The Gotti Wars: Taking Down America's Most Notorious Mobster (Hardcover)

The Gotti Wars: Taking Down America's Most Notorious Mobster By John Gleeson Cover Image
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A riveting, decades-in-the-writing memoir from the determined young prosecutor who, in two of America’s most celebrated trials, managed to convict famed mob boss John Gotti—and subsequently took down the Mafia altogether.

John Gotti was without a doubt the flashiest and most feared Mafioso in American history. He became the boss of the Gambino Crime Family in spectacular fashion—with the brazen and very public murder of Paul Castellano in front of Sparks Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan in 1985. Not one to stay below law enforcement’s radar, Gotti instead became the first celebrity crime boss. His penchant for eye-catching apparel earned him the nickname “The Dapper Don;” his ability to beat criminal charges led to another: “The Teflon Don.”

This is the captivating story of Gotti’s meteoric rise to power and his equally dramatic downfall. Every step of the way, Gotti’s legal adversary—John Gleeson, an Assistant US Attorney in Brooklyn—was watching. When Gotti finally faced two federal racketeering prosecutions, Gleeson prosecuted both. As the junior lawyer in the first case—a bitter seven-month battle that ended in Gotti’s acquittal—Gleeson found himself in Gotti’s crosshairs, falsely accused of serious crimes by a defense witness Gotti intimidated into committing perjury.

Five years later, Gleeson was in charge of the second racketeering investigation and trial. Armed with the FBI’s secret recordings of Gotti’s conversations with his underboss and consigliere in the apartment above Gotti’s Little Italy hangout, Gleeson indicted all three. He “flipped” underboss Sammy the Bull Gravano, killer of nineteen men, who became history’s highest-ranking mob turncoat—resulting in Gotti’s murder conviction. Gleeson ended not just Gotti’s reign, but eventually that of the entire mob.

An epic, page-turning courtroom drama, The Gotti Wars is a brilliantly told crime story that illuminates a time in our nation’s history when lawyers and mobsters dominated the news, but it’s also the story of a tenacious young man, in the glare of the media spotlight, who mastered the art of becoming a great attorney.

About the Author

John Gleeson, currently a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, has had distinguished careers as a federal prosecutor, federal judge, and practicing defense attorney. He was lead counsel in the successful racketeering-murder trials of John Gotti and Vic Orena, respectively the bosses of the Gambino and Colombo crime families, for which he received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. As a United States District Judge in Brooklyn, he presided over more than 200 civil and criminal jury trials. Gleeson currently teaches at New York University School of Law, Harvard Law School, and Yale Law School. He lives in New York City with his family.

Praise For…

“A meticulous chronicle of good triumphing over evil…Gleeson manages to make the oft-told tale of Gotti’s downfall fresh with new perspective, insight, wisdom, and humor…. The book convincingly argues that, along with ensuring Gotti’s conviction, other information [mob turncoat] Gravano provided and the precedent he set caused other high-ranking mobsters to flip, dealing a virtual death blow to the American Mafia.” 
Washington Post 

“A useful reminder, especially for Mafia romanticizers, that we’re dealing with sociopathic knuckle scrapers who settle scores with casual brutality…Gleeson, a lawyer in private practice these days, is an able storyteller [and his book displays] keen insights and neat turns of phrase.” 
New York Times 

“The Gotti Wars is the riveting story of Gleeson’s fight to bring Gotti to justice, which spanned years, brought him into the crosshairs of organized crime, and ultimately took down five major mob families. It’s an electrifying true crime story of the Mafia-smitten 80s and 90s, to be certain, but also a vivid memoir of Gleeson’s development as a lawyer, and an excavation of the celebrity culture that turned a murderer into a superstar. Suspenseful and multifaceted, The Gotti Wars can’t be missed.” 
Esquire, "The Best Nonfiction Books of 2022 (So Far)"

“In this exceptional debut, former federal prosecutor Gleeson chronicles his efforts to bring Gambino family crime boss John Gotti to justice…A must-read for anyone interested in organized crime.” 
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Compelling…Gleeson has crafted this retelling as carefully as he prepped the two cases [against the mobster]. His description of the politics behind the scenes and his interactions with the likes of U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr are icing on the cake….Do we need yet another book on Gotti? Gleeson answers the question with a resounding yes.”
Library Journal (starred review)

"A memoir from the federal prosecutor who took down the “Teflon Don” 30 years ago…Gleeson is a thorough writer…[The Gotti Wars] offers a realistic portrait of how big cases are pieced together."
Kirkus Reviews

“Spellbinding...tells us in electrifying detail how the good guys finally won, how justice triumphed over evil, and how Gleeson himself was transformed by his long war.” 
Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of The Gold Coast and Wild Fire 

“Vivid, evocative, and genuinely suspenseful…An impressively detailed account of what it was like in the late 80’s and early 90’s to be chasing a flashy, dangerous mobster who had morphed into a pop culture icon…. John Gleeson is one of the most gifted prosecutors ever to match up against the Mafia.  As I should have guessed, he is also an immensely gifted storyteller.” 
Mary Jo White, former Chair of the SEC, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and former Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York 

“Unflinchingly honest…contains moments that are both frightening and funny. I covered the rise and fall of John Gotti for seven years—through three trials and a dozen murders. I thought I knew this story inside and out, but this book shows I was mistaken. As John Gleeson tells the full story of how he built his ironclad case, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in the room where it happened—with the same nerve-jangling anticipation of how it will all turn out.”  
John Miller, former co-anchor of 20/20 and, currently, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the NYPD  

“A unique unveiling of the prosecutorial strategy that vanquished the American Mafia's most exalted late 20th century gangster. As a bonus, Gleeson offers candid views of the skills and shortcomings of his main opponents: the Teflon Don's battery of mob lawyers. Perhaps from his former perch on the bench his next book should pinpoint the frailties of our creaky criminal-justice system.”   
Selwyn Raab, New York Times bestselling author of The Five Families   
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982186920
ISBN-10: 1982186925
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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