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Louis Ferrante p2

Louis Ferrante, author of Tough Guy, talks about his favorite books.

READERSVOICE.COM: In Tough Guy you mentioned how you started your reading with biographies. In the book you mentioned a biography of editor Max Perkins by A. Scott Berg. (Max Perkins, Editor of Genius) I really enjoyed that, and am reading his author Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again, which is great. But what other biographies have you enjoyed?

LOUIS FERRANTE: I liked all bio’s, from Einstein to Newton, Caesar to Mao, Pitt to Churchill, etc. I’ve also read all of Thomas Wolfe’s novels and a great Pulitzer Prize winning bio on him by David Herbert Donald [Look Homeward, A Life of Thomas Wolfe, 1987].

RV: Do you read a lot about the mafia these days, and which histories or biographies have you liked in the past?

LF: I usually stay away from Mafia books. Having lived that life, there isn’t much for me to learn from Mafia books. However, for my second book, Mob Rules, I did do some Mafia reading.

RV: Apart from the Old Testament, which is an important part of your spiritual life, what would be some of your favorite books of all time, whether 19th century novels, philosophy law, fun novels, anything?

LF: Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and all of Thomas Hardy‘s novels.

RV: Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman kind of takes things full circle from the Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky days. Apparently Lansky read books on business management and Luciano adopted a corporate style for the mafia. Has the mafia changed from a family kind of institution to one where there’s no personal loyalty to and from its members, or has it always been just about the money?

LF: It’s always been about the money but older mobsters understood that loyalty was an important part of business, more so than contemporary mobsters.

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-copyright Simon Sandall