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Book Reviews

The Mad Ones

Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

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Readers love the gore and unnerving realism of true crime, and have clamored for the sub-genre for decades, in hopes of glimpsing a gruesome world just beyond their own. True crime promises to shock with its sensationalism, but it also offers a credible account of the risqu, the appalling, and the distressing. In this regard, The Mad Ones never fails to satisfy.

A startling read from author Tom Folsom, The Mad Ones offers a colorful treatment of the infamous rise and fall of the Gallo brothers. Folsom writes with the authority, swagger, and flavor of a true insider-or at the very least, a low-level Mafioso-in this enthralling tale of power, blood, and glory.

Crazy Joe, Kid Blast, and Larry Gallo are painted in vivid fashion with all of the fierceness, quirkiness, and utter contradictions of the three. The book opens with the captivating funeral of Joe Gallo, and is laced with news articles that function as snapshots in time. It is a bona fide treat with its depictions of beat downs, takeovers, and mob hits. It is replete with all the flourish and colorful language of a narrator who was there for it all.

Though the story is a familiar one, Folsom gives the topic a fresh treatment. Forever committed to legendary status by Bob Dylans “Joey” and The Godfather trilogy, the Gallo brothers are chronicled in style. From the humble beginnings of bottom-rung Mafioso, to Crazy Joes rise as an anti-hero of legendary proportions, and up to and following Joeys inevitable murder, The Mad Ones brims with dialogue and imagery. Everything from off-the-rack zoot suits and Mafia-style reasoning to Jimmy Hoffa and ice cream malts conjures a time, place, and style that fit the legend. Folsoms portrayal of the Gallo brothers promises to be a definitive source and starting place for future depictions of this still stunning true crime story.

Tom Folsom is a writer, director, and producer of television documentaries for A&E and Showtime, and the co-author of Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of Heroins Teflon Don, written with its subject, drug kingpin Nicky Barnes. He is also the author of The Uncommon Wisdom of JFK: A Portrait in His Own Words.

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author provided free copies of his/her book to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love and make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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