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Luellen is the daughter of the late Allen Smiley—Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s best friend and business partner for ten years. He was seated next to Bugsy the night he was murdered. Smiley’s refusal to turn informant despite an order of deportation, and facing ten years in prison, earned Meyer Lansky’s respect. The Mafia defended, financed, and protected Allen for the rest of his life. Luellen discounted her father’s Mafia association until she was forty years old. Awakened by an identity meltdown, she cut through her silence and confronted her father’s criminal activities. Discoveries derived from government surveillance records, newspaper articles, court testimony, classified FBI documents, interviews and conversations with relatives she begins to write this story. Luellen takes the reader along for the ride on her quest to understand her father’s allegiance to the mob while also uncovering her own identity—a quest of humiliation, rage, shame, and acceptance.
A candid and enthralling memoir, CRADLE OF CRIME - A Daughter's Tribute is the debut release from Luellen Smiley and it proves one of the most gripping and powerful books in its genre. Certainly no mean feat, given the swelling number of similarly themed offerings but Smiley does well to distinguish hers with painstaking research, a broad narrative sweep and intellectual grip to deliver a fascinating and revealing read, for the events it covers. The storytelling isn't redemptive with much of the most compelling material in this book being intensely personal but it is a very human story that dispels hype and myth and gives us a telling glimpse of a remarkable life. Weaving together several stories it makes a vivid and notable contribution to the mafia debate which invariably swings between the codes of honour and family values so often portrayed on the silver screen to a brutal criminal organisation focused only on the accumulation of wealth. In contrast, Luellen finds a far more equitable balance in her reflections and it makes for a genuine pageturner.
Extremely well written, fans of this ever popular genre will find CRADLE OF CRIME - A Daughter's Tribute a fascinating read and it is recommended without reservation.
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Ten years after her father died Luellen embarked on a mission of discovery. She evolved into a gangster authority by researching his criminal history through thousands of classified FBI, and DOJ documents, interviews and conversations with relatives, ex-mob guys, and authors. She is well-researched and a strongly opinionated published writer and mob historian. (NY Post, MORE Magazine).
Her inside stories about what life was like in the eye of the hurricane shines a new light on this subculture. She wants the world to know the personal side of the gangsters” “They were not all trigger-happy murderers. Instead they started as protectors of their neighborhoods; they had no one else looking out for them. America didn’t wave a flag when they arrived. There is another side to this story.”
About Luellen Smiley