Whitey's Kid: An Autobiography (Paperback)
Whitey's Kid is an autobiographical memoir of Dr. Bernard (aka "Bernie") Koire (1928 - 2018), the son of a notorious Jewish gangster, decorated Korean War veteran, and one of the pioneering plastic surgeons of Beverly Hills.
Bernie grew up in Kensington, Pennsylvania-up the Delaware River from Philadelphia. It was a 200-year-old immigrant entry point and then a failed industrial ghetto for the Irish, Polish, Italians, and Jews. The streets were mean-instructive and formative for him, especially as the second-generation son of a mobster. Bernie's future seemed dim at best, but he literally was a fighter, with a passion for discovery and learning, who excelled in school. Over two tumultuous decades, Bernie finds himself in numerous difficult situations, some dangerous and others hilarious. And despite the odds, he emerges from his background to become an early innovative plastic surgeon with a zest for storytelling, adventure, risk-taking, and world service. When not practicing in Beverly Hills, Bernie travels with his wife Nina to perform surgery on medical missions in remote locations around the world. While on these trips, he finds adventure and mishaps, including encounters with characters such as the Shah of Iran and Mother Teresa.
Whitey's Kid traces some of the earliest evidence of the mob connections and volatility of the Philadelphia-New York mob turf wars which ended in the mysterious and unsolved death of Whitey Cohen. The book introduces the impact on his son of the experience of living with a "made" guy in the Jewish mafia. It traces the life and times of a street kid to a leader in his chosen medical field. The book celebrates a child who was forged in the reality of being worse than fatherless, and translated that experience into an inspiring tribute to hard work, risk taking, persistence and perseverance. Bernie is a stubborn visionary who never fully abandons the lessons of the streets and is filled with a passion for risk, travel, and occasional visits into his dark side without apology.