This eye-opening memoir, twenty years in the making, chronicles Luellen Smiley’s journey into her father’s criminal past, beginning ten years after his death.
Luellen is the daughter of the late Allen Smiley—Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s best friend and business partner for ten years. He was seated next to Bugsy the night he was murdered. Smiley’s refusal to turn informant despite an order of deportation, and facing ten years in prison, earned Meyer Lansky’s respect. The Mafia defended, financed, and protected Allen for the rest of his life.
Luellen discounted her father’s Mafia association until she was forty years old. Awakened by an identity meltdown, she cut through her silence and confronted her father’s criminal activities. Discoveries derived from government surveillance records, newspaper articles, court testimony, classified FBI documents, interviews and conversations with relatives she begins to write this story. Luellen takes the reader along for the ride on her quest to understand her father’s allegiance to the mob while also uncovering her own identity—a quest of humiliation, rage, shame, and acceptance.
About the Author
Luellen Smiley was the daughter of Allen Smiley—Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s best friend and business partner. Her upbringing within the Mafia family breaks through a long-standing stigma about the organization and its members. She wants the world to know that they started as defenders of their neighborhoods—not trigger-happy murderers.
Ten years after her father’s death, she evolved into a gangster authority through researching thousands of classified FBI and Department of Justice documents and interviews and conversations with relatives, ex–mob guys, and authors.
Luellen is an award-winning newspaper columnist who has written for publications such as the NY Post and MORE Magazine.
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