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Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A rich biography of the legendary figure at the center of the century’s darkest secrets: an untold story of golden age Hollywood, modern Las Vegas, JFK-era scandal and international intrigue from the New York Times bestselling author of Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing

A singular figure in the annals of the American underworld, Johnny Rosselli’s career flourished for an extrao
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Melisende d'Outremer
Having read Martin Short's "Crime Inc" many times, I could not for the life of me remember coming across Johnny Rosselli's name in any context. In fact, I picked up the book again to ensure that I hadn't missed it - I hadn't - he's not listed or mentioned.

So who was this shadowy figure? From Server's well-researched and vivid biography, Rosselli is hardly camera shy, being involved in some of the biggest Mob activities from the 1920s to the 1960s. Server does well to tease out the little that is
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Handsome Johnny Rosselli is the most fascinating gangster I never heard of. Wow!

His saga makes him out to be a sort of shady Forrest Gump, who was involved in the shadows of nearly everything interesting that happened in 20th Century America. He came up on the streets of Boston, heading west to help bootleg booze in California during Prohibition, impressed Al Capone into making him an LA rep for his crime outfit, did some movie producing during Hollywood's Golden Age, dated movie stars in Holly
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Handsome Johnny was a mafia super-star from the 1920s through the latter 1960s. Lee Server has written a well researched and written biography that allows the characters to leap off of the pages to tell this story.

Johnny was Al Capone's protege' and became the man on the forefront of the mob from prohibition, to Los Angeles to helping create Las Vegas as a gambling haven. The nickname "handsome" came from Johnny's good looks and role as a ladies' man. In Hollywood he was involved with many movi
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Handsome Johnny by Lee Server is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early November.

The dynamic, calculated, notorious life and mysterious death of John ‘Johnny’ Rosselli (aka Filippo Sacco): a man involved in organized crime during the 1950s-1970s in California and Florida. Initially starting out as a rumrunner in L.A. in the early 20s, he recovers from being struck by TB to be tapped by Capone to be his representative in L.A. with Jack Dragna (thereby running floating casinos, off-track bett
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I never knew that there was so much mob warfare in L.A. in the late 40s/early 50s, and I grew up in L.A. during that time period!

I was not that crazy about the dialogue between the characters. It just sounded so fake.

If one has seen Godfather I, and especially II, then much of what this author wrote can be found in those movies. And, just who did kill Rosselli? I think that information would have made this book a five-star for me.

Lastly...Judith Campbell has always been described as more beauti
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gangster Johnny Roselli was a big-time thug that I’d never heard of. He began his career in Los Angeles working small jobs of illegal liquor transport, drugs, and gambling for wealthy residents and Hollywood’s elite. Later he was involved with Al Capone, Las Vegas Mobs, Sam Giancana, and even the CIA. It’s a very interesting look at the dirty jobs of gangster life from the 1920’s to the 1960’s, but a little too much detail about life in LA working with and against the Hollywood labor unions.
Terry Moskowitz
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Who is Handsome Johnny? He is the man who had his hands in a little but of everything. He led a pretty exciting life. Even though he was not camera shy he still lived behind the shadows. This was very interesting learning about things that went on behind the scenes in the mob world.

I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about history that I would have never seen in the streamlined history books.

** I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Having read previously abut Johnny Rosselli. I was very glad to read this book. Very interesting and well written. Mr. Rosselli is a very interesting character. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book. Although I received the book in this manner, it did not effect my opinion of this book nor my review.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic bio of Johnny Roselli- mid 20th century old
school mafioso. Heavy into Hollywood, Vegas, and the Castro /Kennedy stuff- this well written ( with the right amount of snark ),and well researched book is perfect if any of these subjects interest you. Highly highly recommended!
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
This is a remarkable biography. This was a vivid look into the life of this high society pretty boy gangster. As a boy he was poor, his father died when he was young and Johnny took the streets to earn money. He fell for the glamorous life of the mobsters. The money, the clothes, the status and he was willing to do anything to get it. He became Al Capone's protege, controlling prohibition , the gambling industry and a CIA assassin. Rumored to be the hit man in Kennedy's assassination. I really e ...more
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Lee Server specialises in books on popular culture and literary history.

He is the critically acclaimed author of such as 'Danger Is My Business: The Illustrated History of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines' (1993), 'Over My Dead Body: The Sensational Age of the American Paperback' (1995) and the biography 'Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care' (2001).