Wiseguy | Study Guide

Nicholas Pileggi

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Course Hero. "Wiseguy Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 June 2017. Web. 18 Jan. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, June 23). Wiseguy Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 18, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/

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Course Hero. "Wiseguy Study Guide." June 23, 2017. Accessed January 18, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/.


Course Hero, "Wiseguy Study Guide," June 23, 2017, accessed January 18, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/.

Wiseguy | Chapter 15 | Summary



After Hill's release from prison, he has little money to his name, because he has had to pay so much to his lawyers and prison guards. Hill has no intention of "going straight" upon returning to civilian life. Within a day he flies to Pittsburgh—which violates his parole conditions—to pick up $15,000, his share of his new marijuana business. When he arrives, he finds his partner only has a few thousand dollars to give him. Hill fills a large suitcase with bricks of marijuana to bring back to New York instead. He's uncertain how he will sell it all, since Paul Vario has outlawed any kind of drug dealing among his wiseguys. After a week, however, he sells it all. Soon he begins wholesaling all kinds of drugs and starts his own crew. He also starts selling liquor, guns, and stolen jewelry. Hill joins a betting scheme to throw college basketball games at Boston College. But after a few mishaps, the players bungle the scheme, infuriating Hill and Burke.


Hill's release from prison reveals the price he paid to recreate his life on the inside to mirror his life on the outside—he is now broke because of the exorbitant amount of money he paid to his guards and legal team. Clearly, prison has not reformed Hill or turned him into a model citizen. If anything, he doubles down on his criminal dealings and entanglements with the Mafia in order to get back on top.

Hill's introduction to the drug business in prison now informs his new business moves in the outside world, despite his warnings from Paul Vario. Pileggi highlights how the risks Hill is taking are even bigger, with much more at stake—including expulsion from his very own mentor and father figure for going against his command. Hill doesn't seem to realize the "diversification" of his business interests is in fact widening his pool of risk to get caught again. It's unclear what, if anything would have caused Hill to reconsider the life he has chosen, as it seems he can't conceive of an alternative. In this light Pileggi shows how Hill virtually has no other job experience: to go "straight" would require an entire shift in Hill's worldview.

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