Meet The Wise Guys – Winning Bets by the Sports Betting

Non-fiction books involving organized crime, I am aware of the Nicholas Pileggi books Casino and Wiseguy but have yet to read them. Ah what the heck, dump some fiction in here as well if ya got ‘em.

My first post is a flub as I put everything in the title section, whoops
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[Clip] Don't try to be the wiseguy in a mobster casino [Lupin the IIIrd - The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa]

[Clip] Don't try to be the wiseguy in a mobster casino [Lupin the IIIrd - The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa] submitted by kimbombo to anime [link] [comments]

@nytimes: RT @MarkLandler: Why Donald Trump sounds like he’s narrating his own mob movie. He “was surrounded by these people,” says Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote “Wiseguy” and “Casino.” https://t.co/6tKqQRFXuS

@nytimes: RT @MarkLandler: Why Donald Trump sounds like he’s narrating his own mob movie. He “was surrounded by these people,” says Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote “Wiseguy” and “Casino.” https://t.co/6tKqQRFXuS submitted by -en- to newsbotbot [link] [comments]

The Wiseguys - Casino "Sans Pareil"

The Wiseguys - Casino submitted by Jnormwave to jazznoir [link] [comments]

Directors who have adapted the sane author more than once?

I can only think of two examples. First Francis Ford Coppola adapting both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton.
Second is Martin Scorsese adapting both Goodfellas (or Wiseguys) and Casino by Nicholas Pileggi. This is a bit different because those were both collaborations between the two, I'm not even sure if the Casino book was out before they started making the movie.
I'm not including franchises because I don't think thw same director doing more than one Bond or Hunger Games film is the same thing.
What films am I missing here?
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The Wiseguys -- Casino "Sans Pareil" (1996)

The Wiseguys -- Casino submitted by g_yore to Musicthemetime [link] [comments]

The Wiseguys - Casino [Electro HipHop|1996]

The Wiseguys - Casino [Electro HipHop|1996] submitted by HalIsSad to listentothis [link] [comments]

Only found out about this group yesterday and already I know i'll be listening to them for years. The Wiseguys - Casino

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The Wiseguys - Casino "Sans Pareil" [5:13]

The Wiseguys - Casino submitted by KommissarBrenner to treemusic [link] [comments]

Looking for a Mafia FICTION book

I'm looking for a mafia fiction book, similar to The Godfather, or the Sicilian, but set in Chicago. I see a lot of non-fiction books based on the Chicago Outfit, but I haven't seemed to been able to run down any fictional books based on Chicago's mob in the 20's thru the 40s or 50s.
List of books that I've read, so there's a baseline to go from -
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Wiseguy

I've seen Goodfellas 10000000000x times, is it still worth purchasing/reading the book it is based off of, Wiseguy? I do own Casino, both the book and dvd, and enjoy both. Figured I would enjoy this other book irregardless.
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After playing Mafia: Definitive Edition and watching the Godfather, I would like to read about true organized crime

I am an avid true crime reader, mostly serial killers and unsolved murders so far, but the mafia really interests me. Here are the books I have selected so far:
Five Families(Selwyn Raab)
Casino and Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
I Heard you Paint Houses by Charles Brandt
Cosa Nostra by John Dickie
The Godfather by Mario Puzo (well, that is fiction)
What are your thoughts on these books? Any more recommended reading?
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Other actors who could have played Ralphie

He was one of the more distinctive roles, on a show that already had many memorable characters. Unlike most of the cast, he was more of a whiny, weaselly, smart-ass shyster type than an intimidating musclehead or smooth-talking old-school wiseguy, but his nonthreatening appearance concealed (when he wanted it to) a scary psycho side. Today I was trying to think of other actors who could have potentially been able to pull off this role, in some alternate universe where Joe Pantoliano didn't exist.
  1. Steve Buscemi - his character in Fargo is a hell of a lot like Ralphie, though substantially less intelligent. (Who else would have then played Tony B. is a question for another thread.)
  2. James Woods - his character of Lester in Casino had some of the same attributes as Ralph, and he's good at playing creepy/crazy roles but can also be strangely charming.
  3. Paul Giamatti - I don't know if he's ever played an evil or scary character, but something tells me he could have pulled it off if he had thrown himself into the role just because of his acting chops. He can do "whiny and annoying" and he can do "humorous and charismatic"... I'm sure he could also show us his dark thide.
  4. John Malkovich - I think he could have knocked that role out of the park, complete with the wig and bald head reveal gag.
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The Wiseguys - A Better World (Part1&2) [Breakbeat / Bigbeat] (1997]

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The Wiseguys -- A Better World (Part1&2) [Breakbeat / Bigbeat] (1997]

The Wiseguys -- A Better World (Part1&2) [Breakbeat / Bigbeat] (1997] submitted by Mear to listentothis [link] [comments]

My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

This is my third list for this sub. I hope you enjoy it.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car. Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How hard is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi schemes in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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Do we really need another Martin Scorsese gangster movie?

Hi everyone
The Irishman will mark the fourth time director Martin Scorsese has made an Italian Mafia movie starring Robert De Niro in a major role. I wanted to take this opportunity to have a look at Scorsese’s gangster pictures through the years, and explore The Irishman’s relationship with the previous films. Do we really need another mafia film? What can the upcoming crime film add to Scorsese’s résumé that hasn’t already been done?
My personal hope is that The Irishman is more thought provoking than the previous 3 films. The most interesting thing for me is the 'old man/aging gangster' aspect about Frank Sheeran looking back on his life. It ties nicely with mean Streets being about lowlife degenerates, Goodfellas about middle-of-the-pack hoods, and Casino about made men. This whole thing comes full circle with the aged men looking back on their lives.
I made the below video briefly looking at the relationship between the 3 main gangster movies that Scorsese has done, and what potentially The Irishman could bring to the table, validating its existence:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2qnx_S0MTQ
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and criticisms.
If you prefer to read instead of watching the video, I wrote it up here:
It must say something about how good Martin Scorsese’s mafia movies are when this director of over 25 feature length films is often only remembered by some as a director of mob flicks. In reality he has only made 3, with one more on the way – The Irishman. I wanted to have a look at the upcoming picture, and see how it could relate to Scorsese’s crime resume, and what, if anything, it could add to a group of movies that already have said so much.
In 1973, up and coming director Scorsese cemented himself as someone to watch with the visceral and fierce crime film Mean Streets, about a duo of hoodlums growing up in Little Italy, where Scorsese himself lived his youth in. What we saw on screen had an improvisational feel to it, like all the mundane conversations, date nights and bar fights were really happening, and we just happened to be there. But the chaos was being puppeteer by a future master, suggested by the way this film was shot and edited. Rock n Roll, long takes, ultraviolence and whip pans were just some of the few elements, in addition to themes of machismo and catholic guilt, that would go on to be staple Scorsese trademarks. The film dealt with degenerates and scumbags, and yet they were human. In some cases they were even charismatic, their lifestyle inviting, but ultimately Scorsese would pull the plug on this romantic fantasy that was the mob way of life, and unleash chaos in the final third of the movie.
The film had a dirty feel…gritty and rough around the edges. It had a feel of something trying to burst out and move away from the piss-stained and littered sidewalks, trying to be something different and to stand out, much like the main character and the man behind the camera. Scorsese had poured personal dilemmas and his own internal conflicts into this movie, and it been suggested that we could see the main character as Scorsese himself in his earlier days. Something interesting to note was the movie’s lack of plot. If you had to explain what happens in the movie in a couple of sentences, what would you say? It’s difficult. Scorsese has said that he does not pay a great deal of attention to plot, in fact he claims The Departed made in 2006 is the first movie he ever made with a plot. Rather his attention is fixated on character. And Mean Streets, despite being directed by a no name starring no names on a shoe string budget, has great characters. Characters that feel real. Characters who don’t move or act for the sake of the plot or sequences of events, but rather their emotions and interactions are the centrepiece of the film, a core element without which Mean Streets doesn’t exist. With this movie, it isn’t ‘such and such happens’, then ‘such and such happens’ and because ‘such and such happens’ ‘such and such happens’. Cause and effect is thrown out the window, replaced with an emphasis on what is said, what isn’t said, what is meant, what is this character feeling, how is this character changing, if you put these two characters in a room together and lock the door, what will happen? When the characters are strong enough as they are in Mean Streets, who needs a plot? Let the characters take it away.
The style in which Scorsese directed Mean Streets, the beautiful marriage of music and images, coarse and jagged though admirable, was perfected by the time he revisited that world with the incredible Goodfellas. Again, the mob life feels entrancing and inviting, and again it is shown to be ruthless and ultimately not rewarding. A generation who had grown up on gangster films showcasing mobsters as operatic and tragic figures, almost samurai like, were given a slap to the face and a gun to the head with the captivating but punishing 1990 picture. Nowhere is the essence of this best summarised than Henry Hill’s chuffed explanation as to why the gangster Tommy DeVito being ‘made’ was such a great thing. The movie lures you in through a combination of great acting, a blissful soundtrack and a genuine sense of happiness for these crooks – no matter what they are, and the things they’ve done, in this moment in time we feel their joy. And then – bang. Out of nowhere Tommy is 'whacked'. There’s your gangster life. See yourself out.
Despite the obvious dangerous nature of the mob world, we can’t help but feel seduced at the lifestyle, reconstructed so brilliantly by Scorsese. When Henry Hill peers down from his windows at these mobsters, as an asthma-stricken and bedroom confined Scorsese must have once done atop the streets of Little Italy, we are right there with him, hopping along with him on this doomed fairy-tale. Henry represents us, the ever outsider, looking in on this world but never really fitting in. He’s unable, given his bloodline, but disregarding that Henry is closer to us than we are to any of the rest of the characters. He shares our bemusement when Tommy, after beating a man almost to death, is worried that he spilled blood on floor of the club owned by Henry, or when the crew of gangsters show more concern about digging a hole to throw a murdered bartender in, as opposed to actually murdering him in the first place.
Goodfellas is easier to be immersed into than Mean Streets, not just because of the improvement of the craft, but because of this character of Henry, who acts as our window into this world where bloodshed is an everyday occurrence. And like Mean Streets, though things seems to not be so bad on the whole, the veil is lifted towards the end of the film. Paranoid, tense, and anxious are just a few of the ways to describe Henry in the last half an hour of the film, and the kinetic and coked-up style the film goes in, accelerating to his inevitable downfall, and the ironic ending. Now the fairy-tale is over, he can’t stop thinking about the life, ignorant to the fact that he should be happy to be alive, not spend his time complaining about egg-noodle and ketchup.
The wiseguys in this film are of a different calibre to Mean Streets, a step up. Where those guys were merely hoodlums, street thugs with dead end prospects, the characters in Goodfellas are a step up. They are the money earners, the guys sticking their head out of the water trying to avoid jail time, a bullet to the head, in the hope of being made and officially recognised as part of a crime syndicate. What about those who are actually in a crime syndicate then?
Enter Casino. These guys were certified Mafioso. The bosses. Pretty much as high as you could go, the very people who would be in charge of the level of mobsters in Goodfellas. The income is better, the power more influential, the stakes higher…but the mistakes made by those in the film are just as prevalent as the low level thugs of the previous films, and in the end it topples an entire empire. The technique and style that was used for Casino was very similar to Scorsese’s 1990 Oscar nominated film, which drew criticism from critics at the time, claiming the film was basically Goodfellas in Las Vegas. With that in mind, I think the film was quite symbolic in the sense that some of his favorite themes, mainly greed, are elevated and bought to the forefront. Henry is touching the waters in Goodfellas, sometimes just trying to stay alive, keep his sate constant, but here the primary characters much like Scorsese himself are indulging in their wants to the fullest. Scorsese was at the height of his power here, and it’s fitting that he makes a movie about the mob at their highest peak too. If the question in goodfellas is why would someone want to join the mob, and how does one do so, then the question in Casino is what happens once you’ve made it, and how on earth do you mess something like that up?
Scorsese said about Casino that it is “essentially having no plot, it’s all about character”, another link to the previous 2 movies. Though Goodfellas is almost unanimously touted as the better film, Casino is not to be dismissed. In fact it touches on things that its predecessor does not. As stated the theme of greed is front and centre, and even arguably the greed of the film-makers and studios for entering this world again after only 5 years. There’s something about the film the screams excess, indulgence and in relation to the development of the characters’ lives, the false hope, the dangling bait that is the American dream. Yes, I always felt that Casino had a tragic element to it. It’s difficult to put the finger on what exactly gets me to feel this way – perhaps it’s the church choir the movie’s opening titles are accompanied with, perhaps its seeing these characters waste away such an amazing gift in life as effortlessly as they received it in the first place, or perhaps it’s just the fact that the mob life, on screen at least, always seems to be accompanied by a sense of tragedy full stop. Crime and cinema has always been fascinatingly linked, going back to what was one of the first narrative films ever made with The Great Train Robbery, which is homage at the end of Goodfellas. What is it about these characters, this way of live that is so inviting, attractive and appealing? I’m in no way educated enough to properly articulate just what appeals to me about these kind of films, but perhaps it is this screen, this camera, this barrier which separates us from the violence and death, giving us peace of mind and allowing us to be entertained, to enter a world of crime without consequences for ourselves, a bit like how going on a rollercoaster ride is like experiencing the thrill of a car crash without the danger, or watching a serial killer movie for the excitement without the fear of death that would accompany actually being stalked.
Either way, what is ultimately tragic, for me at least, is that Casino was the last of the great American crime movies. Yes there were some good ones that came after, like Donnie Brasco or American Gangster, but nothing quite touched the level of Casino. Scorsese never made a film as good as, De Niro or Pesci never made a film as good as. The genre came to an abrupt close, with most modern crime films like Gangster Squad coming and going without any real significance. With mainstream movies adjusting to become politically correct, it doesn’t seem the gangster genre is even welcome on the big screen anymore.
This is why The Irishman is so important to me. It’s another film, despite the cast and director, that never really got to the big screen, instead being produced by the streaming service Netflix. But this film, for me, will act as the curtain closer, the swansong of a genre that didn’t really get one before it died. It becomes even more perfect that the golden generation of De Niro, Pesci and Keitel will return, and Al Pacino and Marty will work together for the first time. The old guard will all slip back into Mafioso roles, whilst newcomer Pacino will instead play the outside Jimmy Hoffa, a fitting placement given his detachment to Scorsese compared to the rest of the cast.
It’s a movie that will hopefully be the most mature and though provoking of the four films, focusing on the days after the heyday. What happened to Charlie after the attack on him and his friend Johnny Boy at the end of Mean Streets? What happened after Henry closed the door of his cheap home off a construction site in the middle of nowhere at the end of Goodfellas. Those periods in the men’s lives were never explored, but here with the life of Frank Sheeran we will take a trip down memory lane with him through the highs and lows. But after the business successes and the flourishing mob connections, eventually everyone he would come to know such as Russell Buffalino and Angelo Bruno would die, and we’d be left with a frail old man looking back on his life, a life in which he is supposed to have murdered over 2 dozen people. This, surely, will be where the heart of Scorsese’s film will be. Sheeran’s real life confession was prompted by a wish for attornment for his sins, which harks back to our protagonist Charlie in Mean Streets, and his juggling of his religious dilemma and his criminal lifestyle. We had the lowlife thugs, we had the middle of the park hoods, we had the bosses of bosses, and now we have the film centred on aging, elderly gangsters, past their primes looking back at the glory days of their zeniths. It’s only fitting then, that a selection of actors and a director known for these kind of movies will portray these characters, all of whom which are also past their prime and thus Scorsese’s gangster resume comes full circle.
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My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

Cross-posting my list from books.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rouge Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car.” Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. ” I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How easy is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi scheme in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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Do we really need another Martin Scorsese gangster movie?

Hi everyone
The Irishman will mark the fourth time director Martin Scorsese has made an Italian Mafia movie starring Robert De Niro in a major role. I wanted to take this opportunity to have a look at Scorsese’s gangster pictures through the years, and explore The Irishman’s relationship with the previous films. Do we really need another mafia film? What can the upcoming crime film add to Scorsese’s résumé that hasn’t already been done?
My personal hope is that The Irishman is more thought provoking than the previous 3 films. The most interesting thing for me is the 'old man/aging gangster' aspect about Frank Sheeran looking back on his life. It ties nicely with mean Streets being about lowlife degenerates, Goodfellas about middle-of-the-pack hoods, and Casino about made men. This whole thing comes full circle with the aged men looking back on their lives.
I made the below video briefly looking at the relationship between the 3 main gangster movies that Scorsese has done, and what potentially The Irishman could bring to the table, validating its existence:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2qnx_S0MTQ
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and criticisms.
If you prefer to read instead of watching the video, I wrote it up here:
It must say something about how good Martin Scorsese’s mafia movies are when this director of over 25 feature length films is often only remembered by some as a director of mob flicks. In reality he has only made 3, with one more on the way – The Irishman. I wanted to have a look at the upcoming picture, and see how it could relate to Scorsese’s crime resume, and what, if anything, it could add to a group of movies that already have said so much.
In 1973, up and coming director Scorsese cemented himself as someone to watch with the visceral and fierce crime film Mean Streets, about a duo of hoodlums growing up in Little Italy, where Scorsese himself lived his youth in. What we saw on screen had an improvisational feel to it, like all the mundane conversations, date nights and bar fights were really happening, and we just happened to be there. But the chaos was being puppeteer by a future master, suggested by the way this film was shot and edited. Rock n Roll, long takes, ultraviolence and whip pans were just some of the few elements, in addition to themes of machismo and catholic guilt, that would go on to be staple Scorsese trademarks. The film dealt with degenerates and scumbags, and yet they were human. In some cases they were even charismatic, their lifestyle inviting, but ultimately Scorsese would pull the plug on this romantic fantasy that was the mob way of life, and unleash chaos in the final third of the movie.
The film had a dirty feel…gritty and rough around the edges. It had a feel of something trying to burst out and move away from the piss-stained and littered sidewalks, trying to be something different and to stand out, much like the main character and the man behind the camera. Scorsese had poured personal dilemmas and his own internal conflicts into this movie, and it been suggested that we could see the main character as Scorsese himself in his earlier days. Something interesting to note was the movie’s lack of plot. If you had to explain what happens in the movie in a couple of sentences, what would you say? It’s difficult. Scorsese has said that he does not pay a great deal of attention to plot, in fact he claims The Departed made in 2006 is the first movie he ever made with a plot. Rather his attention is fixated on character. And Mean Streets, despite being directed by a no name starring no names on a shoe string budget, has great characters. Characters that feel real. Characters who don’t move or act for the sake of the plot or sequences of events, but rather their emotions and interactions are the centrepiece of the film, a core element without which Mean Streets doesn’t exist. With this movie, it isn’t ‘such and such happens’, then ‘such and such happens’ and because ‘such and such happens’ ‘such and such happens’. Cause and effect is thrown out the window, replaced with an emphasis on what is said, what isn’t said, what is meant, what is this character feeling, how is this character changing, if you put these two characters in a room together and lock the door, what will happen? When the characters are strong enough as they are in Mean Streets, who needs a plot? Let the characters take it away.
The style in which Scorsese directed Mean Streets, the beautiful marriage of music and images, coarse and jagged though admirable, was perfected by the time he revisited that world with the incredible Goodfellas. Again, the mob life feels entrancing and inviting, and again it is shown to be ruthless and ultimately not rewarding. A generation who had grown up on gangster films showcasing mobsters as operatic and tragic figures, almost samurai like, were given a slap to the face and a gun to the head with the captivating but punishing 1990 picture. Nowhere is the essence of this best summarised than Henry Hill’s chuffed explanation as to why the gangster Tommy DeVito being ‘made’ was such a great thing. The movie lures you in through a combination of great acting, a blissful soundtrack and a genuine sense of happiness for these crooks – no matter what they are, and the things they’ve done, in this moment in time we feel their joy. And then – bang. Out of nowhere Tommy is 'whacked'. There’s your gangster life. See yourself out.
Despite the obvious dangerous nature of the mob world, we can’t help but feel seduced at the lifestyle, reconstructed so brilliantly by Scorsese. When Henry Hill peers down from his windows at these mobsters, as an asthma-stricken and bedroom confined Scorsese must have once done atop the streets of Little Italy, we are right there with him, hopping along with him on this doomed fairy-tale. Henry represents us, the ever outsider, looking in on this world but never really fitting in. He’s unable, given his bloodline, but disregarding that Henry is closer to us than we are to any of the rest of the characters. He shares our bemusement when Tommy, after beating a man almost to death, is worried that he spilled blood on floor of the club owned by Henry, or when the crew of gangsters show more concern about digging a hole to throw a murdered bartender in, as opposed to actually murdering him in the first place.
Goodfellas is easier to be immersed into than Mean Streets, not just because of the improvement of the craft, but because of this character of Henry, who acts as our window into this world where bloodshed is an everyday occurrence. And like Mean Streets, though things seems to not be so bad on the whole, the veil is lifted towards the end of the film. Paranoid, tense, and anxious are just a few of the ways to describe Henry in the last half an hour of the film, and the kinetic and coked-up style the film goes in, accelerating to his inevitable downfall, and the ironic ending. Now the fairy-tale is over, he can’t stop thinking about the life, ignorant to the fact that he should be happy to be alive, not spend his time complaining about egg-noodle and ketchup.
The wiseguys in this film are of a different calibre to Mean Streets, a step up. Where those guys were merely hoodlums, street thugs with dead end prospects, the characters in Goodfellas are a step up. They are the money earners, the guys sticking their head out of the water trying to avoid jail time, a bullet to the head, in the hope of being made and officially recognised as part of a crime syndicate. What about those who are actually in a crime syndicate then?
Enter Casino. These guys were certified Mafioso. The bosses. Pretty much as high as you could go, the very people who would be in charge of the level of mobsters in Goodfellas. The income is better, the power more influential, the stakes higher…but the mistakes made by those in the film are just as prevalent as the low level thugs of the previous films, and in the end it topples an entire empire. The technique and style that was used for Casino was very similar to Scorsese’s 1990 Oscar nominated film, which drew criticism from critics at the time, claiming the film was basically Goodfellas in Las Vegas. With that in mind, I think the film was quite symbolic in the sense that some of his favorite themes, mainly greed, are elevated and bought to the forefront. Henry is touching the waters in Goodfellas, sometimes just trying to stay alive, keep his sate constant, but here the primary characters much like Scorsese himself are indulging in their wants to the fullest. Scorsese was at the height of his power here, and it’s fitting that he makes a movie about the mob at their highest peak too. If the question in goodfellas is why would someone want to join the mob, and how does one do so, then the question in Casino is what happens once you’ve made it, and how on earth do you mess something like that up?
Scorsese said about Casino that it is “essentially having no plot, it’s all about character”, another link to the previous 2 movies. Though Goodfellas is almost unanimously touted as the better film, Casino is not to be dismissed. In fact it touches on things that its predecessor does not. As stated the theme of greed is front and centre, and even arguably the greed of the film-makers and studios for entering this world again after only 5 years. There’s something about the film the screams excess, indulgence and in relation to the development of the characters’ lives, the false hope, the dangling bait that is the American dream. Yes, I always felt that Casino had a tragic element to it. It’s difficult to put the finger on what exactly gets me to feel this way – perhaps it’s the church choir the movie’s opening titles are accompanied with, perhaps its seeing these characters waste away such an amazing gift in life as effortlessly as they received it in the first place, or perhaps it’s just the fact that the mob life, on screen at least, always seems to be accompanied by a sense of tragedy full stop. Crime and cinema has always been fascinatingly linked, going back to what was one of the first narrative films ever made with The Great Train Robbery, which is homage at the end of Goodfellas. What is it about these characters, this way of live that is so inviting, attractive and appealing? I’m in no way educated enough to properly articulate just what appeals to me about these kind of films, but perhaps it is this screen, this camera, this barrier which separates us from the violence and death, giving us peace of mind and allowing us to be entertained, to enter a world of crime without consequences for ourselves, a bit like how going on a rollercoaster ride is like experiencing the thrill of a car crash without the danger, or watching a serial killer movie for the excitement without the fear of death that would accompany actually being stalked.
Either way, what is ultimately tragic, for me at least, is that Casino was the last of the great American crime movies. Yes there were some good ones that came after, like Donnie Brasco or American Gangster, but nothing quite touched the level of Casino. Scorsese never made a film as good as, De Niro or Pesci never made a film as good as. The genre came to an abrupt close, with most modern crime films like Gangster Squad coming and going without any real significance. With mainstream movies adjusting to become politically correct, it doesn’t seem the gangster genre is even welcome on the big screen anymore.
This is why The Irishman is so important to me. It’s another film, despite the cast and director, that never really got to the big screen, instead being produced by the streaming service Netflix. But this film, for me, will act as the curtain closer, the swansong of a genre that didn’t really get one before it died. It becomes even more perfect that the golden generation of De Niro, Pesci and Keitel will return, and Al Pacino and Marty will work together for the first time. The old guard will all slip back into Mafioso roles, whilst newcomer Pacino will instead play the outside Jimmy Hoffa, a fitting placement given his detachment to Scorsese compared to the rest of the cast.
It’s a movie that will hopefully be the most mature and though provoking of the four films, focusing on the days after the heyday. What happened to Charlie after the attack on him and his friend Johnny Boy at the end of Mean Streets? What happened after Henry closed the door of his cheap home off a construction site in the middle of nowhere at the end of Goodfellas. Those periods in the men’s lives were never explored, but here with the life of Frank Sheeran we will take a trip down memory lane with him through the highs and lows. But after the business successes and the flourishing mob connections, eventually everyone he would come to know such as Russell Buffalino and Angelo Bruno would die, and we’d be left with a frail old man looking back on his life, a life in which he is supposed to have murdered over 2 dozen people. This, surely, will be where the heart of Scorsese’s film will be. Sheeran’s real life confession was prompted by a wish for attornment for his sins, which harks back to our protagonist Charlie in Mean Streets, and his juggling of his religious dilemma and his criminal lifestyle. We had the lowlife thugs, we had the middle of the park hoods, we had the bosses of bosses, and now we have the film centred on aging, elderly gangsters, past their primes looking back at the glory days of their zeniths. It’s only fitting then, that a selection of actors and a director known for these kind of movies will portray these characters, all of whom which are also past their prime and thus Scorsese’s gangster resume comes full circle.
submitted by The_Social_Introvert to flicks [link] [comments]

Cincinnati Weekend Recap

Anytime we go out of town, Reddit is always a major help with what to see and where to go. So, I like to give a little feedback on the weekends/trips/vacations. We try to keep it as positive as possible unless there is something that needs to be addressed. There is too much negativity in life and being from Cleveland, we aren't immune to harsh criticism.
FRIDAY
We got in around 2:00 PM, a little bit later than anticipated. As we do, we drove around downtown, checked out the buildings, baseball stadium, and architecture. I'm an Engineer, so checking out the City is always fun for me.
After, we headed to Mirror Lake at Eden Park to fly the drone. Eden Park is great. We spent a ton of time there this weekend.
From there, we checked into the hotel and headed straight to Kings Island and arrived around 5:00 PM. Being from Cleveland, Cedar Point is only an hour away. We hadn't been to Kings Island since we were kids, so it was fun to see it again. It really reminded us of Geauga Lake - our favorite park from our childhood. We spend a weekend at Cedar Point every year - as well as going 1 or 2 other times per year - and we were getting a little jaded with it. Kings Island provided some nice perspective and it was a welcome change to only wait in 15 minute lines as opposed to 1-2 hour lines. We stayed until 10:00 PM and watched the fireworks from the parking lot.
After Kings Island, we went to Rhinegiest. I didn't realize how big the brewery was. Truth is probably one of my Top 5 beers. We had a couple encounters on the way in and out of the brewery, but as I said, we like to keep these posts positive.
After Rhinegiest, we popped into a couple bars around our hotel for a drink or 2 before retiring for the night.
SATURDAY
The weather was going to be touch and go all day, so our plans got a little changed around.
We started the morning/afternoon with Goodfellas/Wiseguys. What a gem. The pizza and sauces were great and the bourbon bar was fantastic. We loved the look/feel inside there and the food was great. Cleveland is really missing a good pizza-by-the-slice joint.
From there, we walked around that little hipster district and popped in some shops and stores. Hopefully that area can really pick up and take off.
From there, we wanted to walk off some of the pizza and sauce, so we headed back to Eden Park. Through the drizzle, we spent most of the time at Twin Lakes and Chatfield Memorial. We like to take some time and just enjoy views on a bench. I read up on the little historical plaques (which I loved). Once it really started to rain, we went to the Krohn Conservatory. It was a nice little botanical garden and cheap. We ended up flying the drone at Stand Pipe and Pump Station... 2 really cool buildings.
We made our way back to the hotel to get cleaned up. We checked out Sundry & Vice for cocktails before the concert. A really nice atmosphere inside and the drinks were solid. The name escapes me, but I got their signature - award winning - honey bourbon drink? Followed by a classic old fashioned. My SO got a dirty martini.
The evening was spent at the JACK Casino and Martina McBride concert. I'm not a country fan to say the least, but the JACK was nice. My S.O. wanted to gamble... so, I helped her play Black Jack and she did great, she was so excited and it ended up paying for our hotel stay.
We ended the night by going to a bar by the hotel and getting some food to take back to the room.
SUNDAY
We tried to get up early and check out the water front, but man we were a little bit tired. We couldn't get into any of the breakfast places (Hang Over Easy, Tucker's, Hathaways). We ended up going back to the Goodfella's neighborhood to eat. We stopped in the macaroon shop and smore shop. Both were really good. I hope they can sustain.
We made our way down to Smale Park. What a great investment. The City has done a tremendous job with that park. Due to the stadiums and compass interference, flying the drone was very difficult and decided against it. We moved further east, checked out the Armleder park. We were able to fly the drone, but kept losing signal due to being so low in the bowl. I wasn't able to get the shots I wanted, but still got some shots. We then moved to the Friendship park to drain the rest of the battery. Right as we flew, a bunch of movers came to tear down a bunch of tents and chairs... so the shots weren't great.
I would have liked to use 1 more battery worth near the parks, but with the humidity, heat, and being worn out, we weren't about to get as many shots/videos as we would have liked.
The highlights were definitely Goodfellas and the waterfront. We have been to a lot of different cities and it becomes incredibly frustrating to see the development and emphasis on the waterfront. Being from Cleveland, we have Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, and maybe 5% of it is developed. Cuyahoga County and Cleveland has a long history of being corrupt... but kudos to Cincinnati for developing it. They did a great job and really enhances the Bengals and Reds facilities and puts a great face on Ohio from Kentucky.
Your city definitely has a mini-New York City vibe to it. With the street cars, 1-ways, and street signs/lights, it definitely gave us a New York City impression.
Our only real complaint is the traffic. I can't believe all those 1-ways are necessary. It was so frustrating. You could be a block away from your destination, but would take 10 minutes to get there.
All-in-all, it was a fun trip. We got to do just about everything we set out to do - besides have breakfast at a mom and pop diner. We would have like to see Urban Artifact or MadTree, but from the comments, we avoided those areas. Thanks for all the suggestions/tips. I hope I can return the favor (I'm active on the Cleveland subreddit) if you ever head up north.
submitted by CLEstones to cincinnati [link] [comments]

[Discussion] Do we really need another Martin Scorsese gangster movie?

Hi everyone
The Irishman will mark the fourth time director Martin Scorsese has made an Italian Mafia movie starring Robert De Niro in a major role. I wanted to take this opportunity to have a look at Scorsese’s gangster pictures through the years, and explore The Irishman’s relationship with the previous films. Do we really need another mafia film? What can the upcoming crime film add to Scorsese’s résumé that hasn’t already been done?
My personal hope is that The Irishman is more thought provoking than the previous 3 films. The most interesting thing for me is the 'old man/aging gangster' aspect about Frank Sheeran looking back on his life. It ties nicely with mean Streets being about lowlife degenerates, Goodfellas about middle-of-the-pack hoods, and Casino about made men. This whole thing comes full circle with the aged men looking back on their lives.
I made the below video briefly looking at the relationship between the 3 main gangster movies that Scorsese has done, and what potentially The Irishman could bring to the table, validating its existence:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2qnx_S0MTQ
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and criticisms.
If you prefer to read instead of watching the video, I wrote it up here:
It must say something about how good Martin Scorsese’s mafia movies are when this director of over 25 feature length films is often only remembered by some as a director of mob flicks. In reality he has only made 3, with one more on the way – The Irishman. I wanted to have a look at the upcoming picture, and see how it could relate to Scorsese’s crime resume, and what, if anything, it could add to a group of movies that already have said so much.
In 1973, up and coming director Scorsese cemented himself as someone to watch with the visceral and fierce crime film Mean Streets, about a duo of hoodlums growing up in Little Italy, where Scorsese himself lived his youth in. What we saw on screen had an improvisational feel to it, like all the mundane conversations, date nights and bar fights were really happening, and we just happened to be there. But the chaos was being puppeteer by a future master, suggested by the way this film was shot and edited. Rock n Roll, long takes, ultraviolence and whip pans were just some of the few elements, in addition to themes of machismo and catholic guilt, that would go on to be staple Scorsese trademarks. The film dealt with degenerates and scumbags, and yet they were human. In some cases they were even charismatic, their lifestyle inviting, but ultimately Scorsese would pull the plug on this romantic fantasy that was the mob way of life, and unleash chaos in the final third of the movie.
The film had a dirty feel…gritty and rough around the edges. It had a feel of something trying to burst out and move away from the piss-stained and littered sidewalks, trying to be something different and to stand out, much like the main character and the man behind the camera. Scorsese had poured personal dilemmas and his own internal conflicts into this movie, and it been suggested that we could see the main character as Scorsese himself in his earlier days. Something interesting to note was the movie’s lack of plot. If you had to explain what happens in the movie in a couple of sentences, what would you say? It’s difficult. Scorsese has said that he does not pay a great deal of attention to plot, in fact he claims The Departed made in 2006 is the first movie he ever made with a plot. Rather his attention is fixated on character. And Mean Streets, despite being directed by a no name starring no names on a shoe string budget, has great characters. Characters that feel real. Characters who don’t move or act for the sake of the plot or sequences of events, but rather their emotions and interactions are the centrepiece of the film, a core element without which Mean Streets doesn’t exist. With this movie, it isn’t ‘such and such happens’, then ‘such and such happens’ and because ‘such and such happens’ ‘such and such happens’. Cause and effect is thrown out the window, replaced with an emphasis on what is said, what isn’t said, what is meant, what is this character feeling, how is this character changing, if you put these two characters in a room together and lock the door, what will happen? When the characters are strong enough as they are in Mean Streets, who needs a plot? Let the characters take it away.
The style in which Scorsese directed Mean Streets, the beautiful marriage of music and images, coarse and jagged though admirable, was perfected by the time he revisited that world with the incredible Goodfellas. Again, the mob life feels entrancing and inviting, and again it is shown to be ruthless and ultimately not rewarding. A generation who had grown up on gangster films showcasing mobsters as operatic and tragic figures, almost samurai like, were given a slap to the face and a gun to the head with the captivating but punishing 1990 picture. Nowhere is the essence of this best summarised than Henry Hill’s chuffed explanation as to why the gangster Tommy DeVito being ‘made’ was such a great thing. The movie lures you in through a combination of great acting, a blissful soundtrack and a genuine sense of happiness for these crooks – no matter what they are, and the things they’ve done, in this moment in time we feel their joy. And then – bang. Out of nowhere Tommy is 'whacked'. There’s your gangster life. See yourself out.
Despite the obvious dangerous nature of the mob world, we can’t help but feel seduced at the lifestyle, reconstructed so brilliantly by Scorsese. When Henry Hill peers down from his windows at these mobsters, as an asthma-stricken and bedroom confined Scorsese must have once done atop the streets of Little Italy, we are right there with him, hopping along with him on this doomed fairy-tale. Henry represents us, the ever outsider, looking in on this world but never really fitting in. He’s unable, given his bloodline, but disregarding that Henry is closer to us than we are to any of the rest of the characters. He shares our bemusement when Tommy, after beating a man almost to death, is worried that he spilled blood on floor of the club owned by Henry, or when the crew of gangsters show more concern about digging a hole to throw a murdered bartender in, as opposed to actually murdering him in the first place.
Goodfellas is easier to be immersed into than Mean Streets, not just because of the improvement of the craft, but because of this character of Henry, who acts as our window into this world where bloodshed is an everyday occurrence. And like Mean Streets, though things seems to not be so bad on the whole, the veil is lifted towards the end of the film. Paranoid, tense, and anxious are just a few of the ways to describe Henry in the last half an hour of the film, and the kinetic and coked-up style the film goes in, accelerating to his inevitable downfall, and the ironic ending. Now the fairy-tale is over, he can’t stop thinking about the life, ignorant to the fact that he should be happy to be alive, not spend his time complaining about egg-noodle and ketchup.
The wiseguys in this film are of a different calibre to Mean Streets, a step up. Where those guys were merely hoodlums, street thugs with dead end prospects, the characters in Goodfellas are a step up. They are the money earners, the guys sticking their head out of the water trying to avoid jail time, a bullet to the head, in the hope of being made and officially recognised as part of a crime syndicate. What about those who are actually in a crime syndicate then?
Enter Casino. These guys were certified Mafioso. The bosses. Pretty much as high as you could go, the very people who would be in charge of the level of mobsters in Goodfellas. The income is better, the power more influential, the stakes higher…but the mistakes made by those in the film are just as prevalent as the low level thugs of the previous films, and in the end it topples an entire empire. The technique and style that was used for Casino was very similar to Scorsese’s 1990 Oscar nominated film, which drew criticism from critics at the time, claiming the film was basically Goodfellas in Las Vegas. With that in mind, I think the film was quite symbolic in the sense that some of his favorite themes, mainly greed, are elevated and bought to the forefront. Henry is touching the waters in Goodfellas, sometimes just trying to stay alive, keep his sate constant, but here the primary characters much like Scorsese himself are indulging in their wants to the fullest. Scorsese was at the height of his power here, and it’s fitting that he makes a movie about the mob at their highest peak too. If the question in goodfellas is why would someone want to join the mob, and how does one do so, then the question in Casino is what happens once you’ve made it, and how on earth do you mess something like that up?
Scorsese said about Casino that it is “essentially having no plot, it’s all about character”, another link to the previous 2 movies. Though Goodfellas is almost unanimously touted as the better film, Casino is not to be dismissed. In fact it touches on things that its predecessor does not. As stated the theme of greed is front and centre, and even arguably the greed of the film-makers and studios for entering this world again after only 5 years. There’s something about the film the screams excess, indulgence and in relation to the development of the characters’ lives, the false hope, the dangling bait that is the American dream. Yes, I always felt that Casino had a tragic element to it. It’s difficult to put the finger on what exactly gets me to feel this way – perhaps it’s the church choir the movie’s opening titles are accompanied with, perhaps its seeing these characters waste away such an amazing gift in life as effortlessly as they received it in the first place, or perhaps it’s just the fact that the mob life, on screen at least, always seems to be accompanied by a sense of tragedy full stop. Crime and cinema has always been fascinatingly linked, going back to what was one of the first narrative films ever made with The Great Train Robbery, which is homage at the end of Goodfellas. What is it about these characters, this way of live that is so inviting, attractive and appealing? I’m in no way educated enough to properly articulate just what appeals to me about these kind of films, but perhaps it is this screen, this camera, this barrier which separates us from the violence and death, giving us peace of mind and allowing us to be entertained, to enter a world of crime without consequences for ourselves, a bit like how going on a rollercoaster ride is like experiencing the thrill of a car crash without the danger, or watching a serial killer movie for the excitement without the fear of death that would accompany actually being stalked.
Either way, what is ultimately tragic, for me at least, is that Casino was the last of the great American crime movies. Yes there were some good ones that came after, like Donnie Brasco or American Gangster, but nothing quite touched the level of Casino. Scorsese never made a film as good as, De Niro or Pesci never made a film as good as. The genre came to an abrupt close, with most modern crime films like Gangster Squad coming and going without any real significance. With mainstream movies adjusting to become politically correct, it doesn’t seem the gangster genre is even welcome on the big screen anymore.
This is why The Irishman is so important to me. It’s another film, despite the cast and director, that never really got to the big screen, instead being produced by the streaming service Netflix. But this film, for me, will act as the curtain closer, the swansong of a genre that didn’t really get one before it died. It becomes even more perfect that the golden generation of De Niro, Pesci and Keitel will return, and Al Pacino and Marty will work together for the first time. The old guard will all slip back into Mafioso roles, whilst newcomer Pacino will instead play the outside Jimmy Hoffa, a fitting placement given his detachment to Scorsese compared to the rest of the cast.
It’s a movie that will hopefully be the most mature and though provoking of the four films, focusing on the days after the heyday. What happened to Charlie after the attack on him and his friend Johnny Boy at the end of Mean Streets? What happened after Henry closed the door of his cheap home off a construction site in the middle of nowhere at the end of Goodfellas. Those periods in the men’s lives were never explored, but here with the life of Frank Sheeran we will take a trip down memory lane with him through the highs and lows. But after the business successes and the flourishing mob connections, eventually everyone he would come to know such as Russell Buffalino and Angelo Bruno would die, and we’d be left with a frail old man looking back on his life, a life in which he is supposed to have murdered over 2 dozen people. This, surely, will be where the heart of Scorsese’s film will be. Sheeran’s real life confession was prompted by a wish for attornment for his sins, which harks back to our protagonist Charlie in Mean Streets, and his juggling of his religious dilemma and his criminal lifestyle. We had the lowlife thugs, we had the middle of the park hoods, we had the bosses of bosses, and now we have the film centred on aging, elderly gangsters, past their primes looking back at the glory days of their zeniths. It’s only fitting then, that a selection of actors and a director known for these kind of movies will portray these characters, all of whom which are also past their prime and thus Scorsese’s gangster resume comes full circle.
submitted by The_Social_Introvert to Movie_Club [link] [comments]

The Leisure Weekend Update!

So I decided to post this as sort of a brain dump of things I'd love to see in GTAO someday, maybe as a big final hurrah. This is in response to a lot of people who want a lot more leisure activities in GTAO.
Honestly I would happily eschew the next update for a HUGE Leisure Update, combining several of the smaller updates other people have mentioned on here before (i.e the Glamping update).
Just imagine: -Casino open for business!: two new Casinos open in Los Santos! One over at the horse track that we all know and love, and the brand new Clam Casino down near the waterfront at the airport! This new casino takes up a spot where there used to be a big, useless hotel, right on the exit roads to Los Santos, so newcomers to the city can hop off their plane and walk straight out of the airport and into the casino to drop all their hard earned holiday cash on games of chance! Includes Poker, Blackjack, Roulette (fully physics based), and slot machines, as well as beautiful newly furnished penthouses overlooking the city and sludge of the bay!
-Glamping has arrived: Look out, here come the grey nomads! A fleet of new motor homes and campers are in stock at San Andreas Super Autos that allow you to take your home on the move! Those mobile houses can be hopped in and driven anywhere across the map like a normal house, and then parked and chalked at any of the dozen or so new camping sites across the map. When parked in a camping area your house becomes a home, including Passive status for you so you can unpack your cheap plastic tables, folding chairs, and barbecue without any worry of some wiseguy in a Hydra blowing you away when cooking up a storm on your new barbecue or relaxing with a beer with your friends. And don't forget, anyone who wants to blow up your motor home while you're moving from place to place will incur the wrathful penalty of your Home & Contents insurance claim.
-Hunting and being Hunted: Fauna have reemerged in Los Santos! Finally you can swing by your local Ammunation, buy a double barrel shotgun or hunting rifle without any background or psych checks, and drive up into the mountains to hunt and blow the brains out of a buck or rabbit. If you want something a bit more dangerous that really says "Look how tough I am for sending lead through this unassuming animal's head" you can follow up leads on wild mountain lions, wolves, or bears. Still want to show your dominance over the majesty of nature? Load that hunk of meat into any existing or one of our new pickup trucks and head on over to Cleatus' Taxidermy to mount that head right on the wall of your new Log Cabins. With a six car garage and a range of locations from Paleto Bay, to Grapeseed, San Chanski Mountains, and even out near Chumash, there's plenty of variety for the budding hunter or for someone who just want to get away for the weekend. (Now available with optional pinball machine!) If your sport is a little more man oriented, try our new "Most Dangerous Game" gametype, where one team of defenseless players in animal costumes need to make it from one side of the map to the other on foot, before the other team of hunters find them and take them down. the kicker? Hunters are stuck in first person, and nobody has a map or overhead icons. Hunters can also only use the new Hunting Rifle or Double Barrel Shotgun, and can drive vehicles, while Prey can pick up a bunch of new power-ups to give them short boosts of speed or super jumps.
Also Added: -Golf out in the desert. -Competitive Baseball for up to 8 players, or against AI. -Clay Pigeon shooting available from the bow or stern of your Super Yacht. -New extra items for purchase for your apartments or Yacht, including pinball machines, poker tables, and air hockey. -Plenty of new clothes for all sorts of lifestyles offered in the new update. -Several new vehicles including: New Karin Rebel, new '70s F100-style truck, '70s CJ5 Jeep style 4WD, '70s Land Rover Defender style 4WD, three new motor homes. -Two new weapons: Double Barrel Shotgun, Hunting Rifle (w/ optional scope).
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Casino - Joe Pesci's death - HD - YouTube

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