Friday, 12 October 2012

JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula (2nd Impression)

HardCover: ISBN 978-1450-20639-6 ($30.95)
SoftCover: ISBN 978-1450-20637-2 ($20.95)
Genre: True Crime / Boxing
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 274

More than just a book about boxing, Ade Makinde's JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula, is a portrait of the social and cultural mores of the tough working class, Catholic-dominant environs of 1960s Jersey City where the Mafia was an all pervading presence.

The story of the hard-punching, charismatic but flawed Frankie DePaula encapsulates the romantic toughness as well as the destructive underbelly of the first city of 'The Garden State.'

Hailing from the tough Westside section of Jersey City, Frankie DePaula appeared to be a phenomenon in the making when he stopped all of his opponents’ en route to claiming a Golden Gloves title in 1962. That Frankie failed to establish a boxing legacy befitting of one imbued with his natural physical endowments and punching talent is one of the largely unsung tragedies of the fight game.

Here for the first time, Adeyinka Makinde, author of the definitive biography of boxing immortal Dick Tiger, tells the remarkable story of a man seemingly possessed of a force of nature; a charismatic pied piper of Jersey City who sold out arenas and inspired such devotion from fans that some were willing to bet their houses on him being victorious. Frank Sinatra sat ringside at several of his bouts, while Frankie Valli and Joe Namath were close friends. But Frankie was also a man whose character flaws would lead him to an early grave.

The book explores the controversial aspects of his life and career including:

. The rumors that his 1969 fight with Bob Foster for the world’s light heavyweight championship was fixed

. His involvement in a notorious $80,000 heist of electrolytic copper

. The precipitous death of his first manager, Pat Amato, whose role was inherited by Mob front man Gary Garafola

. His dalliance with the married step-daughter of a high-ranking member of the Genovese crime family

. Rumors that he was compromised as an informant for law enforcement agencies

. His shooting in an alley, his subsequent disintegration and eventual demise in a charity ward of the Jersey City Medical Center

Although Frankie appeared to some to be a true life exemplar of a character from ‘Dead End’; a wild and unreconstructed deviant headed for disaster, his life is set against the backdrop of the often times dysfunctional environs of Jersey City, for long the seat of power of an administration dominated for decades by Mayoral potentate Frank Hague and maligned by the corruption of local politicians and the increasing influence of organized crime.

Recounted are Frankie’s exciting tussles with the likes of Charlie ‘The Devil’ Green, Jimmy McDermott and Dick Tiger. Here too are reminiscences of Frankie’s explosive power as a street fighter and the fear he inspired as a Mob collector.

Although prone to being brutish, Frankie could also be big of heart. And while his many sins rendered him as heartless, he was capable of feats of kindness. Tough, but ultimately weak-minded; Frankie’s tale is a cautionary one: a sobering rendition of one man’s capacity for self-destruction.

Adeyinka Makinde is Nigerian by birth and based in England. He trained as a barrister and is a lecturer in law. He wrote the well-reviewed biography, Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal, which was published in 2005.

"The author tells it like it was...Anyone who was around boxing in those days or has any knowledge of what the sport was like in the 1960s and early 1970s should read this book. It's worth every penny."
---J. Russell Peltz, IBHOF inductee and noted Boxing Historian & Archivist

"A brilliant biography...Makinde brings it all to life through meticulous research, painstaking chapter notes and a smooth, lyrical writing style."
---Murray Greig, The Edmonton Sun

"It's a cracking read"
---Steve Bunce, BBC Radio London Boxing Hour Show

"Makinde writes in elegant yet precise prose"

"A book worthy of a Hollywood encore"

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