Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld
The Mad Ones chronicles the rise and fall of the Gallo brothers, a trio of reckless young gangsters whose revolution against New York City's Mafia was inspired by Crazy Joe Gallo's forays into Greenwich Village counterculture.
Crazy Joe, Kid Blast, and Larry Gallo are steeped in legend, from Bob Dylan's eleven-minute ballad "Joey" to fictionalizations central to The Godfather trilogy and Jimmy Breslin's The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. Called the toughest gang in the city by the NYPD, the Gallos hailed from the rough Red Hook neighborhood on the Brooklyn waterfront. As low-level Mafiosi, they were expected to serve their Don quietly, but the brothers stood apart from typical gangsters with their hip style, fierce ambition, and Crazy Joe's manic idealism.
Joey aspired to be more than a common hood and immersed himself among the Beatniks and bohemians of the Village. Yearning to live the life of an artist, Joey wrote poetry, painted, and got his kicks devouring existential philosophy. Celebrated as the "king of the streets" by Dylan, Joey was embraced by the city's leading cultural figures as an antihero straight out of Camus.
Here, for the first time, is the complete story of the Gallos's war against the powerful Cosa Nostra, an epic crime saga that culminates in Crazy Joe's murder on the streets of Little Italy, where he was gunned down mid-bite into a forkful of spaghetti in 1972. The Mad Ones is wildly satisfying entertainment and a significant work of cultural history.
In vivid style-part Puzo, part Kerouac-Tom Folsom takes the reader back to a time when the underworld and the counterculture seemed to be on parallel tracks. Brutal and elegiac, the story of Crazy Joe and the Gallo brothers is one for the ages. The Mad Ones belongs on a shelf alongside the best of Breslin and Pileggi.”
Joey Gallo died at 43, though not before leaving an indelible imprint both on New York and on American culture….In The Mad Ones, Tom Folsom deftly evokes a wacky world populated by the sort of characters celebrated by Jack Kerouac.”
You couldn't make this up… Gallo is a compelling character, a sort of thinking man's hoodlum, probably psychotic, but also fearless….His existential flirtations spice up an already good gangland yarn….The real fun of this book is the reader is never quite sure what's going to happen on the next page.”
Goodfellas, Godfathers, and the improbably rise and fall of the Mafia’s most dangerous enforcer are the subjects of Tom Folsom’s The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld. Read it or wake up with a horse head in your bed.”
Riveting, richly atmospheric pulp nonfiction…prose as tight and hard-boiled as any James Ellroy novel…[a] novelistic study of an iconoclastic criminal in revolutionary times.”
Entertaining...Crazy Joe Gallo and his gangster brothers inspired everyone from Francis Ford Coppola to Bob Dylan, and when Joe was gunned down in 1972, New York’s cultural elite mourned the loss of one of their own.”