“If you only buy one book about Costello, this is the one. Published in 1973, it is so far the most inclusive and accurate document of his life. The foreword by Costello’s friend, actor Anthony Quinn, is worth the price alone. Written by Washington Post reporter, Leonard Katz, who can be seen in the Mobsters documentary on Uncle Frank.”
Top Hoodlum, by author Anthony M. DeStefano, The last volumes written on Frank were from the mid 1970's so this update on the Costello story is a welcome addition to the library.
Mr. DeStefano with Noel Castiglia, along with some of their research. The glass Mr. Castiglia holds is from Costello'S Beverly Club, in New Orleans.
Photographs courtesy of Noel Castiglia, 2017.
The Prime Minister Of The Underworld
This book by Costello's attorney George Wolf offers many personal insights and humorous stories about Frank and remains our number two pick for books on his life and times.
The Rise And Fall Of The Mafia In New York
From 1896 Through World War II
By Giuseppe Selvaggi this is is perhaps the best book about Costello's bootlegging years.
"Best book on the times in NYC when gangs ran the Italian neighborhoods-good inside stuff."
The Gangster With A Thousand Faces
The Definitive Life Story Of The Real Godfather
The Mayor, The Mob, And The Crime That Was
From Capone To Costello
30 Illegal Years To The Strip
Mysteries Of The Mob's Most Deadly Hit Squad
Mysterious Tales Of A Gangland Legend
Where It All Started
The Man To See
and Other Thoughts about the Italians
Organized Crime In Miami
Organized Crime In Miami, by noted Mob history collector, Avi Bash, offers spectacular photographs of the who’s who, list of gangster heavyweights. Mr. Bash is the Indiana Jones of gangster history, and many of the photographs come from his private collection. Costello had quite a history in Florida that is often overlooked.
Like any self-respecting Mob book fan, I rate my modest Mob book collection by my own personal pecking order; the best Costello books being the top of the heap. A close second, are books not about “The Prime Minister,” but ones in which he certainly plays a role. I recently added ‘Mr. Copacabana,’ by Jim Proser, to the top of my books, not about Frank per se, but containing information about what kind of a man he may have been. Mr. Proser is the son of Monte Proser, Frank and Meyer’s go to guy when they opened clubs. The Copa was one of many, but in a class all it’s own. Frank was an investor in the Copa from opening day until 1973, when both he and the original club passed due to heart failure. Monte had long since moved on, but his and Frank’s paths seemed intertwined, and they embarked on many ventures together. Being partners with “The Prime Minister” could be a blessing and a curse, no book describes that relationship better.
Background photograph taken 1952 by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
Courtesy of Life Images. Copyright Time Inc.