Living to tell the stories of what it was like to be part of the Gambino crime family

We have all seen the movies and TV shows about the various famous Mob figures. They are often cast in a light that glorifies their activities. Probably no better example could be found in The Godfather series of movies. But is life in the mob really like that?

I think not.

For my sins I know a couple of ex-mobsters, and what surprises me is how similar their stories are, yet they came from different generations, and very different backgrounds.

Surviving The Mob is a very sobering 90 minutes of video. There is no gloss, and there is little glamor. The Gambino family was a business, and like any business it was about the bottom line. Andrew DiDonato was a foot soldier, albeit a very key one for the Gambino family.

The production company 2reelproductions has taken a very bold and very interesting approach to the DVD. It is all too easy to cut and paste scenes and insert ‘commentary’ from so called experts at the appropriate spot. They instead have chosen to make this more in the style of a video book narrated by the author. This style works so well that it makes for compelling watching.

Andrew DiDonato, a couch, and a camera. Sure it is not as sexy as jumping around from yahoo to yahoo with their pointless comments, but do you realize what a challenge it is to get 90 minutes of movie out of a single person?

Andrew DiDonato tells a chilling story. From an early age he was drawn into the crime life. It was easy money, boosting cars for chop shops, shaking down the occasional drug dealer, these were far more fun activities than going to school.

Some nights we would do 3 or 4 cars. A full package (meaning that they wanted the entire car) was worth $800.

That is a lot of money to a young man, much more than he could earn as a high school dropout.

Although known by the Gambino family his break, which could have ended his life, came with boosting a car. He and a friend had arraigned to meet some people in a bar. In the parking lot they spotted a really nice Mercedes, it was too good to turn up. It turned out that they had made a large error in judgment, the car was owned by another family member and contained $65,000 of cash in it! This was a small fortune at the time. The Mob though are quite good at investigating these kinds of car boosts, and for 24 hours it looked like the jig was up for Andrew. People were not happy.

He managed to weasel out of the problem by returning the goods, but did point out that they had taken $10 of the money because the car was out of gas!

I have to admit that I got a chuckle out of that, it takes big balls indeed to pull a stunt like that.

Andrew grew in status with the Gambino family, he ran an illegal sports book and gambling operation for them, and performed various other tasks at their request.

At the very beginning of this review I made mention of the similarity between Andrew and another Mob member I know. The Mob demands loyalty, it is their code of conduct. However that loyalty is not a two way street.

With a price on his head, and facing almost certain death on the street, or a lifetime behind bars. Andrew went on the run for 17 months. It was almost with relief that it was the cops that found him first.

Surviving The Mob
hits the streets on May/4, it is a fascinating look at a world that few understand. He did spend time in the Witness Protection Program, he also did some time behind bars. I have talked to Andrew on several occasions, the Andrew 2.0 is far different from his earlier days.

To get your copy of this great DVD just click on the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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