1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
fascinating and informative: a serious page turner,
This review is from: The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia (Hardcover)
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This book takes you all the way back to the early days of Sicily, when different nations fought over control of the island. Mike Dash lays out the historical background so we can better understand the cultural environment which gave rise to the Men of Respect, otherwise known as the Mafia. Through exhaustive research, Dash follows the early immigrants from Sicily, and how the menacing society slowly transformed from street gangs and hustlers to the nearly untouchable, highly organized and heirarchical "families" of the mid- to late- 20th century.
Almost as fascinating are the details of how police work was carried out: no computers or cell phones or surveilance equipment or modern forensics. We sit beside the federal agent Flynn and his men as they sweat long hours tailing suspected mafia. It's astounding how they were able to glean so much information with little to no technology.
The best thing about this book is its readability. Dash is a master of pace and tension, and places the exact details so the scenes come alive. The narrative text swiftly moves the reader along, and for those wanting more straight information, the book is heavily footnoted (about 35 pages of footnotes at the end) with an 8 page bibliography. If you have even the remotest interest in the life of the mafia, or crime in general, or American history, then read this book!