"Full of astonishment . . . a kind of dark wonder." --Pete Hamill
This is the story of Vincent Louis Gigante, the Genovese Family crime overlord who ruled a sprawling criminal empire for a quarter century with an iron--and deadly--fist. Vinnie "Chin" Gigante displayed signs of insanity that stunned the public, stymied the police and the FBI, and secured his power for decades. Was he really crazy? Or crazy like a fox?
Vincent "Chin" Gigante
He started out as a professional boxer--until he found his true calling as a ruthless contract killer. His doting mother's pet name for the boy evolved into his famous alias, "Chin," a nickname that struck fear throughout organized crime as he routinely ordered the murders of mobsters who violated the Mafia code--including a contract put out on Gambino family boss John Gotti.
Vincent Gigante was hand-picked by Vito Genovese to run the Genovese Family when Vito was sent to prison. Chin raked in more than $100 million for the Genovese family, all while evading federal investigators. At the height of his power, he controlled an underworld empire of close to three hundred made men, extending from New York's Little Italy to the docks of Miami to the streets of Philadelphia--making the Genovese Family the most powerful in the U.S.
And yet Vincent "Chin" Gigante was, to all outside appearances, certifiably crazy.
A serial psychiatric hospital outpatient, he wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in a ratty bathrobe and slippers, sometimes adding a floppy cap to complete the ensemble. He urinated in public, played pinochle in storefronts, and hid a second family from his wife. On twenty-two occasions, he admitted himself to a mental hospital--evading criminal prosecution while insuring his continued reign as "The Oddfather." It took nearly thirty years of endless psychiatric evaluations by a parade of puzzled doctors for federal authorities to finally bring him down.
This is an American Mafia story unlike any other--a strange and shocking account of one man's rise to power that's as every bit as colorful and bizarre as the man himself.
"A great book about a great subject by a great writer . . . a tale for the ages . . . McShane recreates a world that has largely vanished, bringing it vibrantly alive . . . grabs you with the immediacy of a breaking news story and carries you along as if you were living it." --Michael Daly, New York Daily News
"A story that's long overdue. While John Gotti may have been the face of the American Mafia, Vincent Gigante was its heart and soul. McShane pull no punches. A vivid picture of the last American gangster." --George Anastasia, bestselling author of Gotti's Rules
The Untold Story Of America's Last Mafioso
For three decades, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante ruled the notorious Genovese crime family, raked in millions of dollars, and made headlines for his alleged bouts of insanity. Now--after thousands of pages of FBI and prison medical records have been declassified--his story can finally be told. . .
Unbelievable but true accounts of Gigante's bizarre behavior--wandering Greenwich Village in a bathrobe, urinating on fire hydrants, and earning the nickname "The Oddfather."
How his men were ordered--under the threat of death--to never even mention his name. Instead, they were told to touch their chins.
Shocking details of Gigante's cat-and-mouse game with federal officals--even admitting that his insanity defense was a ruse.
The truth about his outrageous double life--keeping a mistress and second family on the Upper East Side.
His kid brother Louis became a Roman Catholic priest, a politician, a South Bronx developer--and his brother's eternal keeper, defending Chin for decades.
How Gigante put out a hit contract on John Gotti for his unsanctioned 1985 murder of Gambino mob chieftan Paul Castellano--and the Gotti wiseguys who paid the ultimate price.