The Last Mafioso
|Subject||Organized crime, gambling|
|January 13, 1980|
The Last Mafioso: The Treacherous World of Jimmy Fratianno is a biographical novel detailing the life of American Mafia member Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno. It chronicles Fratianno's life from his childhood 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 the pair's conversations. Demaris also conducted his own research. The book was released on January 13, 1980 by Crown Publishing. It was the first of two biographical books written about Fratianno; the other is Vengeance is Mine (1987) by Michael J. Zuckerman.
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 at 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, Leo Moceri and Peter Milano. With the hundreds of Mafioso featured in the book, it became an important source of 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, others being Rizzitello and Leo Moceri). 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, whereas he died on February 23, 1956. The book also describes Mert Wertheimer as being murdered when he actually died of leukemia.
- Mr. Mob: The Life and Crimes of Moe Dalitz, By Michael Newton
- Demaris, Ovid (1981), The Last Mafioso: The Treacherous World of Jimmy Fratianno, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-8129-0955-0