Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice ($26.95), written by veteran Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, is the first authoritative look at the real Whitey Bulger, cutting through the myths, legends, and hearsay and offering the cold truth about Whitey’s life of violence and his disturbing collusion with the FBI. It is a true crime epic of the highest caliber as well as the most intimate, relentlessly well-researched, real-time look at the man who, following the death of Osama bin Laden, became America’s most wanted criminal.
James “Whitey” Bulger is to crime in the latter half of the twentieth century what Al Capone was to the first: a mythic figure, a legendary hood, a bogeyman. Whitey’s criminal associates have published memoirs about him, some serving up spurious claims and self-serving reminiscences. Hollywood has been inspired by him, most notably in the character of Irish mob boss Frank Costello in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie The Departed. Each attempt has done more to obscure Whitey’s true story than to reveal it.
Until now, no book has come close to giving us a complete, three-dimensional portrait of Bulger, from his criminal beginnings as a neighborhood tough who would “take two punches to land one” to his nine years in federal prison—including Alcatraz—for bank robbery. No work has told the whole story of how a wiry ne’er-do-well from the South Boston projects became the most wanted person in America and evaded capture for nearly two decades.
Kevin Cullen, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who has written for the Boston Globe since 1985, was the first to raise questions about Bulger's relationship with the FBI. Shelley Murphy, winner of the George Polk Award, has covered organized crime since 1985, beginning at the Boston Herald and moving to the Globe in 1993. Cullen lived in South Boston during much of Whitey’s reign. Murphy was born and raised in Dorchester and attended South Boston High School. Together, Cullen and Murphy have been pursuing Whitey Bulger for over fifty years.
It was after a nine-year stint in Alcatraz and other prisons that Whitey reunited with his brother William "Billy" Bulger, who was soon to become one of Massachusetts's most powerful politicians. He also became reacquainted with John Connolly, who had grown up around the corner from the Bulgers and was now with Billy's help a rising star at the FBI.