WHITEY by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill

Crown publishing
Pub date: Feb 19th, 2013

As I write this Whitey’s lawyers are trying to convince a judge that Whitey basically had a license to kill granted to him by high level members of the U.S. government. You need to know before I go any further, this story is not over. This book ends before the best part has even started which is the trial, scheduled for June 2013.

Whitey Bulger is a legend. He was a Irish mob boss from Boston, Mass known for having made a deal with the FBI. In a nutshell, the deal said he could do whatever he wanted in exchange for information on other criminals. He killed at least 20 people personally and made millions of dollars through extortion, gambling, and the sale of drugs. Going back even further, he did time for bank robbery on Alcatraz. Before Alcatraz, he served time at the Atlanta Federal Prison where he took part in a program run by the CIA where he was regularly dosed with LSD. The true facts of this man’s life read like the darkest fiction you could ever imagine.

Lehr and O’Neill wrote a book called Black Mass, released in 2000, which talks about the deal Whitey made with the FBI and the repercussions from it. It came out a couple years after Whitey went on the run. Before that they wrote a book called The Underboss about how the FBI bugged the offices of a Boston Mafia boss. Going back even further, in 1988 as writers for the Boston Globe, they published a series of articles in which it was hinted that Whitey maybe had a little help from law enforcement. Now Lehr and O’Neill have written Whitey, a detailed account of the life of Whitey Bulger.

This is the first book to really tear the cover off the legend. The facts are all laid bare. Before this, you had pieces from one book and pieces from another. Quite often they contradicted each other. Sometimes what was thought to be true would later be proven false. In my opinion this is the first book you could read and say this is the true story. As I read it, I was able to make connections and sort out all the things I had read before. This book, until the trial, will be the closest thing you will find to a true account of Whitey’s life.

I loved this book because it told me almost everything I wanted to know. But, as much as I loved it, I know there is more to come. The trial will change everything. If Whitey gets on the stand and tells his own story, everything we know and believe could change. The facts could change and this book could be rendered obsolete on incomplete. I know there are a couple of other biographies of Whitey coming out over the next couple months. I want to read the one that comes out after the trial because I want the whole story.

Dave