They Called Him a Gangster: My Secret Life with Meyer Lansky, the Financial Genius Behind the Mafia
A powerful memoir about a secret life with the head of the mafia.
Only few people are well acquainted with Meyer Lansky, known as the ‘Mob’s Accountant’ who, in his youth, managed the investments of the New York mafia and was considered one of the leading figures of the city’s underworld.
Most of the stories known to the public are related to his past illegal activities. But as we are all aware, there is more than one side to every story.
The Other Side of the Story is a captivating biography that sheds a positive new light on the character of the “Gangster”.
Zali de Toledo was a teenager who arrived in Israel into a new culture, wishing simply to make a fresh start in her beloved country.
While working as a waitress in the “Dan” hotel lobby, the two met, as fate would have it. Soon, an intimate relationship developed between them and their secret love blossomed and flourished.
In this riveting unique memoir, de Toledo reveals the powerful love affair she had with Lansky, the hundreds of letters he wrote to her over the years, the other personality and sensitivity of the man who was, in the eyes of many, a criminal, the little things between him and her, and the tough decisions they had to make.
My thoughts: This isn’t your typical gangster memoir, I found. It has a whole different angle and flavor to it. Be prepared for something different from your usual mob book. This is more intellectual and political, dealing with current affairs of the time, and affairs of the heart too, you could say. I enjoyed reading this book because it was different from your usual shoot-em-up gangster title, and more of a love story, with the very-married Lansky trying to return to Jerusalem to spend some time with his mistress. His detractors have been keeping him away based on his former bootlegging reputation, while his health declines. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, the author Zali de Toledo, and publisher BooksGoSocial, for my unbiased review.
Publisher: BooksGoSocial – 250 pages
Publication: Aug 2nd, 2020
My rating: 3/5 Stars
From the author– Meyer Lansky always said that the truth has three realities: mine, yours and the truth’s own. So many books and articles have been written and movies have been made about him, mostly based on the FBI files or hearsay. In the 70’s, Gabriel Bach, former State Attorney and then Judge of the Supreme Court of Israel, brought these files over, and they found their way to Prof. Walkaway, a historian at the Tel Aviv University, who told me there was nothing for which Meyer could be put on trial.
I have written here my side of the story, the other truth, from Meyer’s point of view, as per his own words in the many letters he wrote to me.