SOCIAL SCIENCES

Gotti's Rules: The Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia

Dey St: HarperCollins. 2015. 336p. photos. ISBN 9780062346872. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062346889. CRIME
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John Alite—admitted criminal, Mafioso, and friend-turned-enemy of John A. "Junior" Gotti—tells his side of Junior's story with the help of crime writer Anastasia (The Last Gangster). Junior, who took the helm of the Gambino crime family after his father (John Gotti, aka the Dapper Don, aka the Teflon Don) was convicted and sent to prison, was not a competent leader, according to Alite. Gotti has responded by writing and self-publishing his own book (Shadow of My Father) and releasing it just ahead of this title, with the he-said, he-said controversy currently playing out in New York newspaper headlines. This account tells how Alite first met Junior as a young man and quickly became enmeshed in criminal activities with him. It is framed by Gotti Senior's "rules," such as, "drug dealing is prohibited and punishable by death": Alite shares stories of the Gottis breaking every rule. He also describes Junior as being more into the celebrity and power that came with being a Mafioso than honoring and following the old-school traditions. This is the story of Alite—his crimes, flight from authorities, capture, prison experiences, extradition, and finally his testimony against Junior, whose trial ended with a hung jury.
VERDICT Given the Gotti family's high profile and continued interest, this should appeal to true crime and mafia aficionados.

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