James “Whitey” Bulger is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman in Sumter County, Florida. The former gangster who once ruled the streets of Boston is now 86 years of age and will spend the rest of his life behind bars. The manhunt to capture him spanned 16 years and for several of those years, he was on the FBI’s list of most wanted criminals. His capture is one of the biggest in U.S. history and also brought down many of the people connected to him, including both known associates and family members. His trial resulted in numerous lawsuits brought against the U.S. government for the FBI’s complicity in facilitating Bulger’s criminal enterprise.
Recently, Johnny Depp has appeared in ‘Black Mass’ a semi-biopic about the notorious Bulger. Depp is an outstanding actor and his portrayal of Bulger is nothing short of chilling. Hollywood is known to take certain liberties when producing films and the true story is often more interesting and far more complex. I began to search for a book on Bulger after watching the film and picked up this New York Times bestseller by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy. The authors have done an outstanding job of putting together this semi-biography and semi-investigative report into Bulger’s life, organization and the crimes that were committed. This book is a great addition for movie goers who’ve seen the film and are looking for more background information on the main characters and the story line in general. All of it is covered here, including the murders, racketeering, affairs, the FBI’s complicity, Bulger’s run from the law, his capture and conviction. The city of Boston today is far different from the one in which Bulger made his fortune. Most of the bars and after hour spots where criminal plans were created are gone, replaced by trendy coffee shops and other commercial establishments. But at one time, the city was controlled by the most notorious criminal in Boston’s history.