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Wiseguy.

Wiseguy.

Nicholas Pileggi. Simmon & Schuster, $17.95. One of my major sources of self-pity over the years has been the resistance of the sensitive and intelligent young liberals who have worked at this magazine to concede that there are some criminals beyond redemption or reform. I had seen such incorrigibles when I practiced criminal law, but I have had great difficulty persuading my youthful colleagues that what I was telling them was true. What I needed all along was this book. Its picture of life in the Mafia captures the brutality and callousness of the professional killer. What is most frightening about these people is their ability to fool the respectable world. These wise guys know there are nice young liberals out there ready and willing to be hustled for another plea bargain, probation, or parole. Pileggi describes one Harry Hill, who, after committing countless crimes, was finally caught and returned to prison. Even though he was peddling dope throughout his term, he was granted an early parole for being, according to the Bureau of Prisons, "an ideal inmate.' There are Jean Valjeans out there worthy of our concern and forgiveness, but there are just as many Harry Hills--a fact that I hope this book will finally persuade liberals to face.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Washington Monthly Company
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Copyright 1986, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Peters, Charles
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:211
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