I read Black Mass a few years back. Probably around the time the Departed hit the big screen. Frank Costello was supposedly loosely based on real life Irish hood James “Whitey” Bulger. This gave me the urge to do a little more research into Whitey’s background and day to day criminal activities. A friend recommended this particular book, which chronicles Whitey’s life from childhood up to the moment he went on the lam, with tons of “great” true crime stuff in between. It also tells the story of the twisted relationship he had with childhood acquaintance and eventual FBI agent John Connolly, and how they single-handedly destroyed all credibility the Feds had during the time the two were in cahoots. Honestly, this book has everything true crime heads love. Conspiracy, violence, drugs, corruption, money, and the mob. I can’t really call it a first hand account because it was written by two Boston Globe reporters. But you do get the impression that information Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill is not exaggerated.
If you plan on following Whitey Bulger’s trial, this would probably a perfect foundation if you only have basic knowledge of the case. New England heads will especially appreciate it.