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Extended Audio Sample Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice, by Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy Click for printable size audiobook cover
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Raised in a South Boston housing project, James “Whitey” Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow Whitey’s extraordinary criminal career—from teenage thievery to bank robberies to the building of his underworld empire and a string of brutal murders. 

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. Once Whitey emerged triumphant from the bloody Boston gang wars, Connolly recruited him as an informant against the Mafia. Their clandestine relationship made Whitey untouchable; the FBI overlooked gambling, drugs, and even homicide to protect their source. Among the close-knit Irish community in South Boston, nothing was more important than honor and loyalty, and nothing was worse than being a rat. Whitey is charged with the deaths of nineteen people killed over turf, for business, and even for being informants—yet to this day he denies he ever gave up his friends or landed anyone in jail.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is the definitive story of Whitey Bulger. As much social documentary as riveting crime story, the book is a masterwork of reporting by Cullen and Murphy. I couldn’t put it down.”

    Michael Connelly

  • “This book is easily the best story about crime I’ve read.”

    Jimmy Breslin, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

  • “This is the Whitey Bulger book by the two expert journalists who know the turf best. An unflinching look at the culture of silence and death fostered by Bulger—and by his friends in high and low places—and an important affirmation for young people growing up in today’s neighborhoods of good people besieged by thuggery, corruption, and codes of silence.”

    Michael Patrick MacDonald, New York Times bestselling author of All Souls

  • “An authoritative study of the legendary criminal and the long manhunt that culminated in Santa Monica in 2011…Whitey Bulger is a portrait of its subject in all his complexity: devoted son and brother, vicious killer, neighborhood folk hero, anti-integration activist…It’s a terrific book—comprehensive, deeply reported, invested with an understanding of place and character, and the subtle, at times pernicious, ways they interact. [Kevin Cullen’s and Shelly Murphy’s] expertise infuses Whitey Bulger with authority, depth, and an engagement that makes it less a work of true crime than a social history.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Riveting.”

    Economist

  • “I have a very strong recommendation if you like real crime stories, or very well-told biographies—or if you like both, which I happen to. If you have not read Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice…get it now. You’ll thank me. It’s riveting, graphic, and a great tale of real life in South Boston, one of the most compelling neighborhoods in American history.”

    SportsIllustrated.com

  • “Cullen and Murphy have made careers of covering Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe. This sweeping biography—which includes coverage of his sixteen years on the lam and his capture in 2011—is an excellent prelude to Bulger’s upcoming trial…VERDICT Highly recommended. Should be very popular.”

    Library Journal

  • “A well-researched book claiming to be ‘the first complete and authoritative account’ of the life of criminal James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. From his Boston childhood to his current home in a prison cell, Boston Globe reporters Cullen and Murphy follow their subject through every documented moment in his life…Bulger’s crimes and partnerships are so compelling that the pages almost turn themselves. Moments of insight into his mind make the book sparkle…Solid writing, remarkable details, and the addition of Bulger’s fairly recent capture make this a worthy addition to the literature of the mob.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
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About the Author

Kevin Cullen is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has written for the Boston Globe since 1985, and he was the first to raise questions about Whitey Bulger’s relationship with the FBI. A frequent commentator on NPR and the BBC, Cullen has won major journalism prizes, including the Goldsmith Prize, the George Polk Award, and the Selden Ring Award.