The definitive saga of James J. “Whitey” Bulger—the crime boss and killer who brought the FBI to its knees—and the gripping narrative of his last days as a fugitive
Drawing on a trove of previously classified material, Whitey tracks the exploits of a true American original—a psychopath who could mix brutal intimidation with a politican's soft touch. Although Bulger cultivated a Robin Hood persona, Whitey reveals his true character: supreme narcissism with a diabolical devotion to self-preservation at the expense of others.
In Whitey, the bestselling authors of Black Mass and award-winning Boston journalists Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill illuminate the events of Bulger’s corrupt life to deconstruct his insatiable hunger for power. This is a deeply rendered portrait of evil that spans nearly a century, taking Whitey from the streets of his boyhood Southie in the 1940s to his cell in Alcatraz to his cunning, corrupt pact with the FBI in the 1970s, and finally, dramatically, to Santa Monica, California, where for fifteen years he hid in plain sight as one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted.
Whitey Bulger was one of the most powerful and deadly crime bosses of our time. This is his story.
About Gerard O'Neill
GERARD O'NEILL was editor of the Boston Globe's investigative team for 25 years before retiring to teach graduate courses in journalism at Boston University. With Dick Lehr, he coauthored The Underboss in 1989 and Black Mass in 2000. Black Mass was a New York Times bestseller and number one on the Globe's bestseller list for a year. He has won several regional and national reporting awards over several decades, including the Pulitzer; the Associated Press Managing Editors Award in 1977 and 1998; the Loeb Awards for business reporting in 1991; and was a Pulitzer finalist in 1997. He holds a master's in journalism from Boston University and lives in Back Bay with his wife, Janet. He has two sons.
"A comprehensive life and times...a fascinating psychological profile."
—The Boston Globe
"Whitey is the definitive word on the whole sordid saga of the Bulger mob. Expertly crafted, beautifully told." —Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night
“Having first uncovered the terrible Bulger story, Gerard O'Neill and Dick Lehr have now brought it full circle - a true circle of hell. Exemplary journalism, high drama, and, for Bulger's victims, an ongoing tragedy: rarely has a book mattered more.”
—James Carroll, author of An American Requiem
“Black Mass, also by Lehr and O'Neill, was the definitive book on the corrupt relationship of the Boston office of the FBI and the notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger. Whitey will stand right next to it as the most in depth portrayal yet of the life of the man who ruled the South Boston underworld by terror and duplicity. In this ground-breaking, intimately researched work, we learn how he became the person who was feared by so many. Once you start reading, you don't want to put it down." —Bill Bratton, former Boston and NYPD Police Commissioner and LAPD Police Chief
"Lehr and O’Neill have outdone themselves. Whitey isn’t just a chilling biography of a monster—it’s also a vivid portrait of Southie, a blood-spattered history of Boston mob wars, and a searing indictment of the corrupt FBI agents who literally gave Whitey Bulger a license to kill. Full of new information about Whitey’s prison stint as a young man and his life as an elderly fugitive, this is the definitive account of one of weirdest and most sordid chapters in the history of American crime." —Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers
“Whitey is a masterpiece of investigative reporting that unravels a tension-filled tale of murder, treachery, and abuse of power.” —Ronald Kessler, author of The Secrets of the FBI and In the President’s Secret Service
“Dennis Lehane and Martin Scorsese: take a seat. Nobody knows the twisted saga of Whitey Bulger and his gang; covered this story of criminal savagery and official corruption with more courage, or tell the tale now with such élan as Gerard O'Neill and Dick Lehr.” —John Farrell, author of Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century
“So much has been written about Whitey Bulger, including by Lehr and O’Neill, but this book is different. It is comprehensive in its scope tracing Bulger’s family, his own journey from Southie, to Europe, from Leavenworth and finally, to the Princess Eugenia Apartment in Santa Monica, California. Lehr and O’Neill have culled material far and wide – transcripts, old prison records, official documents, interviews, books and clippings. But best of all, they’ve woven it all in a narrative that is extraordinary, compelling and impossible to put down.” —Nancy Gertner (Retired, U.S.District Court Judge) and author of In Defense of Women