Paris, France - 1969
This is the cover of Les Ministres du Crime (The Ministers of Crime), the story of infamous gangsters in America with descriptions of their illegal activities. The first edition of this book, which was written in French only, came out in 1958 and was titled Les Caïds de New York (The Big Shots of New York). My uncle Stephane, who was my uncle, wrote this book in collaboration with his good friend and colleague Dominique Lapierre. The revised version (the one pictured here) with the updated title came out in 1969. Raymond Cartier, who was my uncle Stephane’s mentor, wrote the preface for this book.The authors of this book are two of the most important people in my life. What they did for me changed my destiny forever: They arranged for me, my mother, my uncle Boubi and Mrs. Vetka Tchaprachikova (a dear friend of my family) to flee from communist Bulgaria. Thanks to them, I currently live in the United States, the land of freedom and opportunity. Without their dedication for me and my family, I would probably still be living under less-than-desirable conditions in a country that was ravaged by nearly half a century of communism.Since this book came out (it was actually his first one), my uncle Stephane has written several other ones including Manhattan Project: The Untold Story of the Making of the Atomic Bomb, L’Homme et La Mer (Man and the Sea), L’Homme et la Terre (Man and the Earth), L’Homme et le Cosmos (Man and Outer Space), Crown of Thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943 and My Odyssey, his autobiography.Dominique Lapierre was also the author of many international best-sellers including City of Joy, Beyond Love, Is Paris Burning?, Is New York Burning?, O Jerusalem!, A Thousand Suns, Freedom at Midnight and Five Past Midnight in Bhopal and many other great books.In 1981, Dominique Lapierre founded a humanitarian association called City of Joy Aid* that helps children in the slums of Calcutta who suffer from leprosy. His organization is supported by half the royalties from his literary successes. Mr. Lapierre went back to Calcutta to visit his “children” and stayed there two years doing research, after which he published another best-seller, City of Joy. This book, which was made into a major motion picture starring Patrick Swayze, has sold over eight million copies. It tells the epic survival story of the population of one of India’s poorest slums. It received the prestigious U.S. literary Christopher Award. I am very grateful for having known my uncle Stephane and Mr. Lapierre, two of the most wonderful and caring individuals I’ve ever known! It’s people like them who make this world a better place.