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Bringing Down the Mob: The War Against the American Mafia Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Reppetto, who served as a commander of detectives with the Chicago police and was president of New York City's Citizens Crime Commission for more than 20 years, is one of the rare commentators on the contemporary Mafia who has been able to view the Mob's power grabs and struggles from the inside. This account follows his acclaimed American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power (2003). Whereas that book (ending in the early 1950s) focused on the many strands of organized crime coalescing into a multifaceted force that functioned almost as an independent state within the U.S., this volume traces the decline of the Mafia from the Apalachin raid of top-level mobsters meeting in New York through Robert Kennedy's Mafia-busting campaign, and on to the planting in a cornfield of Chicago mobster Tony Spilotro, and the incarceration of New York crime boss John Gotti. Reppetto concludes this exhaustive and fascinating study with an analysis of the scattered state of the Mafia today. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"American Mafia... was lucid, concise, and devoid of sensationalism... This equally well-written sequel is cogent and coherent." - The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805078029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805078022
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Thomas A. Reppetto, a former Commander of Detectives in the Chicago Police Department, received his doctorate from Harvard and was a professor, dean and vice-president at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

For over a quarter-century he headed the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. Previous heads of New York crime commissions had come to grief. One, a prominent minister, was immortalized in song for visiting houses of prostitution. Another, was an assistant district attorney whose solution of a mob murder prompted Hollywood to make a movie about him. At the Commission, he was jailed for refusing to name a confidential source. During his own tenure as Commission head Reppetto managed to avoid both houses of prostitution and a jail cell but there were no songs or movies written about him.

Reppetto's various book's look behind the scenes at policing, the American Mafia, and counter terrorist agencies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Historian on June 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After reading "American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power" l looked forward to the author's second book on the history of the decline of the American Mafia and am happy to write that l thoroughly enjoyed it and in fact it is superior to his first book. Thomas Reppetto brings his substantial experience of law enforcement combined with his brilliant historical analysis of organized crime and is able to write a precise, informative and profound book. If you only read two books on the history of the American Mafia you cannot go wrong if you read these two books.

The book begins with the famous raid on a meeting of national mafia kingpins at Apalachin on a mild November day in 1957 led by Detective Sergeant Edgar Croswell of the New York State Police. The author debunks the theory it was a random raid by some hick country cops but a predetermined blow at organized crime by a polished and professional group of able and determined policeman. So this chapter sets the tone of the book as it details the efforts of the various state and Federal Police Agencies and Justice Departments (including the FBI playing catch-up after years of neglect by Hoover) to gain intelligence about the illegal operations of the mafia families and its mobsters with a view to putting the mafia families out of business (such as construction, transport, union racketeering, garbage disposal, fruit and meat markets, share trading and allowing legitimate business to flourish without criminal interference) and putting the mobsters away in jail for as long as possible.

The law enforcement agencies were helped in their task by favorable Federal Government legislation from the 1960's onward.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Peterman on June 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Reppetto's previous book, American Mafia, which described the ascendancy of the American Mafia from the late 1800's to the mid-50's. After providing the rise of the Mob, now Reppetto gives us the fall.

This book starts with the Apalachin raid on a Mafia conference in upstate New York State, which caught the Mafia off guard, seemingly by a small town police department in 1957. It is here where Reppetto dates the start of the mob's downfall. Over the next five decades, increased focus on the Mafia from prosecutors and the FBI, new laws such as the RICO statutes, and Mafia incompetence decimated this once proud organization. One only needs to compare movies like the first Godfather movie from the early 70's and the Soprano's television series to see how the mafia declined in America's popular culture from a secret group of men of honor engaged in illegal business, to a cartoonish group of morally bankrupt thugs.

I actually liked this book better than American Mafia, as it was easier to follow and was a more coherent history, rather than a loosely held collection of stories which sometime distracted from Reppetto's previous work. It's no small feat to write a five decade history of an loosely affiliated organizations all over the United States, but Reppetto provides an effective history that never gets bogged down in detail or seems too fragmented. He also writes with dark humor, no doubt developed during his years in law enforcement that embellishes this work, and never seems inappropriate. Highly recommended for Mafia buffs out there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William D. Tompkins on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is written in a tex-book style which is so perfectly crafted with police like detail to thehistory of mob events. The only mis-representation for the book is the cover which almost led me to believe that this would have been written with a yellow journalism tinge to it, rather the book is crafted most perfectly and reads with absolute flow.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Brzeczek on May 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are few people who can chronicle a topic in criminal justice with the scholarly erudition of Tom Reppetto. He combines his innate brilliance, his distinguished law enforcement career and his superb academic credentials in presenting a factual, detailed and accurate account of the government's efforts against the criminality of the American Mafia. The precision of his definition as well as his dedication to a factual accounting sets him apart from other authors writing about the "mafia" with their primary objective of appealing to the prurient entertainment interests of the unwary American reader. If you want to know [...] the American Mafia, Mr. Reppetto's works are a must read. Standing above and apart from the "spaccones", he is distinguished in his efforts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on October 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Thomas Reppetto has provided us with another volume to complement his earlier work entitled American Mafia. The book begins with the 1957 Apalachin conclave in upstate New York which began the Mafia's downfall. The election of President John Kennedy and the appointment of his brother Robert as Attorney General to begin the 1960's turned into what the mob felt was a double cross as pressure was put on the mob and their dealings. When Lyndon Johnson took over for the assassinated Kennedy efforts were concentrated on civil rights and the Vietnam war rather than the mafia. However, through the following decades federal law enforcement, rather than state, has made it difficult for the mob to survive. The mob "superstars" if you will are all here, and old age, imprisonment, or death has removed them from the scene with no big names to replace them. The author warns the mob may be a shadow of its former self, but if we ignore its presence it may once again regain its past influence. There were times in the book I felt the author jumped back and forth on a particular subject, but it in no way detracted from my interest in the book. In addition I found there to be humorous anecdotes, if that's possible on this subject, in the book. Whether you've read his previous effort entitled American Mafia or not I'm sure you will enjoy Bringing Down the Mob. It is certainly worth your time.
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