Books: Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy

Wiseguy Last summer while on vacation I was looking for a book to read. I remembered that the movie Goodfellas was based on a book, but couldn’t remember the name of the book so we stopped at Barnes and Noble to look around.

After an online search in the store, I found it. The book is Wiseguy, by Nicholas Pileggi. It took me about 2 days of on and off reading to finish it and I really enjoyed it.

The book chronicles the life of Henry Hill from childhood and his introduction to the Lucchese crime family, to life as a young adult as part of the “crew”, through his turning Federal informant and his eventual enrollment in the Federal Witness Protection program.

To say that the movie was “based” on the book is stating it a little lightly. The movie basically was the book, with a few characters renamed and combined. It was remarkable to me how closely Scorcese and staff followed the book while making the movie. At certain points I had to look at the cover to make sure I wasn’t reading the script!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the movie Goodfellas — its actually one of my favorite “mob” type movies. The book was really fun to read, especially as you start to realize that not much was changed, fact wise, in the making of the movie, aside from the usual collapsing of multiple characters and name changes and small embellishments (“Funny How??”).

Additionally, there is a ton of information on the web on the events and people that the book is based around. I’ve included a few here for those buffs who want to know a little something about the real events and people involved.

This book is really great for those of us who like a little reality dose with their mob movies.

The People of Wiseguy

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