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Jimmy Breslin Reads from "The Good Rat: A True Story" at New-York Historical Society
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Jimmy Breslin Reads from "The Good Rat: A True Story" at New-York Historical Society

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Jimmy Breslin Book Reading
(Breslin in Newsday)
The Good Rat: A True Story
(Book Purchase Website)
The Bernard and Irene Schwartz
Distinguished Speaker Series
At the
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
212.873.3400 as
Press: Marisa Wayne
Rubenstein Communications, Inc.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 6, 2008

Jimmy Breslin, a novelist and long-time columnist for Newsday, in New York, is a Pulitzer Prize (1986) winning author and journalist. Breslin was awarded the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting in 1985. He’s famous for his ties with New York based organized crime, to the extent that he knew renowned Mafia figures, in order to inform his writing. Breslin also figured in the “Son of Sam” crime episode in New York, and he earlier wrote a unique story about President Kennedy’s funeral, based on his observation of the grave digger. He was a good friend of Norman Mailer, and Breslin is known for strong political opinions, far left.

It is those political opinions that almost overshadowed tonight’s Book Reading of The Good Rat: A True Story , as Breslin weighed in on the Iraq War and the Obama - Clinton race in opinionated tones. On the War, he said, “These people die, so we can pay less for gas”. He also related the Kennedy burial saga and his need to get away from the crowds and observe a “common man”. Speaking on the cause of crime, Breslin said, “Twenty year-olds don’t like school. They have bad textbooks. New York is replacing Sicily.”

Breslin gave the packed Historical Society audience a glimpse of the world of organized crime, in his own feisty manner. He said John Gotti, whom he seemed to have known well, wanted his name in the paper every day. Breslin discussed the irony that Gotti died in a below-ground prison, with a camera on him. Breslin mentioned the “bugging” of the “Clubs” in Little Italy and “Sammy the Bull”. He said the only time he was threatened was in a racial disturbance, but “nothing happened”. A well known figure from the Gotti trial, Bruce Cutler, was in tonight’s audience, and, in the Q&A, he said, “Hi, Jimmy. Remember me?” Breslin also mentioned the notion of his book becoming a film, which is very possible, as it seems to have all the elements of a suspenseful thriller, including the “good rat”. That “rat” was Burt Kaplan, a witness for the prosecution in a recent trial of two NYC police detectives, who were involved in eight homicides, acting as mob hit men. Jimmy had the personal access to Kaplan, and thus the book. The Good Rat: A True Story, and other Breslin books, are available on

Jimmy Breslin at New York Historical Society
Photo Courtesy of Alan Rosenberg/AMRPHOTO

Jimmy Breslin at New York Historical Society
Photo Courtesy of Alan Rosenberg/AMRPHOTO

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