The Good Rat: A True Story

Paperback | February 10, 2009

byJimmy Breslin

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In his inimitable New York voice, Pulitzer Prize winner Jimmy Breslin gives us a look through the keyhole at the people and places that define the Mafia—characters like John Gotti, Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso (named for his weapon of choice), and Jimmy "the Clam" Eppolito—interwoven with the remarkable true-crime saga of the good rat himself, Burt Kaplan of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, the star witness in the recent trial of two NYPD detectives indicted for carrying out eight gangland executions. Through these unforgettable real-life and long-forgotten Mafia stories, Jimmy Breslin captures the moments in which the mob was made and broken.

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In his inimitable New York voice, Pulitzer Prize winner Jimmy Breslin gives us a look through the keyhole at the people and places that define the Mafia—characters like John Gotti, Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso (named for his weapon of choice), and Jimmy "the Clam" Eppolito—interwoven with the remarkable true-crime ...

Jimmy Breslin was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was awarded the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. His bestselling and critically acclaimed books includeThe Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight;Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?;The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutiérrez; several anthologies; and the memoir,I Want to Thank My...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.72 inPublished:February 10, 2009Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060856696

ISBN - 13:9780060856694

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Customer Reviews of The Good Rat: A True Story

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A surprisingly entertaining book considering the topic. The Good Rat: A True Story by Jimmy Breslin A surprisingly entertaining book considering the topic. Jimmy Breslin has built a story of the Mafia old and current around the court case against two extremely “dirty” cops in the NYPD. Burt Kaplan, working for the Mafia for decades, is the witness; now in his 70s and tired of prison life, he has turned “rat”. Kaplan is, from the book cover in this version “one of the most devastating turncoats of all time”. The court transcripts have a certain fascination which give great insight into the minds of the Mafia. Everything is run like a business, as is fairly well-known, but to hear it in the words of Kaplan, the descriptions of murder, making people disappear, comes across as just a day in the office. He tells everything straight as if describing ordering a meal to be delivered, or shipping a parcel out. Kaplan’s “voice” and Breslin’s style are what make the story so entertaining. Breslin fills in background between sessions of the transcript with what appears to be the results of interviews through the years. Raised in the same location as the Families, he knew them personally and by reputation. This is what makes the story. He knows what he is talking about and has a wonderful flow between the transcripts and the “normal” lives of the people referred to. He gives us perhaps the most accurate picture of the history from the 1950s to the present of the “families” including their movement from Brooklyn to Staten Island, and on into the final crumbling days of the Dons. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, I thought it would be a lot of blood and guts described in great detail and do not usually read books to do with the Mafia. This book is so unexpected, I’m inclined to read Breslin’s other books on the same topics. I would recommend this book for it’s courtroom interest, it’s historical fact, and it’s entertainment value. Very good.
Date published: 2008-09-23

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Editorial Reviews

“[Breslin’s] writing, like the Mafia itself, breezily transitions from humorous to horrifying.”