Tough Guy by Louis Ferrante
"I was seventeen years old. I liked girls. I liked fist fighting. I liked to drive fast cars. I liked hamburgers and french fries. I liked playing stickball in the schoolyard. And I'd just realized that I liked to hijack trucks." Louis Ferrante was a young rogue who made his reputation on the streets of New York by leading a gang of mobsters and shooting a neighbourhood bully. Later Louis hooked up with the infamous John Gotti Jr and the Gambino crime family and pulled off some of the most lucrative robberies in US history, many of which are still unsolved.Life was sweet, and most of the time he had fun wisecracking his way around town and staying one step ahead of the law. When the law finally caught up with Louis, indictments came from the Secret Service, the Organized Crime Force and the FBI. He found himself facing a long stretch in some of the most notoriously dangerous penitentiaries, and living amongst the most violent, not to mention insane, criminals incarcerated in the US prison system. Life in jail was gruelling and uncompromisingly brutal, and Louis needed his wits about him day and night just to stay alive.( Despite this, some of Louis' funniest stories relate to his time in the state pens!) But life became more tolerable when, almost by accident, Louis read his first book and quite unexpectedly a new world opened up to him - a world which offered him a sanctuary from the brutal chaos of his everyday existence.During the course of his eight years in prison, he read everything from Danielle Steel to Caesar's Gallic Wars; he learned the art of writing and studied the major religions, eventually choosing to become an Orthodox Jew. And with only limited access to law books, he somehow managed to teach himself enough to successfully appeal his own conviction and win his freedom. Gritty, hard-hitting, and yet so often hilarious, Louis Ferrante's memoir recounts his meteoric rise to the upper echelons of the mafia hierarchy, his time in prison, and his struggle to turn his life around. It's also a poignant and incredibly moving slice of life from the insider's point of view, in the bestselling tradition of Nicholas Pileggi's "Goodfellas", "Wiseguys and "The "Sopranos".