THE LIFE WE CHOSE
“The Life We Chose—an unforgettable story. A really great read.” —Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy and Casino and screenwriter of Goodfellas
From Matt Birkbeck—investigative journalist and executive producer of Netflix’s #1 movie Girl in the Picture—a revelatory father/surrogate son story that takes readers deep inside the inner workings of the mob through the eyes of William “Big Billy” D’Elia, the right-hand man to legendary mafia kingpin Russell Bufalino, who ran organized crime in the US for more than fifty years.
William “Big Billy” D’Elia is Mafia royalty.
The “adopted” son of legendary organized crime boss Russell Bufalino, for decades D’Elia had unequaled access to the man the FBI and US Justice Department considered one of the leading organized crime figures in the United States. But the government had no real idea as to the breadth of Bufalino’s power and influence—or that it was Bufalino, from his bucolic home base in Pittston, Pennsylvania, who reigned over the five families in New York and other organized crime families throughout the country.
For nearly thirty years, D’Elia was at Bufalino’s side, and “Russ’s son” was a witness and participant to major historical events that have stymied law enforcement, perplexed journalists, and produced false and wild narratives in books and movies—not the least of which being the infamous disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa. In addition, their reach was illustrated by their relationships with Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, Suge Knight, and many other celebrities and personalities.
D’Elia became the de facto leader of the Bufalino family upon Russell Bufalino’s imprisonment in 1979, and he officially took control upon Bufalino’s death in 1994 until his arrest in 2006, when he was charged with money laundering and the attempted murder of a witness. He pled guilty to money laundering and witness tampering and was released from federal prison in 2012.
Candid and unapologetic, D’Elia is finally ready to reveal the real story behind the myths and in so doing paints a complicated, compelling, and stunning portrait of crime, power, money, and finally, family.