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Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia is retired F.B.I. agent Joseph Pistone's memoir of the years he spent undercover in one of New York's five Italian organized crime "families." An Italian American himself from Paterson, New Jersey, Pistone recognized that he had a facility for melting into the world of organized crime figures that populated his native town and nearby New York. After studying the business of precious jewels and the tactics utilized by skilled, professional burglars, Pistone began hanging around the places where he knew Mafia figures liked to hang out, gradually insinuating himself into their environment. Posing as jewel thief Donnie Brasco, Pistone succeeded in infiltrating the Bonnano crime organization, becoming close to such "made men" as Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero and, more importantly, to Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, a rising member of the organization. As a part of Napolitano's crew, Pistone, as Donnie Brasco, was witness to a great deal of discussion among members of the Mafia regarding criminal activities, including murder. Ultimately, Pistone was sufficiently successful that he was proposed for formal membership in the Bonnano organization. As a requirement for such membership included murder, his F.B.I. superiors decided to terminate his undercover operation and pull him off the streets. Donnie Brasco is his story about those years on the streets.
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