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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gambino Crime Family - Explained!
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...
Published on June 9, 2006 by A. Chopra

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall of A Sicilian Empire
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...
Published on December 25, 2005 by Konrei


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall of A Sicilian Empire, December 25, 2005
By 
Konrei "Everything I need is right here" (Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (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.

Davis seems to have little interest in exploring the hows, whys and wherefores of this admittedly amazing rise and fall, and leaves the reader feeling shortchanged. This book could have been and should have been far better than it is, had the author felt like doing a little more homework for extra credit. As it is, I'll give MAFIA DYNASTY a pass.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gambino Crime Family - Explained!, June 9, 2006
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (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
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Gambino's from Mangano to Gotti!!", October 6, 2000
By 
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (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! To those who were with Gotti,they knew Gotti would definitely whack out Castellano. He got the backing of all of the Gambino Capos, they voted yes, then on December 16 Gotti had DeCiccio arrange a meet with Paul,his driver/bodyguardTom"Wigs" Bilotti,along with Tommy Gambino,Carlo's son,who was informed and promised that no one would lift a finger in his direction, and that he should keep earning like before. As Paulie got out of the car, Gotti's soldiers where on him like bees to honey, three from the front,three from the back,six just for Paul and as Bilotti was hiding behind the LIncoln's door, three more came from across the street and gave him a lead supper like his boss.After that Gotti took over and things where good until he became a target for the FBI, mainly because he kept beating Court cases, one a RICO,One Assault,I'm not certain,the book has it all and in order. He got them so ticked that they bugged his Social Club and the rest is history. At present Gotti has been moved to a Hospital for a cancerous lump in his throat, God Bless Him and his personal family.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid Mafia history, January 23, 2003
By 
Jaha (CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At once, sobering and comical, February 28, 2003
By 
The Don Wood Files (Fredericksburg, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (Mass Market Paperback)
Read this book for a corrective to the seductive powers of Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather trilogy and HBO's The Sopranos, which promote the "The Family" in more or less sympathetic tones. Davis' narrative combines historical research (locating the roots of Cosa Nostra in 19th century feudal Italy), psychological profiling (well-drawn portraits of the genius Carlo Gambino, luxury-loving but ultimately out-of-touch Paul Castellano, and blowhard John Gotti), and legal journalism (blow-by-blow accounts of the three Gotti trials of the 1980s and 1990s). There are comical moments, most notably Castellano's tawdry affair with his maid (caught on FBI tapes) and Gotti's obscenity-laden self-incriminating boasting that he always knows what is going on (while being taped), and mob lawyer Bruce Cutler's courtroom tirades. But most of all, there is throughout the undeniable rot of organized crime, where murder is treated not as a sin, but as a business expense. Despite some grammatical errors and occasionally too much information (the book could have been better edited in my view), this book will balance out American culture's strange ambivalence regrading organized crime.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much Gotti, August 17, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (Mass Market Paperback)
John Davis has definitely done his research. He is a good soty teller, and I will probably read more of his books. My problem is with the title. It leads you to believe this book is about the Gambino Family. Only the first 150 pages really talks about the previous bosses. The rest is about John Gotti. I was looking into reading about the older bosses, but instead got another book about Mr. Gotti. If you haven't read any of the books about Gotti, than this is a good buy for you, as you will learn a little of the history about the Gambino Family, and then also get a book about Gotti.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erroneous in many places, but solid, January 14, 2002
By 
Joseph (Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (Mass Market Paperback)
John H. Davis obviously wanted this book to be his crown jewel among his other works, and it doesn't fall too short of a good effort in the end. For one, the writing in the book is readable and well formatted -- more so than other authors like Pileggi and Roemer -- and he has also attempted to give the birthdate of nearly all the characters in the book. Unfortunately, his attempts go very awry and he makes an error on nearly everyone's birthdate/age in the story. The picture section is nice, but nearly all the dates are wrong, and the character's ages at different periods are very muddled, such as Sal Maranzano being born in 1868 (according to Davis), but being in his "mid forties" in 1931. There are many other such discrepancies but they are somewhat unimportant, the largest error being his reliance on other people's books for his storytelling. The book on Paul Castellano by the two special agents (which I have read three times) is not all that reliable, and several upper-echelon FBI employees have contradicted their bugging and surveillance techniques, instead saying that their story is bolony. Perhaps the biggest mistake was focusing on the media's darling, John Gotti, ... But, succumbing to popular demand, Davis focuses half if not most of the story on Gotti and his violent antics rather than telling the full story on the legendary Carlo Gambino or the aloof but erudite Paul Castellano. As a result, we get a rehash of aforamentioned events told from books such as Goombata (Volkman, 1990) and Gangbusters: How The FBI Broke The Mob.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the brief deviation from the Gambino story, where Davis meets Mr. Lucky Luciano, the original boss of bosses, in Naples, and has a kurt but direct exchange with him about the roots of organized crime in America. This is telling of Davis' skill has a intervewer, and it shows that he has seen the landscapes of Italy he so vividly described in the introduction.
Still, after reading the 500-page tome, one has the feeling of having read an extremely long news article, rather than a fulfilling biography.
6.5/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, September 28, 2006
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (Mass Market Paperback)
Rise and fall of the mafia. Good history on the Gambinos and other mafia. Some typos and a clear violent book. Read the book it's pretty good. I had to use sticky yellow paper to write down notes and keep track of the story the book has lots of pages so you might get lost in the story. There's present and past stories that's why I got lost so I had use notes. Interesting book overall life of an outlaw.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Intriguing, January 10, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read several books regarding organized crime, but above all, this book has been the best. Not only did it give a history of how organized crime came about and has evolved, but it also gave information and insights on the several families involved in organized crime. The insights ranged from capos to bosses. Magnificently written and deliciously intriguing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Look for Any Role Models Here, February 13, 2011
By 
Bill Emblom "Bill Emblom" (Ishpeming, Michigan USA) - See all my reviews
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I realize some reviewers have not received this book favorably because it doesn't contain any new information. However, who among us is such an expert that we know all there is to know in this book of over 400 pages? I feel this book covers the history of the Gambino crime family from the years 1931 beginning with the Mangano brothers through 1992 with John Gotti. We meet all the thugs, and that's what they are, thugs and nothing more, such as Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, the ever-smiling everyone's grandfather Carlo Gambino, the profane adulterer Paul Castellano, and John Gotti, the man wearing the $2,000.00 suit to accompany his cesspool mouth. In addition we are treated to a number of underbosses as well.

Understand this: The oath of Omerta is meaningless. Gangsters will sing to the law in order to save their own skin. Other thugs know this as well as witnessed by their ordering the killing of those who can testify against them for some crime that has been committed. John Gotti's vanity and loose lips did him in. They put up an artificial front for their adoring public, but when amongst their own they show they possess an extremely limited vocabulary.

It's fun to read about the mobsters, but in reality as this book aptly illustrates they are responsible for countless murders and an increase in prices that are passed on to all of us consumers as they rake in the millions through use of their barbaric tactics. They are nothing but a drag on society.
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Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family
Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family by John H. Davis (Mass Market Paperback - May 11, 1994)
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