The Life and Times of Frank Balistrieri: The Last, Most Powerful Godfather of Milwaukee.

It’s not often you get the opportunity to read a friends book, let alone be in a position to write such a public review on it. What makes this even more special, is the added bonus of who wrote the foreword for this book. The foreword, to Wayne and Zack’s excellent book, was written by someone who I am fortunate to also be able to call a friend. Christian Cipollini (organized crime historian, true crime author and comic book creator) is also my aspiration. I have high hopes, I will soon be bugging Christian to be writing a foreword in my new upcoming book. But! Back to Wayne and his informative book about Frank Balistrieri, ‘The Last, Most Powerful Godfather of Milwaukee.’

Unless you are a Mafia aficionado, Frank Balistrieri, may not be a familiar name, but as the title of the book suggests, Balistrieri was the last, most powerful Godfather of Milwaukee’. However, names such as: Donnie Brasco, Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal and ‘Joey Doves’ Joseph Aiuppa maybe more familiar to you. They also play a major role in the life of the man better known as Frankie Bal or his more than sinister, infamous title, Frank ‘The Mad Bomber’ Balistrieri.


Frank Balistrieri died in Milwaukee on a chilly February day in 1993. It was a death by natural causes; two months earlier he was in St. Mary’s Hospital for colon surgery. He was 74 at the time. In many ways it is a surprise that Balistrieri lived as long as he did, perhaps if it wasn’t for his connections he would never have seen the ‘70s. Violence is a recurring theme in the story of Balistrieri’s life, in many ways violence punctures the narrative – often it is what assures silence in Balistrieri’s world. And just what world was that? Balistrieri was a puppet master,  just outside of the frame yet controlling events that rippled out and affected not only the people of Milwaukee and the surrounding area but ultimately the American people as a whole.

For many years Balistrieri was the man in control of organized crime in Milwaukee; in the August 6th, 1978 edition of the New York Times,  the FBI released Frank Balistrieri’s name along with the names of 29 other individuals suspected of being “crime leaders.” That’s Mafia with a capital M: the American-Italian Mafia, La Cosa Nostra.


“Get to know a man Fortune Magazine once named #17 on a list of fifty biggest Mafia bosses. It’s the tale of a longstanding fixture in the annals of Milwaukee organized crime, a felonious mastermind who shared responsibility in instituting, exploiting and giving lucrative life to a now-commonplace term found in the proverbial  lexicon of mob rackets – the ‘skim.'” Christian Cipollini.


So! If you want to know why they called Frank Balistrieri the ‘Mad Bomber’, then click on the link at the beginning, to order your copy. Capisce?

Clingman, Wayne (2019-05-14T23:58:59). The Life and Times of Frank Balistrieri: The Last, Most Powerful Godfather of Milwaukee . Wayne Clingman. Kindle Edition.

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