the state of Massachusetts, suffered physical and sexual abuse in the foster care system, and eventually drifted into a life of crime and Bulger’s orbit. The Eddie Mac who emerges in these pages is complex: An enforcer who was also a kick-boxing and Golden Gloves champion; a womanizer who fought for custody of his daughters; a tenth-grade dropout living on the streets who went on, as an adult, to earn a college degree in three years; a man, who lived by the strict code of loyalty to the mob, but set up a sting operation that would net one of the largest hauls of cocaine ever seized. Eddie's is a harsh story, but it tells us something important about the darker corners of our world.
Street Soldier is as disturbing and fascinating as a crime scene, as heart-stopping as a bar fight, and at times as darkly comic as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
Former mobsters turning around and spilling their guts is nothing new, but this memoir is more than just true crime sensationalism or conscience-cleaning confessional. Instead, it's a window into an inconsistent world created by inner-city masculinity and the innate need to belong. While one-time drug dealer MacKenzie dispels the myth of James "Whitey" Bulger being a cross between Don Corleone and Robin Hood by portraying him as a murdering, child molesting, drug pusher who ratted on his own gang before disappearing, he admits to looking up to Bulger (who went into hiding in 1995 and is on the FBI's most-wanted list) and feeling proud doing his boss's dirty work. But Bulger's story, the essence of evil, takes a back seat, playing the foil to MacKenzie's tale of an internal struggle of good versus evil that speaks to America's obsession with the duality of mobster life. MacKenzie's brutally honest account of a childhood branded by absentee parents, foster homes, physical and sexual abuse and poverty is moving. He deftly walks the fine line of sentimentality, rarely blaming others for his transgressions while giving a chillingly detailed account of the role his past played in constructing his personality of contradictions: athlete-hood, husband-philanderer, role model drug dealer, parent-child, gangster-rat. Presenting these contradictions, MacKenzie's straightforward writing (with People magazine contributor Karas and communication consultant Muscato), shifts momentum like a street fight, weaving between the fantastic world of crime, violence and sex and the reality of their counterparts: prison, death and pregnancy. Permeated with the feeling that the now "clean" author still relishes the "charge" of criminal life, the memoir contains the edginess of a great thriller. Photos. Map not seen by PW.
Not too bad
As a reader with family that live in Southie, the story was fascinating. Know the places talked about in the book, and some of the people as well. Eddie Mac was able to spin a yarn that kept me completely involved in the story, even though he jumps around from time to time making it a little awkward to follow. I'd recommend the book, and already have to a few friends.
Don't buy this book
Nothing but lies. I had to misfortune of reading this book when it first came out and it didn't ring true then, and subsequently facts have proven to it to be mostly fabrication. This guy was a lowlife thug in South Boston and thought he could capitalize on things during the period of time Whitey Bulger was in hiding. The real players in South Boston during Whitey's time won't even acknowledge the existence of this guy. Clifford Irving's false biography of Howard Hughes probably has more truth.
After the book was written, this guy latched on to a Boston based religious community and sucked them dry to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars. Nothing but a con
man. Save your money. If I could rate this book is zero I would.
A lot of bragging about a life as a criminal .