The Last Mafioso
|The Last Mafioso|
The Last Mafioso: The Treacherous World of Jimmy Fratianno is a biography novel detailing the life of American Mafia member Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno. It chronicles Fratianno's life from a kid in Cleveland to becoming the acting Boss of the Los Angeles crime family. Author Ovid Demaris gained the information for the book from Fraitanno himself in the early 1980s, where they spent hours recording conversations between the two. Demaris also conducted his own research and background gathering. The book was released in 1981. It was the first of two biographical books written about Fratianno, the other being Vengeance is Mine by Michael J. Zuckerman published in 1987.
The story begins in 1947 with Fratianno becoming a made man in the Los Angeles crime family, then headed by Jack Dragna. It then goes back to Fratianno's early childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1910s and 1920s. The book then generally follows a chronological timeline of Fratianno's life up to 1978 when Fratianno decided to turn against his crime family and become a government witness. Events covered include his three prison stints, two failed marriages, five murders, working for the Chicago Outfit, running a successful trucking company, and attempts at owning a casino.
The book was a revealing tale of life in the Mafia. It gave an in depth look and the Los Angeles crime family, Chicago Outfit, and Cleveland crime family. Amongst the notable mobsters prominently featured are Jack Dragna, Mickey Cohen, John Roselli, Sam Giancana, Frank Bompensiero, Louis Tom Dragna, Dominic Brooklier, Michael Rizzitello, Frank Tieri, and Peter Milano. With the hundreds of Mafioso featured in the book, it became an important source about the Mafia's history and workings. Notable non-mobsters featured are Frank Sinatra and Joseph Alioto.
Being a close associate and friend of Fratianno, Johnny Roselli life is also detailed (he is one of the few mobsters Fratianno speaks highly of, another being Rizzitello). The book describes conversations the two had about Roselli's involvement in the CIA's plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. Details were revealed over 25 years before the plot, known as "Family Jewels", became declassified in 2007. The book also mentions Roselli's alleged involvement in the John F. Kennedy assassination, but dismisses the notion that the Mafia had anything to do with the murder.
The book, while comprehensive, also has some factual inaccuracies. It states several times that Jack Dragna died in 1957, when in actuality he died on February 23, 1956. The book also describes Mert Wertheimer as being murdered when he actually died of leukemia.
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- Demaris, Ovid (1981), The Last Mafioso: The Treacherous World of Jimmy Fratianno, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-8129-0955-0