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Operation Family Secrets

How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The chilling true story of how the son of the most violent mobster in Chicago helped bring down the last great American crime syndicate: the one-hundred-year-old Chicago Outfit.

In Operation Family Secrets, Frank Calabrese, Jr. reveals for the first time the outfit’s “made” ceremony and describes being put to work alongside his father and uncle in loan sharking, gambling, labor racketeering, and extortion. As members of the outfit, they plotted the slaying of a fellow gangster, committed the bombing murder of a trucking executive, the gangland execution of two mobsters—whose burial in an Indiana cornfield was reenacted in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film Casino—and numerous other hits.

The Calabrese Crew’s colossal earnings and extreme ruthlessness made them both a dreaded criminal gang and the object of an intense FBi inquiry. When Frank Jr., his father, and Uncle Nick are convicted on racketeering violations, “Junior” and “Senior” are sent to the same federal penitentiary in Michigan. It's there that Frank Jr. makes the life-changing decision to go straight. But he needs to keep his father behind bars in order to regain control of his life and save his family. So Frank Jr. makes a secret deal with prosecutors, and for six months—unmonitored and unprotected—he wears a wire as his father recounts decades of hideous crimes. Frank Jr.’s cooperation with the FBI for virtually no monetary gain or special privileges helped create the government’s “Operation Family Secrets” campaign against the Chicago outfit, which reopened eighteen unsolved murders, implicated twelve La Cosa Nostra soldiers and two outfit bosses, and became one of the largest organized crime cases in U.S. history.

Operation Family Secrets
intimately portrays how organized crime rots a family from the inside out while detailing Frank Jr.’s deadly prison-yard mission, the FBI’s landmark investigation, and the U.S. attorney’s office’s daring prosecution of America’s most dangerous criminal organization.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 10, 2011 – While in prison with his father, Frank Calabrese Sr., on racketeering charges, Frank Jr, a former member of the Chicago crime syndicate known as the Outfit, offered to help the FBI keep his father in prison for life ("so that he could get the psychological help he needed" is his questionable explanation) by testifying against him. Now in the federal witness protection program and living in an undisclosed location, Frank Jr. gives an insider's view of the Outfit and how he helped expose its crimes. Wearing a wire in the prison yard in 1999, he recorded his father implicating himself in several murders, detailing shotguns and shells ("Big big bearings. So them will fuckin' tear half your body apart"). The sessions were not without danger; one day his father asked to see a new tattoo on his back and reached for the sweatshirt concealing the recorder. Those tapes enabled the FBI to solve dozens of murders and send top mobsters to prison, while giving Frank Sr. multiple life sentences. This suspenseful account, punctuated with riveting excerpts from the tapes, reads like a thriller.

Customer Reviews

Wish I'd read the cliff notes

I heard about this book when author Frank Calabrese, Jr. Was on NPR. It is very well written and it really takes you into the lives of these people who are all in the mob. Be aware that there are what seems like hundreds of characters and it is impossible to keep them all straight. Don't even try. Also, it is almost 800 pages, and could have been a much better read at half that. But all in all, it makes you wonder if you have ever known anyone in the mob. A high school friend, a neighbor? It could be anyone.

Operation family secrets

Started out slow, but near the end was very entertaining. E Martin

Slow to end

Being from Chicago I was very excited to read a first hand account of what I have watched on the news and hear people talk about. The start of this book was great, I wish I could say the same for the rest of it. A little more than half way through I got bored. Although the detail in the story is great there are some parts that dragged on and didn't seem to go along with the story line. I am sure given his past and the people he knew he could have put better stories i the book. But unfortunately it seemed at times I was reading a high school report that NEEDED to be X amount of pages in order to get a good grade. That being the case I give this book a C-. It had all the potential but failed in the end.

Operation Family Secrets
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: True Crime
  • Published: Mar 08, 2011
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings