Veteran Scribe Wayne Barrett breaks news with investigative biography of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The national media spotlight fell on Village Voice Senior Editor Wayne Barrett for a few days earlier this month following the release of his newest book, an investigative biography detailing the life of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
“Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani” (Basic Books) broke new ground in revealing the criminal history of the mayor’s father, Harold Giuliani, and the family’s ties to the mob. When excerpts of the book were featured in the July 12 issue of the Voice, the New York tabloids had a front-page field day, and the national media followed suit.
The book was released on July 11, shortly after the mayor’s private life had become front-page fodder, with widespread coverage of his bout with prostate cancer, his failing marriage and his subsequent withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton. The New York Times reported that Barrett’s book was released three months earlier than originally anticipated.
Barrett has been a Voice reporter for more than two decades and has written three books, including “City For Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York” and a biography of developer Donald Trump.
According to the excerpts published in the Voice, Giuliani’s father was arrested in 1934 for attacking a milkman in Manhattan. He was convicted of felony armed robbery and sentenced to serve two to five years in state prison. Although a footnote says Barrett received his information through an unidentified source, he was able to verify many of the informant’s claims from court documents.
In the book, Barrett explained the difficulty he encountered in finding many of the court records pertaining to Giuliani and other prominent characters portrayed in the biography. He attributed part of the problem to the records themselves. Computerized court documents go back only to 1970 in New York City, making them “unavailable or extremely hard to locate,” Barrett wrote. Also, Harold Giuliani used an alias when he was arrested, rendering all searches on the Mayor’s surname fruitless.
A few of the documents Barrett used in his book are posted on the Smoking Gun, a web site that posts government and law enforcement sources, and national court files. Barrett’s finds can be found at http://www.thesmokinggun.com/rudy/rudy.html.
Another Village Voice reporter who helped Barrett research “Rudy!” has his own book out. Adam Fifield, who freelances for the Voice, recently published “A Blessing Over Ashes: The Remarkable Odyssey of My Unlikely Brother.” Fifield’s nonfiction narrative tells the story of a 14-year-old Cambodian refugee who came to live with the author’s family when Fifield was a boy. Kirkus Reviews calls Fifield’s first book “a vivid, textured memoir with echoes of Huckleberry Finn and Sophie’s Choice.”