WHITEY by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill

On a day when the US Senate has bowed to the pressure of the NRA and turned its back on making our world a little safer I find it apropos to review a book that deals in part with gun running and murder. I am not going to suggest that these esteemed politicians are in any way are as morally corrupt as some have suggested in the media, but when first responders in Boston run toward an explosion to save people, can’t our elected officials take “the risk” of opposing the NRA and do what is right and is supported by 90% of the American people, in addition to over 80% of NRA members…..come on, get real, they could not pass a watered down bill to enhance background checks that still makes it illegal to create a national gun data base! Now that I have had my rant here is an interesting book;

In Black Mass Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill recounted the deal between James “Whitey” Bolger and FBI agent John Connolly that resulted in the unprecedented relationship that saw the nation’s leading law enforcement agency in bed with Boston’s Irish mob leader. In their new book WHITEY, Lehr and O’Neill cover similar material in the context of a biography of Bolger bringing the story up to his arrest in 2011 and the onset of his prosecution in federal court. The book is well researched and rests on strict documentation enhanced by numerous interviews. The entire gamut of Bolger’s life, from his beginnings in crime in “Southie,” through his nine year imprisonment, and emergence as the top crime boss in Boston whose tentacles reached throughout New England and further south is presented. Bolger’s relationships with loan sharks, drug runners, hit men, etc. are discussed in detail as are his relationships with his own family and women. What is especially interesting are the author’s attempts to analyze Bolger and his criminal mind and behavior attributing it to his relationship with his father and other causes. Also of interest is his relationship with his brother Billy who presents himself as the epitome of the law abiding politician, educator, and family man, but based on his actions he should probably have been prosecuted for base his work behind the scenes in support of his brother. Another startling angle deals with John McCormack, a Boston Congressman, who later became Speaker of the House of Representatives during the John Administration who worked the levers of power to assist Bolger during his prison stay and ultimate release. The book reads like a crime novel, but in the end it is the true story of an unrepentant murderer who ruined the lives of many and dominated the Boston crime scene for decades.

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