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The Mafia Encyclopedia Paperback – June 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0816056958 ISBN-10: 0816056951 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Checkmark Books; 3 edition (June 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816056951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816056958
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

They're all there, starting with Anthony Joseph Accardo (1906-1992), the Chicago mob leader known as Tony to crime pals, Mr. Accardo to underlings, Joe Batters to his subordinates, and as "having more brains before breakfast than Al Capone had all day" to syndicate supporters, and working through the alphabet to Abner "Longy" Zwillman (1899-1959), a crime-syndicate founder and New Jersey boss, one of the most feared of the Jewish Mafia, known as the "Al Capone of new Jersey," and much revered for his love affair with Jean Harlow.

Between Accardo and Zwillman, Carl Sifakis explores the lives, reputations, exploits, and subcultures of more than 450 Mafia perpetrators and personalities. Sifakis describes the individuals, codes of behavior, misdeeds, legal scrapes, rivalries, and flamboyant lifestyles associated with the world of organized crime--an entity whose existence J. Edgar Hoover denied for 30 years. Sifakis's research is thorough, and his subjects are nefarious and riveting. It's his feel for storytelling, however, that makes his encyclopedia so enjoyable. He writes about infamous characters such as Al Capone (who felt his bootlegging was merely a public service) and John Gotti (a.k.a. the Teflon Don, who's now serving a life sentence) as well as the Mafia Social Clubs, Donnie Brasco (the FBI agent who infiltrated the mob and sent more than 100 mobsters to prison), and the importance of slot machines to the post-Prohibition welfare of organized crime.

With nearly 100 pictures and illustrations, Sifakis's mob opus is required reading for Mafia buffs, and a remarkably engaging guide for anyone interested in a factual report on organized crime. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Since former crime reporter Sifakis's excellent Mafia Encyclopedia was first published in 1987, mob bosses John Gotti and Vinny "the Chin" Gigante have gone to jail and informer Sammy "the Bull" Gravano has reached the best sellers lists. Such Mafia shakeups have necessitated this extensive revision, which now boasts nearly 450 discerning entries covering the whole mobster universe from "Making Your Bones" to money laundering and the "Buckwheats" (painful murder methods); loansharking and the "Concrete scam"; favorite Mafia social clubs, restaurants, and burial grounds; and even an entry on Midnight Rose's, the Brooklyn candy store where so many of Murder, Inc.'s killings were planned. Sifakis's prose is free of the typical platitudes about "honor" or "blood oaths." He points out that the most important Mafia figure was not Al Capone but Lucky Luciano, who, along with Meyer Lansky, "Americanized" and transformed the Prohibition-era booze rackets into "a national crime syndicate, a network of multi-ethnic gangs...which has bled Americans of incalculable billions over the years." Sifakis relishes the Mafia's vivid folklore without subscribing to it. The infamous score-evening slaughter of 1931 called the "Night of the Sicilian Vespers," in which dozens of Luciano's enemies were said to have been simultaneously eliminated nationwide, turns out to be mythology. And while Chicago and Vegas mobster John Roselli was probably not the JFK hitman (as alleged in Bill Bonanno's Bound by Honor, LJ 3/15/99, his accomplishments did include taking $400,000 from Phil Silvers, Zeppo Marx, and others in a famous rigged card game. For all crime collections.ANathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Very detailed and interesting book regarding the Mafia.
William M. Mccarter
I bought the first edition of this book when it first came out, and found it to be both knowledgeable and unbiased.
Diego Banducci
I was impressed by how much information was contained in the book.
Michael J Woznicki

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Tarrani on June 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Carl Sifakis is a crime reporter and freelance writer who, because he is a journalist and has connections, provides a unique perspective into the secret world of the Mafia. Mario Puzo brought to life the families behind the secret society, and Sifakis describes the events, terminology, members, murders, techniques, locales, and pawns of the most significant criminal organization in the world. Although most of the crime families have been publicly decapitated through imprisonment or death of the leaders, studying criminal compositions and actions provide an outline for criminal structures that can be found in terrorist groups today. Today there are different names, different motives, but follow the money, follow the murders, and history is repetitious.
Each letter of the alphabet begins a new heading, making this an easy to access reference book. A plethora of photographs, which include wanted posters, group 'shots' (sorry, just could not resist the pun), weapons, drawings, and home add to the knowledge base. As a writer, I find it extremely useful to study the picture and then write the description.
"Don Vito Cascio Ferro (1862-1932) is often called the 'greatest' of the Maria leaders in Sicily." The scheme of the protection payoffs in the USA is one of his masterpieces. Joseph Petrosino, New York police detective, went to Sicily (where Vito had established the key Mafia band) to gather information to bring La Familia before the law. He was killed before he accomplished his objectives. One of the theories is that the Mafia chieftain did the job himself. A rumor he espoused showing his power even over the NYPD.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David West on June 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Mafia Encyclopedia has really been a fun read. Little known facts about everyone from Al Capone down to some of the goons that worked for John Gotti are all described in detail, as are some of the more famous events in Mafia history. I have yet to find a more comprehensive book about the Mafia.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Woznicki HALL OF FAME on December 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ever stop and think about how powerful the mafia is? Ever wonder who made the mafia what it is today? Do movies accurately portray the crime bosses or is what you see all hype? The Mafia Encyclopedia will help clear up these questions and more.
Over 400 pages covers the A to Z listing of the Who's who in the mafia. The book have over 95 illustration and over 450 listings, something for everyone. You read about Capone, Niti, Gotti and so many others.
Find out who ran Murder, Inc. Read about how the change in power was accomplished, who may the orders and who carried them out. Along with all that you'll catch a glimpse of the rituals used by the mafia.
The book is well researched and very detailed. I was impressed by how much information was contained in the book. I like the price and this is certainly going to be a nice addition to my library.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gary Mark Fisher on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
As one with an interest in organised crime in I purchased this book to act as a reference work to have along side me when reading other works. However I have found it to be anything but dry and would recommend it to anybody with an interest, at what ever level, in the subject. Further I would challenge anyone to put it down again after reading just one entry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H. Savage on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
The author's ability to provide entertaining biographies and descriptive details of the underworld makes this a quick read. Useful for an overview, or a great book for those newly interested in the mafia. Unfortunately the sensationalism and matter-of-fact delivery that makes this book so easy to read is its downfall. Those who are somewhat versed in this topic will find themselves questioning details, or exclaiming: "Yes, but that's just part of the story." Still - I would recommend it as a starting point.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is tons of information in the Mafia Encyclopedia. Also in it are a lot of great, hard to find photos. If you are interested in organized crime, this book is for you!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Within the 400 pages of information it contains, there are dozens of descriptions of mobsters and Mafia events, almost one hundred rare photos, and much more. Just by reading this book, you can become an expert on the subject of the Mafia. Everything you would ever want to know is in it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent reference source and a fun book to read. This book covers all topics dealing with the Mafia. It covers big-time mobsters, little known mobsters, their affilliates and everything in-between. This book is a great rescource for anyone wanting to know about the Mafia. It is great reading as well. I really enjoyed this book. Sifakis comes up big with The Mafia Encyclopedia.
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