Title: Wise Guy: Life in a Mafia Family
Author: Nicholas Pileggi
Historical Event Depicted: The Lufthansa Heist
The robbery of Air France cargo terminal at JFK International Airport, at the time, the biggest heist in America’s history; worth about six million dollars.
Henry Hill- The main character of the book, of Irish descent, but accepted into the Lucchese crime family, an Italian mob. Henry is drawn to the life of crime around the age of 12, and drops out of school to become a gangster. Hill earns the respect of the Mafia after he doesn’t rat on them and takes the fall. After he is released, Hill joins the army in hopes to please his father, but continues to maintain contact with Vario. He is eventually discharged for hustling. Henry plays a key role in the Lufthansa Heist. Henry matures and becomes of master of crime; he is thriving in the business until he does cocaine, his ultimate downfall. Henry gets addicted to cocaine and his whole life falls apart; failure after failure after failure. Hill is arrested for his part in the Lufthansa heist but rats on his crew in return for exemption.
Jimmy Burke- “Jimmy the Gent” was the mastermind of most heists; he was an American gangster of the Lucchese crime family associate; who is believed to have organized the Lufthansa heist in 1978.He was also accused of murder(s) many of those involved in the months following. He is finally convicted after Henry Hill testifies against him.
Tommy "Two-Gun Tommy" DeSimone- was an Italian-American gangster and an associate of the Lucchese crime family in New York Loose. He had loose grip on reality, thought nothing of killing men, and played a major role in the Lufthansa heist. He killed at least a dozen men, probably more, and even killed a close friend for an honest mistake. Tommy goes absolutely insane and kills Billy Bats forcing him to live on the run, until he is killed by the Gambino crime family.
Karen Hill- Henry’s wife, born into...
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