Whitey Bulger

  • by Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy
  • Narrated by James Colby
  • 15 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Raised in a South Boston housing project, James "Whitey" Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow Whitey’s extraordinary criminal career - from teenage thievery to bank robberies to the building of his underworld empire and a string of brutal murders.
It was after a nine-year stint in Alcatraz and other prisons that Whitey reunited with his brother William "Billy" Bulger, who was soon to become one of Massachusetts’s most powerful politicians. He also became reacquainted with John Connolly, who had grown up around the corner from the Bulgers and was now - with Billy’s help - a rising star at the FBI. Once Whitey emerged triumphant from the bloody Boston gang wars, Connolly recruited him as an informant against the Mafia. Their clandestine relationship made Whitey untouchable; the FBI overlooked gambling, drugs, and even homicide to protect their source. Among the close-knit Irish community in South Boston, nothing was more important than honor and loyalty, and nothing was worse than being a rat. Whitey is charged with the deaths of 19 people killed over turf, for business, and even for being informants; yet to this day he denies he ever gave up his friends or landed anyone in jail.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not Quite the Master Criminal of Lore

It took me half a year to listen my way through Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy's "Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him To Justice" (2012). I was just plain out-and-out bored by the exhaustive detail - but intrigued enough to keep listening. James Colby's narration was perfect Boston and Irish, so that wasn't the problem. The problem: well, once you set aside the horrific crimes, Whitey was just a parochial, unimaginative businessman. Early on, he found a way to make money and kept doing basically the same thing over and over - extortion - until he was forced to stop.

Business is a way of creating a lasting empire. Walter Isaacson wrote the acclaimed, authorized biography "Steve Jobs" in 2011 in detail as minute as Cullen and Murphy did, but Bulger is no Jobs. Jobs literally changed the way people think with Apple. Bill Gates Microsoft is important, but Gates' crowning achievement is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with its fight against endemics like malaria and Ebola. Whitey made his own run at the world order by funding arms shipments to the Irish Republican Army, but funding a war? Immortality without morality is an empty construct.

Whitey's kingdom was geographically limited to 'Southie' (South Boston) and the FBI. Whitey probably had more control over good portions of the FBI from 1987 - 1993 than its director, William Sessions, did. Whitey was an informant who operated his criminal enterprise with impunity while the FBI focused on taking down the Mafia. Actually, impunity isn't the right word. Immunity? Assistance? Encouragement?

Whitey's connections were impeccable - his brother, Bill Bulger, was the Massachusetts Senate President. Brother Jack was highly placed in the state court system. When Whitey was eventually indicted, the entire family stuck together. Loyalty had it's cost: Bill lost his job, and Jack his hard earned government pension. Whitey remained a fugitive while his brothers lost what they'd spent their lives working for.

Whitey and his long-time companion, Catherine Greig were finally captured, after a decade 'on the lam', in a rent controlled apartment in Santa Monica in 2011. They lived the lives of quiet retirees, careful with their money, and kind to their neighbors. The contrast was stark, and the complete change from blatant extortionist to pensioner on a limited income is why they hid in plain sight for so long.

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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""

Bored and couldn't get into it.

What would have made Whitey Bulger better?

I'm not sure what would have made this book better, but I consistently lost interest. I tried and tried to get through this book but just couldn't.

Has Whitey Bulger turned you off from other books in this genre?

This book has turned me off of other books in this genre, unfortunately.

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- Michelle "Just started listening to audiobooks and have found I really love them! I mostly listen when I run/walk but am now adding other activities."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-23-2013
  • Publisher: Recorded Books