About the author:
Peter Maas (June 27, 1929 – August 23, 2001) was an American journalist and author. He was born in New York City and attended Duke University. Maas had Dutch and Irish heritage.
He was the biographer of Frank Serpico, a New York City Police officer who testified against police corruption. He is also the author of the number one New York Times bestseller, Underboss, about the life and times of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
His other notable bestsellers include The Valachi Papers, Manhunt, and In a Child's Name, recipient of the 1991 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book. The Valachi Papers, which told the story of Mafia turncoat Joseph Valachi, is widely considered to be a seminal work, as it spawned an entire genre of books written by or about former Mafiosi.
He decided to write the book for a suggestion of a friend, who first told him about Steve Tene and the Bimbo tribe, he told him about a gypsy that he might find of interest, a good story to write about, so that is how he met with Steve. This is how it all began, Steve managed to involve him personally in the turbulent and often deadly affairs of the Bimbo tribe. He became fascinated at the thought of so many gypsies living essentially as they have for houndreds of years, blithely escaping the massive surveillance and computerization that has been increasing in this days.
The story told in the book focuses on the history, culture and history of the gypsies, a people that through the centuries are still governed by the same laws and taboos. The story focuses mainly on one character, Steve Tene, grandson and heir of the great Tene Bimbo, known by all as the king of the gypsies and leader of the most feared tribe, the Bimbos. The story relates how at an early age, escaped from his father, Carranza, and lived on the streets of New York, there happened for a while until it was returned to his family. After several comings and goings on itself at last of them moved to California, stayed there with a family of gadjos, like the gypsies used to call ordinary people. Despite being illiterate, Steve started his own business restoring antiques, demostrating that the gypsies could earn their own money without having to steal from others, as they had taught over the centuries.
He decided to break with the traditions that governed the gypsies, committing the crime of "becoming American," that earned her the hatred of many gypsies. Things got worse when his grandfather, the great Tene Bimbo died, the king of the gypsies named as heir to his grandson, delivering his most valuable possessions, his ring and medallion. His father, Carranza, rightfully believed that he deserved the title of king, and showed his displeasure by exploiting the business of Steve and the house of his foster parents. Soon after, sold to Steve's sister in marriage to a family of gypsies, her desperate call to Steve to go to save her from marrying. Steve broke into the house of his parents and wounded his father with a bullet in his leg in an attempt to kill him. Shortly after he was attacked by the bodyguards of his father in a bar, leaving him with seven stabbed in the back and a scar under the corner of his eye.
After that, he returned home, with the mission of the gypsies modernizer. He said he would open schools to teach reading and writing gypsies. Steve began to change the lives of several gypsies, they began to work and learned to read and write. At this point in the story, Steve knows the author of this book and begins to relate his life and the turbulent history of his tribe, the Bimbos. The author Also learn the history of the gypsy people. They left India thousands of years ago and crossed Asia Minor, spreading throughout the Middle East and Africa. They came to Europe and lived there throughout the Middle Ages, surviving the changes and persecution to the present day. Steve now gets a call from other of his sisters, who also asked for help. From this point, the author accompanies Steve to rescue his sister. They come to New York and there Steve learns that his sister was admitted to hospital for attempting suicide. They manage to get her out of the hospital and take it to California, at this point the author is separated from Steve and the story ends.
Critica points of view:
* The story shows one interesting phenomenon, as the world of gypsies, a world of tribal conflicts and illegal business goes unnoticed around us. The gypsy people have for centuries lived under the same rules and taboos while the rest of society has become modern. Although the majority and them can not read or write, they bloom in most of the world including the U.S., and many have big business dates back as in the case of Steve, who all had knowledge of from experience.
* The most striking about the story is the fact that all the events that occurred in it in fact occurred, the author sought all information about the gypsy lifestyle, from their habits to their way of cheating and stealing by interviewing gypsies. He also found up many cases of big theft looking in police files. In a personal opinion, the best feature of the book is the way in which the author recounts the reality and not a fictional story.
* Finally, it would be good to highlight the simple vocabulary and easy way in which it tells the story. The story uses colloquial language, including strong language and dialogue that could be omitted in other books. I think a lot of people would might find this book really interesting.