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Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family Hardcover – March 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (March 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060163577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060163570
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During the 1920s the Gambinos, members of the New York Cosa Nostra "Five Families," which also included the Colombo, Bonanno, Lucchese and Genovese families, controlled many businesses in Gotham. Among their strongholds were private carting, garment industry trucking and construction. The mob also had a powerful pull in the meat and supermarket businesses, along with the customary enterprises of loansharking, extortion and pornography. Additionally, the dons, having forbidden trafficking in drugs to subordinates, could not resist the vast profits and became involved themselves. Mafia founding fathers Vincent and Philip Mangano were succeeded by Albert Anastasia, who was murdered in 1957. The most effective leader, shows Davis, was Carlo Gambino, who emerged supreme in 1970, reigned for 19 years and was succeeded by his cousin Paul Castellano until he was killed at the behest of John Gotti, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Davis ( Mafia Kingfish ) explores the history of the Cosa Nostra from its roots in Italy and brilliantly depicts the violent, vicious, vulgar brotherhood. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

One of New York City's five Mafia families, the Gambinos have been variously bossed by Albert Anastasia, Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, and--until his recent conviction (life imprisonment without parole)--most infamously by the flamboyant John Gotti. The author believes, perhaps prematurely, that the government's court victories have spelled the Mafia's doom. Davis, whose most recent work was Mafia Kingfish ( LJ 12/88), is most successful in chapters on Gotti and his final trial. Less inspired, though adequate, is the historical material, which has all been done before. In addition to John Cummings and Ernest Volkman's Goombata ( LJ 4/15/90) and Gene Mustain and Jerry Capeci's Mob Star (Watts, 1988), we can expect more books about Gotti; until then, this latest account is suitable for organized crime collections.
- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Konrei TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The introduction to MAFIA DYNASTY is author John Davis' historical recounting of the roots of the Sicilian Mafia and Neapolitan Camorra, and how these two groupings coalesced into the Five Families of New York in the early days of the twentieth century. After that, MAFIA DYNASTY quickly loses the reader's attention.

The Gambino Family has always been of particular interest to this reviewer personally, having grown up in Massapequa, Long Island during the time of Don Carlo's residence there, when the grass dared not grow crooked. In actuality, residents of the town heard little of the Gambinos, though Massapequa suffered few such indignities as graffiti, petty thefts and the like until the mid-1970s. To this day, the town is a fly in the amber, almost 1950ish in its atmosphere.

Thus, MAFIA DYNASTY seemed to be a promising read. It is interesting---but that is all. Essentially a rehashing of information readily available elsewhere, MAFIA DYNASTY barely scratches the surface. It tells us nothing new about the Gambino Family or of its allies and rivals. Its 500 pages look somewhat daunting for a Mass Market paperback but this book is nothing more than a quick sprint past its subject, throwing in a few over-the-shoulder glances at the major figures involved for good measure.

Rather than a primary focus on Don Carlo, the late John Gotti would seem to be the centerpiece. Never the apotheosis of the Godfather, the "Dapper Don" was really just an overpromoted soldier, cunning, egotistic, brutal and inflexible, who presided over the collapse of an empire he did not help build and could not maintain in the face of outside pressures.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Chopra on June 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book does more than only focusing on the Gambino Crime Family. It throws light on the history, rise, power, and decline of the big five crime families. Because, out of the five, Gambino Crime Family was the most powerful and organized, so it tells you in detail about the bosses of this family, which includes: Albert Anastasia, Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, and John Gotti. However, Vincent Mangano, who was the boss of the family before Anastasia, is ignored in this book, which is quiet strange, as he played the most important part in Gambino Crime Family for more than twenty years. Many reviewers have complained that Davis has given too much detail on Gotti, but I think it is because it was Gotti who gave the Gambino Crime Family the face we know.

The book is very well written, and even though it is full of lengthy details and gives so much information (sometimes Davis goes overboard), it still manages to keep the readers glued. I will give four stars to this book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John M. Bitowt,Jr. on October 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a classical,well written book concerning the Gambino's! It's a very large book,yet it has a very large story to tell to anyone who is a fan of the Mafia/Gambinos. It's like a time line in the book,starting with when the five familys were divided,and the Gambinos started as the Mangano family according to the newly developed commission, by Lucky Luciano! As the family grew,so did the needs of the capos,especially "the Mad Hatter" Anastasia, who killed both Mangano brothers,Phillip and Vincenzo, one was under the Syphillis bug and would rant and rave, and without other,one wasn't enough to stop Anastasia who himself was whacked by the young and up'n coming Carlo Gambino, the reasons for that remain to this day complex,Albert was accused of many things and Carlo with the permission of the Commission was given the okay. I would have to say,during Carlo's reign the whole Mafia/all 5 Familys prospered more than they ever did or ever will including present. Things started to divide when in Carlo's old age, his brother in law Paul Castellano(underboss)& Aneillo Dellacroce(underboss)for longer than Paul,who was more of a businessman,dealing with the Family's legitimate interests and left the streets for "Mr.Neil", who's favorite capo was non other than "the Dapper Don". As you continue to read, you suddenly notice the rift between Paul's and Neil's crews, meanwhile Carlo's sick awaiting death. Alot of the soldatos and capos though "Mr.Neil",should be the boss upon the death of DonCarlo. But as you know from the movie, FatPaulie was the one who was bumped up to BOSS, not Neil,who wasn't even that mad due to the cancer that he was himself dying from. As boss Paul showed major disrespect in not attending Mr.Neil's wake or even funeral!Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jaha on January 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim. I had just read the Westies and I wanted to learn more about the Italian mafia. Well this book was probably the best I could have picked up for an overview and it led me to some other more cetralized books. I see a lot of reviewers have complained that it centers too much on Gotti and yes this is true. In fact the book mostly focuses on Gotti and Castellano. I feel this is because there isn't much to go on for the older bosses in the way of written history. Davis does a good job of piecing together bits to create a history of the Cosa Nostra from the turn of the century to Carlo Gambino. You can tell that information is pretty scarce because he moves quickly through the bosses and the histroy and you get to Castellano after like 200 pages. Most of Davis's information comes from Gotti's and Castellano's tapes. Therefore the remainder of the book gets very detail oriented and recounts much of the history at a pretty rapid pace. One thing I think Davis could have done better would have to not be so repetitive about quotes. He used many of Gotti's and Castellano's quotes from the tapes and testimony over and over. But if you are looking for a solid history and are new to this genre of reading then this is probably the best you can find. Then if you want more precise novels pick up; Boss of Bosses, Bound By Honor, The Westies, Wiseguy, Donnie Brasco, Underboss, etc...
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