Dueling book plugs in the local dailies the past two days, starting with this Boston Sunday Globe Page One pompom:
A window into Whitey’s brutal life and mind
New biography traces Bulger’s rise, reign, and the reckoning ahead
As he sits brooding in his drab cell awaiting trial, South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger is telling friends that while he feels tortured by his cramped captivity, with its isolation, strip searches, and dismal food, he is ready and eager for “the big show” — the trial where he will defend his sense of honor if not exactly his innocence.
But however defiant he remains, Bulger was prepared to give prosecutors an easy way out, saying he offered himself up for execution if the government would let the woman he loves walk free.
“I never loved anyone like I do her and offered my life [execution] if they would free her — but no they want me to suffer — they know this is the worst punishment for me by hurting her!” Bulger wrote to a friend last year as his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, faced the prospect of years in prison for her devotion to him . . .
“Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice,” written by the authors of this article (Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy), with editorial support from The Globe, reveals a host of new information about Bulger, from his pursuit of domestic tranquillity in a tangled romantic triangle, to his seeking out a psychiatrist a la Tony Soprano, to his heretofore little-known role as an agent of mayhem during the city’s school desegregation crisis.
Lots of juicy stuff in the “new and comprehensive biography” that just hit bookstores. Meanwhile, columnist Howie Carr blurbs a different Bulger book in today’s Boston Herald .
Book: Whitey’s rage at black prez led to his capture
Can Whitey Bulger blame his own raging case of Obama Derangement Syndrome rather than a tabby cat for his 2011 capture?
That’s the suggestion in a bombshell new biography, “Whitey: The Life of America’s Most Notorious Mob Boss,” by veteran Boston reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.
When Whitey and moll Catherine Greig had been living in Santa Monica, Calif., as “Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Gasko,” Greig became close to Icelandic model Anna Bjornsdottir, bonding over the care of a stray cat. Whitey often joined them outside their apartment building.
But, Lehr and O’Neill write, Bjornsdottir and Whitey never spoke again after she “unabashedly” expressed admiration for the first black president.
“He practically exploded … disgusted that she could admire a black man as president … Nothing was the same after . . . “
Carr conveniently fails to mention 1) that Lehr and O’Neill are former Boston Globe reporters, and 2) that Cullen and Murphy have a new Whitey bio as well.
The Globe piece is more magnanimous:
[Bulger’s] first known cooperation with law enforcement was in 1956, when he agreed to identify his bank robbery accomplices so that his then-girlfriend would not face criminal charges for accompanying him on a trip that culminated with a bank robbery in Indiana. That early turn as a snitch was first reported by WBUR, citing documents obtained by two former Globe reporters, Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, who also have a biography of Bulger coming out soon: “Whitey: The Life of America’s Most Notorious Crime Boss.”
And getting even more so by the day.