From Publishers Weekly
Newark [N.J.] Star-Ledger crime reporter Kleinknecht, after reviewing the history of the Italian Mafia and pointing out that notices of its demise are premature, turns his sights on the newcomers to the field. Although his account of the Cosa Nostra doesn't offer many new revelations, it is apparent that he has done his homework on the Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Hispanics, blacks and Russians. He analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each ethnic group, ranging from the lack of permanent leadership among African-Americans to the career-criminal backgrounds of many Russians and Cubans. He is not optimistic about the future but expresses the hope that some city will try to legalize heroin and cocaine, since law enforcement isn't winning the drug war. An impressive survey. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Kleinknecht gives a necessary caveat at the start of his book: his discussion of criminals deals only with a small portion of each ethnic community. No longer is the Mob limited to those of Italian descent; in fact, the proliferation of black, Jewish, Chinese, Latino, Russian, and even Vietnamese gangs lends an air of omnipresence to these mini-Mafias. The new ethnic mobs have been on the rise since about the 1970s, with many of the newer Asian and Cuban gangs grabbing for a piece of the lucrative narcotics pie during the last decade or so. Kleinknecht's hard-nosed prose highlights the gritty world of these mobs and their battles for supremacy with one another and with old-time Mob families, whose traditional stranglehold on organized crime saw its death knell when boss John Gotti was convicted; interestingly, though, Kleinknecht's book points out that a vacuum will always be filled, especially a criminal one. Joe Collins