Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More bestsellers to enjoy @ your library

Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family by Frank Calabrese

Kirkus Reviews

The inside story of a notable organized-crime prosecution, in which a son turned on his ferocious father.

For decades, organized crime in Chicago—the so-called "Outfit"—remained a feared and mysterious cabal. In 2007, prosecutors scored a huge coup in the "Family Secrets" trial, sentencing several key mobsters to long sentences for racketeering and numerous old murders. Improbably, the process began when imprisoned Outfit member Frank Calabrese Jr. contacted the FBI, wishing to cooperate in order to prevent his also-jailed father's return to
his crooked ways: "I feel I have to help you keep this sick man locked up forever." Both Calabreses had pled guilty to federal racketeering charges in 1997, having run a successful "juice loan" business for years. Amazingly, the younger Calabrese recorded conversations with his father in prison, and the surveillance provided the core of the prosecution's case.The book offers a startling narrative of Outfit mayhem—the Calabrese crew was involved in a long string of killings, some notorious, like that of Tony Spilotro (fictionalized in Martin Scorsese'sCasino). Calabrese Jr. particularly regrets the involvement of his uncle, Nick, a quiet Vietnam veteran who became ensnared in his brother's business, ultimately transforming into a hit man (Nick also turned state's witness and testified). The author still seems bewildered by his father's ability to be simultaneously a loving patriarch, a ruthless Outfit boss and a cold-blooded killer. As with most mob memoirs, Calabrese Jr. performs exculpatory gymnastics in order to blur the extent of the narrator's criminal involvement, and the writing is workmanlike, if wry at times. Still, this is an undeniably engaging tale, capturing the nitty-gritty of daily life in the "crews" of the Outfit. A useful and readable addition to Mob Lit.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

Publishers Weekly

In this engrossing exploration of psychiatry's attempts to understand and treat psychopathy, British journalist Ronson (whose The Men Who Stare at Goats was the basis for the 2009 movie starring George Clooney) reveals that psychopaths are more common than we'd like to think. Visiting Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, where some of Britain's worst criminal offenders are sent, Ronson discovers the difficulties of diagnosing the complex disorder when he meets one inmate who says he feigned psychopathy to get a lighter sentence, and instead has spent 12 years in Broadmoor. The psychiatric community's criteria for
diagnosing psychopathy (which isn't listed in its handbook, DSM-IV) is a checklist developed by the Canadian prison psychologist Robert Hare. Using Hare's rubric, which includes "glibness," "grandiose sense of self-worth," and "lack of remorse," Ronson sets off to interview possible psychopaths, many of them in positions of power, from a former Haitian militia leader to a power-hungry CEO. Raising more questions than it answers, and far from a dry medical history lesson, this book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through "the madness business."

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

Library Journal

Kaku hosts popular-science programs on the Science Channel (Sci Q), the Discovery Channel, and the BBC, among others. He is best known academically for his work as a cofounder of the string field theory. His previous book, Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel, was well received and helps demonstrate how scientific discoveries have changed how we view the world. Here, Kaku looks closely at current research and trends and offers fact-based predictions on how the world may look ten to 100 years in the future. He discusses a wide range of topics from Internet-enabled contact lenses to the future of robots and artificial intelligence. His strength is translating potentially difficult concepts into easily understandable information and exciting stories of the future that can be embraced by lay readers. VERDICT This work is highly recommended for fans of Kaku's previous books and for readers interested in science and robotics.—Eric D. Albright, Tufts Univ. Health Sciences Lib., Boston

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