Post by pimpinainteasy on Nov 20, 2017 15:27:03 GMT
my review of the book I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES on which THE IRISHMAN is based. i read it recently.
I had to read this book after I heard that Martin Scorsese was making a $100 million film based on it. The book had a really cool name that humorously alluded to killing a man. I Heard You Paint Houses is about Frank Sheeran, the Irish gangster, who carried out more than twenty executions on the orders of his boss, the Italian mobster Russell Bufalino.
The book is written like a murder mystery. It begins with Sheeran trying to make peace between Jimmy Hoffa (former leader of the Teamsters – an American labor union that represented the interests of blue collar workers) and his boss Russell Bufalino (the most powerful Italian crime boss in America). Bufalino and the rest of the Italian mob are angry with Hoffa after he threatens to expose how money from the Teamster pension fund was being loaned out to Italian mob bosses at very low and at times, zero interest rates. Sheeran has done jobs for both Bufalino and Hoffa. He is caught between the two men whom he respects most in his life.
After the tense beginning, the book goes back in time to capture Sheeran’s life - his childhood and teenage years growing up as a devout catholic during the great depression, his youth working in a carnival, his 411 days of service during World War 2 where he carried out executions of many captured German soldiers, his gradual entry into the Italian mob and climb up its rungs after the great war and his days as an official in the Teamsters union. You could say Sheeran’s early life was picaresque. But the second world war changed him forever.
The chapter where Sheeran travels by helicopter to carry out the most important hit of his life is pulsating and takes the book to another level. But the rather long account of Jimmy Hoffa’s trial and incarceration, peppered with many characters that I had a tough time keeping track of, prevented me from giving a five-star rating to this fine true-crime thriller. Also, the author makes some wild conclusions about the role of the mob in the Kennedy assassination in the book’s final chapter. Charles Brandt believes that the Kennedy assassination was a present by the Genovese family to the rest of the Italian mob. The Genovese family was made to look bad after one of its soldiers – Joseph Valachi (Charles Bronson made an average film based on this guy’s life) talked to the authorities. To save face, they ordered a hit on the president who had betrayed the mob in Cuba and whose brother Robert was making life very tough for them. Of course, the Kennedy assassination is not the main event in this book. I will not spoil it for other readers.
This is a very entertaining book. It is told in first person and Sheeran’s voice is candid while describing his adventures and respectful when he talks about the two men who shaped his life. Like Nicholas Pileggi’s Wise Guy/Goodfellas, the author Charles Brandt often explains the milieu or an important event before letting Sheeran talk. He also makes certain conclusions after each chapter, that explains his own point of view about a certain happening. Brandt is very much a man of the law and expresses his admiration for Robert Kennedy’s open war against the mob and Jimmy Hoffa. An interesting aspect of the book is its confessional nature. Sheeran felt guilty about some of the things that he had done in his life. As a staunch Catholic, he felt like he had to confess in his old age. He opened his heart to Brandt, a lawyer who had got him out of jail.
Post by pimpinainteasy on Nov 20, 2017 15:29:53 GMT
An interesting aspect of the book is its confessional nature. Sheeran felt guilty about some of the things that he had done in his life. As a staunch Catholic, he felt like he had to confess in his old age.
i think this aspect could be what attracted SCORSESE to the book. SCORSESE is a devout catholic. and SHEERAN wanted to confess about the murders that he committed in his life, when he was old. so this film could be closer in terms of treatment to SILENCE than GOODFELLAS. which is interesting, because i have had enough of the sensory assault movies.