Media & Reviews
When James LaRossa visits his ailing father at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, what he finds is al but reassuring. His 77- year-old father, Jimmy, once a proud and successful defense attorney, lays weak and dying, hooked up to every machine and bag in the ICU. They both know Jimmy doesn’t have much time left, but James, the dutiful son, is resolved to make Jimmy’s remaining days on Earth as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. After months of planning and transforming his California home into a miniature hospital, James flies his father out to the West Coast where he can give Jimmy all the tender love and care he needs.
The LaRossas made the right call. Thanks to James’ own success and experience in medical publishing, the father-son duo can spend less time worrying about hospital staff and more time living the good life. The two enjoy Jimmy’s favorite Italian meals, visit local beaches, and travel the world. While Jimmy’s line of work enabled him to provide for his family, it left very few chances for him to bond with his son. Now, decades later, they have the chance to make up for lost time.
As the author cares for his father over the next five years, he recounts the fascinating story of a man who seemed more like a secret agent than an attorney. Jimmy’s life is laid out in full from life in the marines to prosperous trial lawyer, and a generous but distant father. What more, Jimmy dives into the film-worthy courtroom battles of his career, defending big-name Mafia bosses like Paul Castellano and dueling with New York’s top prosecutors.
Last of the Gladiator’s is more than a biography about the author’s father, perhaps the number one defense attorney of the twentieth century. It’s a journey of self-reflection for the author, who begins to come to terms with own mental illness and the effects it has on his own relationships. It’s a vivid portrait of a man who stood toe to toe with drug runners, crime lords, and corrupt politicians in twentieth century New York. But at its heart, it is a love story between a father and son that celebrates how, time and again, faith conquers all.
Last of the Gladiators, A Son’s Memoir, is now available from Bancroft Press in hard cover.