printed copy

Top Hoodlum: Frank Costello, Prime Minister of the Mafia

Anthony M. Destefano

ISBN 9780806538693
Publish Date 6/26/2018
Format Hardcover
Categories True Crime, Citadel
List Price: $26.00

“Biography of a low-profile "original gangster" who connected the Prohibition era and the "Five Families,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DeStefano creates another readable, well-researched take on organized crime…Will appeal to readers of criminal histories and tales of New York's political underworld.”– Kirkus Reviews

The definitive book on the ultimate mob boss—featuring new FBI revelations, rare family photos, and never-before-published material . . .

The press nicknamed him “The Prime Minister of the Underworld.” The U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Narcotics described him as “one of the most powerful and influential Mafia leaders in the U.S.” But to friends and associates, he was simply “Uncle Frank.” Who was Frank Costello really? That’s the question Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony M. DeStefano sets out to answer—in this definitive portrait of one of the most fascinating figures in the annals of American crime . . .

Using newly released FBI files, eyewitness accounts, and family mementos, Top Hoodlum takes you inside the Mafia that Frank Costello helped build from the ground up, from small-time bootlegging and gambling to a nationwide racketeering empire. The book’s stunning revelations include:

Costello’s secret interviews with federal investigators—now released for the first time

His private meetings with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover

His partnership with Charlie “Lucky” Luciano and how they brutally displaced the old guard of the Mafia

Surviving an assassination attempt by Genovese Family hitman Vincent “Chin” Gigante

His crime family’s role in the now legendary suicide of Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, a Murder, Inc. member who was about to rat out the mob

His personal involvement in the notorious 1947 “mob summit” in Havana, Cuba

His secret interests, both real and suspected, in Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Manhattan night clubs like the Copacabana

His power over politicians, rapport with reporters, and amazing ability to evade the feds

His refusal to admit his crimes long after he retired—until his death in 1973

Sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing, and always riveting, these are the stories that have inspired American crime classics like The Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos. This is the man who made the Mafia such a powerful force in our nation’s history. This is Top Hoodlum.

Praise for Pulitzer Prize winner ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO and his acclaimed books

“Terrific.” —Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy and Casino

“Thrilling American crime writing.” —Jimmy Breslin, author of The Good Rat and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“DeStefano is a master at cutting through the secrecy of the Mafia hierarchy.” —Publishers Weekly

“Dramatic . . . thrilling . . . tantalizing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“DeStefano’s book tracks the downfall [of] all of the old organized crime families . . . unique insights.” —New York Law Journal

“The best and last word on the subject . . . DeStefano brings the story to life.” —Jerry Capeci, creator of

About Anthony M. Destefano:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony M. DeStefano has covered organized crime for over three decades, including the crime beat for New York Newsday for the past twenty years. His books on organized crime include Gangland New York, King of the Godfathers, Mob Killer, The Big Heist, and Top Hoodlum: Frank Costello, Prime Minister of the Mafia.

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