J. KEMPER CAMPBELL
“Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, St. Martin’s Press, 292 pages, $ 30.
Authors Martin Dugard and Bill O’Reilly have discovered a literary gold mine with their previous nine books in the “Killing” series. Sadly, it looks like they’re running out of topics to kill.
The reviewer covered five of these books in this space, but vowed to refrain from future books when “Killing Crazy Horse” significantly expanded its scope (LJS, November 18). Nonetheless, the last subject, “Killing the Mob”, caught the criticism enough to mimic Michael Corleone’s famous lament, “Just when I thought I was out, they’re bringing me back.”
Sadly, the authors once again broaden the subject matter excessively to include pre-Prohibition criminals such as John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde and unrelated characters like Sonny Liston and Desi Arnaz. In doing so, the topics are treated much more superficially than in their previous books. A book entirely devoted to J. Edgar Hoover, Frank Sinatra or Bobby Kennedy could have given rise to a more focused effort.
Certainly, the popularity of films like “The Godfather” and television shows like “The Sopranos” familiarized audiences with the organization and methods of the Mafia. Successful actors, directors and producers like Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have based lucrative careers on this genre, and audiences remain fascinated by criminal behavior.