My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob
Publication Date: June 22, 2004
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For decades the FBI let James “Whitey” Bulger get away with murder, an almost unbelievable story that entered a new chapter when Bulger was arrested in California and put on trial. During the 1980s, Edward J. MacKenzie, Jr., “Eddie Mac,” was a drug dealer and enforcer who would do just about anything for Bulger. In this compelling eyewitness account, the first from a Bulger insider, Eddie Mac delivers the goods on his one-time boss and on such former associates as Stephen ''The Rifleman'' Flemmi and turncoat FBI agent John Connolly. Eddie Mac provides a window onto a world rarely glimpsed by those on the outside.
Street Soldier is also a story of the search for family, for acceptance, for respect, loyalty, and love. Abandoned by his parents at the age of four, MacKenzie became a ward of the state of Massachusetts, suffered physical and sexual abuse in the foster care system, and eventually drifted into a life of crime and Bulger's orbit. The Eddie Mac who emerges in these pages is complex: An enforcer who was also a kick-boxing and Golden Gloves champion; a womanizer who fought for custody of his daughters; a tenth-grade dropout living on the streets who went on, as an adult, to earn a college degree in three years; a man, who lived by the strict code of loyalty to the mob, but set up a sting operation that would net one of the largest hauls of cocaine ever seized. Eddie's is a harsh story, but it tells us something important about the darker corners of our world.
Street Soldier is as disturbing and fascinating as a crime scene, as heart-stopping as a bar fight, and at times as darkly comic as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Martin Scorsese’s Good Fellas.
Edward J. Mackenzie Jr. is a single father raising his two daughters near his hometown of South Boston.
Phyllis Karas is coauthor of The Onassis Women. A contributor to People magazine and an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Journalism, she lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Ross A. Muscato is a strategic communications consultant who lives in the Boston area.
“Eddie MacKenzie’s graphic account of his life as a violent street criminal in South Boston is almost unspeakably brutal, coldblooded, ruthless, merciless, callous, cruel — and fascinating. Reading it is like happening upon a street crime and entering the perpetrator’s mind.” — John W. Dean in the New York Times Book Review
“An almost unbeatable insider’s account of the mob.”— Library Journal
“MacKenzie is the first ‘predator’ (his description) from the murderous Irish mob in Boston to come forward without an indictment hanging over his head and attempt to tell the ugly truth about an organized crime group that plagued Boston for much of the past 30 years.”— Jonathan Wells in the Boston Herald
“Americans love their bad guys and . . . books about criminal gangs proliferate and prosper. One of the best is Street Soldier.”— Les Roberts in the Washington Post
“In my 25 years of studying crime and criminals, I have never come across a book quite like Street Soldier. One-third of the way through, I had to put it down, because I was so shaken by the depraved life and gruesome events that it openly describes.” — Richard Moran in the Chicago Tribune
“This memoir is more than just true crime sensationalism or conscience-cleansing confessional. . . . It contains the edginess of a great thriller.”— Publishers Weekly
“A tour of life on the edge with a charming and terrifying rogue.”— Kirkus Reviews
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org