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The Prince of Providence

The Prince of Providence

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Add This - The Prince of Providence

Written by Mike StantonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mike Stanton

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 496 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
  • On Sale: July 13, 2004
  • Price: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-75967-3 (0-375-75967-0)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

In The Prince of Providence, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Mike Stanton tells a classic story of wiseguys, feds, and politicians on a carousel of crime and redemption.

Buddy Cianci was part urban visionary, part Tony Soprano—a flawed political genius in the mold of Huey Long and James Michael Curley. His lust for power cost him his marriage, his family, and close friendships. Yet he also revitalized the city of Providence, where ethnic factions jostle with old-moneyed New Englanders and black-clad artists from the Rhode Island School of Design rub shoulders with scam artists from City Hall.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Cianci dominated this uneasy melting pot. During his first administration, twenty-two political insiders were convicted of corruption. In 1984, Cianci resigned after pleading guilty to felony assault, for torturing a man he suspected of sleeping with his estranged wife. In 1990, in a remarkable comeback, Cianci was elected mayor once again; he went on to win national acclaim for transforming a dying industrial city into a trendy arts and tourism mecca. But in 2001, a federal corruption probe dubbed Operation Plunder Dome threatened to bring the curtain down on Cianci once and for all.

Mike Stanton takes readers on a remarkable journey through the underside of city life, into the bizarre world of the mayor and his supporting cast, including:

• “Buckles” Melise, the city official in charge of vermin control, who bought Providence twice as much rat poison as the city of Cleveland, which was at the time four times as large, and wound up increasing Providence’s rat population. During a garbage strike, Buckles sledgehammered one city employee and stuck his thumb in another’s eye. Cianci would later describe this as “great public policy.”

• Anthony “the Saint” St. Laurent, a major Rhode Island bookmaker and loan shark, who tried to avoid prison by citing his medical need for forty bowel irrigations a day, thus earning himself the nickname “Public Enema Number One.”

• Dennis Aiken, a celebrated FBI agent and public corruption expert, who asked to be sent to “the Louisiana of the North,” where he enlisted an undercover businessman to expose the corrupt secrets of Cianci’s City Hall.

The Prince of Providence is a thoroughly researched and engrossing account of one of the most tragicomic figures in modern American life—and the city he transformed.

Praise for The Prince of Providence...

"Impressive….there are great yarns…..Try not marveling at the sheer audacity of Cianci's City Hall, whose stewards, as described in The Prince of Providence, ran a criminal enterprise of kickbacks, shakedowns, and threats worthy of The Sopranos."
The New York Times Book Review

"In The Prince of Providence, Mike Stanton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Providence Journal, delivers a riveting, intricate portrait of a pol on the make and intense, exhaustive portrait of a ribald, craven, self-aggrandizing, totally engaging political animal."

"Stanton shows that putrid politics can make for a rousing read. He captures the mayor in all his colorful, glad-handing glory and describes the political culture of Providence in lurid detail. Some of his book's supporting characters could have stepped out of the pages of Damon Runyon."
The Wall Street Journal

"Stanton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, provides an astounding, well-researched account of systmatic government impropriety."
Entertainment Weekly

''A rich, wide-ranging chronicle….The Prince of Providence is one of the best books about contemporary urban politics, on a par with Buzz Bissinger's A Prayer for the City"
—Steve Weinberg, The Boston Globe