Straight from East New York, the dark heart of Brooklyn, Rumble in Brooklyn depicts the street fighting childhood of Joseph Trigoboff, who knew and exchanged blows with teen members of the New Lots Boys, an East New York street gang. Their leaders later became famous as the murderous mobsters depicted in the book Wiseguy and the Hollywood film Goodfellas. In some critical ways, Rumble  serves as a prequel to these other works. Joe's father, a teacher and the strongest man in the neighborhood, taught Joe how to street fight, while nurturing in him a love of American literature. The book also offers poignant scenes about the enduring power of childhood friendship in a world where compassion was rare and violent death common.