Page 14 - The Michigan Daily - Sunday, July 22, 1984
A Man of Honor
by Joseph Bonanno with
Pocket Books 400 pg. $3.95
With scenes of the movie, The God-
father, still flickering in my mind, I
picked up A Man of Honor; the new
autobiography of "the boss of bosses,"
Joseph Bonanno. For those of you who
aren't into organized crime, Bonanno
was the Godfather of one of the five
notorious "families" of New York in the
The back cover of the book is lavishly
adorned with praise for the book's con-
tents. "Ripping away organized
crime's shroud, Joe Bananno, the most
powerful crime lord of our time, ex-
poses the innermost secrets of the God-
Oooh-an autobiography of a Crime
Lord! Ripping away all sorts of
shrouds of secrecy, too!! Without fur-
ther hesitation, I plunged "into the sin-
siter intrigues of a hidden nation of vast
money and immense power-full of,
bloody violence and sudden death"!
The book begins with a telling of
Bonanno's childhood in Castellammare
del Golfo, at Sicily's western tip. It is
here that Bonanno introduces what will
become the major theme of the book,
and one which he will continually harp
upon for 392 pages. That is the "honor"
of the Castellammare. The uncom-
promising code of ethics that the men of
his "tradition" follow. This code of
honor expounds above all an unswer-
ving loyalty to one's family. If someone
insults either you or your family's
honor, Bonanno's "tradition" expects
you to get even; either by procuring a
public apology, or by making sure he'll
never insult anybody again.
Along these lines, Bonanno also ex-
plains in the second chapter that the
term "mafiosa" actually means
spirited, brave, keen, vibrant, and
alive. He claims throughout the book
that the puiblic's image of the mafia is
false and misleading-the people of
America simply don't understand the
Sicilian immigrants' "tradition."
Bonanno explains that what seemed to
the public to be gangland wars in the
'30s were actually nothing but innocent
feuds between opposing families.
In the second part of the book ... oh,
excuse me a second, I've got a
"Hello? Yes, this is. Yes, as a matter
of fact, I'm writing my review of it right
now. What?! Listen, Mr. Leone, I don't
know who you're used to dealing with,
but this humble reporter cannot be
bought! 'Good day!"
Jeez, the nerve of that guy, trying to
bribe me into writing a good review!
As I was saying, the second part of
the book describes Bonanno's rise to
power in New York's underworld. This
is by far the most interesting part of the
book. He relates his relationship with
such notorious gangsters as Lucky
Luciano, Frank Costello, and even Al
Copone. He doesn't divulge as much in-
formation as I had expected, but there's
still plenty to savor. You get an in-
sider's view (albeit a very one-sided
view) of how and why the New York
crime establishment functioned.
(Knock-Knock) Now who could
that be knocking on my door?
"Hello-can I help you guys? I do you
a favor and you do me a favor? What
kind of favor? What?! Listen, Antonio,
like I told your friend-I can't be
bought! Now, if you'll excuse me...
Well, it's getting late - I'd better wind
up this review. The last three -parts of
the book (about 200 pages) are an anti-
climatic finish to the book. They tell of
Bonanno's life, just before, during, and
after his retirement as Godfather of his
"family." He goes on and on about how
degraded his "tradition" had become in
America during the '50s, '60s, and '70s.
He also goes into repreated and boring
detail of how the FBI and other law-
enforcement organizations continually
hounded (poor, innocent) him during
his later years in Arizona.
Joseph Bonnano, one of the New York mafia's "top Bonnanos" during the
'30s, thinks you're going to like his new book, 'A Man of Honor,'
Gee, I'm having trouble keeping chameleon! Decapitated by a Ginsu
my eyes open. I'll finish this knife!Argh!!!
tomorrow. I'm going straight to But I still won't do it. You hear
bed. me, Joe?Istill won't give your book
Ahh, I love climbing between a good review! I don't care what
nice, cool sheets and . . . yuck! you do to me, I'll ...
What's this wet feeling by my feet? -Mark Kulkis
Oh no! Yahhh! My poor
People in the news
From The Associated Press
With a little help from his friends-and pals of
Quincy Jones as well - Frank Sinatra is about to hit
Though a world premiere date has yet to be set, a
spokeswoman says the video of Sinatra's new single,
"L.A. Is My Lady," will debut on the cable music
channel, MTV: Music Television, July 28 in time for
the start of the Summer Olympics.
The laid-back tribute to the City of Angels will be
something of a departure from MTV's usual diet of
rock and pop, and it will have plenty of star-watcher
Appearing in the video with Sinatra will be Mayor
Tom Bradley; actresses Jane Fonda and Dyan Can-
non; actor-crooner Dean Martin; pop stars Donna
Summer, LaToya Jackson, Michael McDonald and
James Ingram; "General Hospital" heartthrob Jack
Wagner; author Alex Haley; Los Angeles Dodgers
manager Tommy Lasorda -and pitcher Fernando
Valenzuela, plus rock bands Van Halen and Missing
Quincy Jones, producer of both the record and the
video, will appear, as will his wife, former "Mod
Squad" star Peggy Liptin Jones, who co-wrote the
song with Oscar-winning composers Marilyn and
Back at work
Director Peter Bogdanovich, who hasn't made a
film since the 1980 murder of his actress-girlfriend,
Dorothy Stratten, is back at work on Mask, a movie
Bogdanovich spent most of the last four years
writing a book about his relationship with Stratten
and the events that led to the former Playboy
Playmate's death. Called The Killing of the Unicorn,
it is to be released Aug. 15, the fourth anniversary of
Stratten's shooting death at the hands of her husband,
In the interim, two screen versions of the Stratten
story have been released-one a TV movie starring
Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bob Fosse's feature movie,
Star 80. Bogdonovich disliked both.
I never thought the movie would work, and it
didn't," he said. "It wasn't a true story, after all.
That wasn't me in the picture; it wasn't Playboy
publisher Hugh Hefner; it wasn't Dorothy,"
Bogdanovich said he hasn't missed filmmaking
that much, and that Mask-the story of a young man
whose features harden due to an accumulation of
calcium in the head-was "the first thing I've wanted
to do in a long time."
Do it yourself
Is your "moonwalk" something short of Michael
Jackson's? Do you want to learn "poppin',"
"lockin' " and "breakin' " without lingerin' on inner
A new K-Tel videocassette promises to initiate you
into the mysteries of break dancing in the privacy of
your own home.
"Breakdancing--You Can Do It" was filmed in a
dance studio rather than outdoors because its young
instructor, "Soul Train" regular Odis Medley, feels
his art has been associated mistakenly with street life
rather than other forms of dance.
Medley, who has taught such celebrities as Al
Jarreau, Thelma Houston and Magic Johnson and
has appeared in a number of films, TV shows and
video clips including Jackson's 'Thriller," also says
break dancing's components are not new but have
been around for eight or nine years.
The videocassette, which uses footage from the
film, Breakin' is practical as well as instructive, with
advice on such safety precautions as padding.
Promptness may be a virtue, but a director's
speedy work apparently cost Richard Pryor a chance
to converse with royalty.
Princess Anne of Great Britain was to have met
Pryor on the set of his new film, Brewster's Millions,
when she stopped by Universal Studios during her
recent visit to Los Angeles.
But director Walter Hill, working ahead of
schedule, had on a previous day completed the scene
the princess was to have viewed.
Instead, she met with Pryor's co-star, John Can-
dy-and by at least one account was not overly
distressed by Pryor's absence.
"I don't think she even knows who Richard Pryor
is," said an observer. "I'm sure she was much more
excited at meeting John Candy, who's a Canadian