Memoir covers mafia, corruption, racial tensions
TAMPA, Fla. (September 24, 2019) — Anthony Scarpo, a 1979 graduate of Chamberlain High School, is set to release his book, La Mia Famiglia: Never Let Them Steal Your Name, detailing his family’s struggles to escape the tradition of organized crime and his storied life of growing up locally in the ’60s and ’70s. The book recalls his childhood and retraces landmarks that stretch from Plant City to Lutz and Sulphur Springs to Ybor City.
Scarpo, who now resides in South Tampa with his wife and two children, was raised in the East and North Tampa areas of town. His father, Art Scarpo, owned bars in Sulphur Springs and later Plant City. For years, Art Scarpo scuffled with the Trafficante crime family, one of the pillars of the American mafia. But young Tony had no idea why his father came home beaten and bloodied — until he became an adult.
The memoir is written from a young boy’s perspective from the ages of 5 to 19. Readers will recognize some of the sites and social references in Scarpo’s book, including race relations at Young Junior High, dead bodies dumped in East Tampa pits and North Tampa, and carnie life in Gibsonton, or Gibtown.
Many of the landmarks that served as a backdrop to Scarpo’s stories still stand today.
Scarpo’s life was filled with unusual memories and characters, most of which he thought was normal, including: the mafia beheading of 100 of his grandfather’s chickens to send a message; his mother’s best friends were a part of the carnival freak show culture: The Bearded Lady and Alligator Man; and he discovered his best friend’s family were Satan worshippers and law enforcement officers, too.
Scarpo began digging into his past at the urging of his children and decided it had all the makings of a fascinating memoir.
“I knew I had to record all of it because you just can’t make this up,” said Scarpo, who did change some names to protect identities. “My hope is that readers will enjoy another perspective of Tampa’s history.”
Scarpo will host an exclusive invitation-only book launch party at the Tampa Yacht & County Club on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. The media is invited to attend.