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The Little Wagons: The Traumatic Birth of Sicily's Cosa Nostra Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
This book seemed like the longest book I have ever read. Probably, as long as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. It was lengthy yet very informative. It exhaustingly narrated how the what we now know as the infamous Italian mafia started -its very roots. It somehow made me understand the workings of the brotherhood as it was originally purported to be. Supposedly, it was created to promote equality and brotherhood. There is strength in brotherhood but alliances and loyalties could easily change. It is as volatile as burning sulphur. It could easily shift and turn just as fast as emptying a cup of beer. How to put equality in the picture, when you think about the mafia is a totally bizarre idea. This story will tell you what started as a very noble idea became twisted and equality was erased out of the equation. How the brotherhood catered and served only its elite members and how power was abused to its very core.
This was a difficult and bloody saga of Italian men born of poverty and despair, that in order to survive they had to do what is necessary. There was never a choice. The main character in this story, Tommaso di Bova, started as a carusi and advanced to become a pickman (picconieri) and then later became the head of the brotherhood (fratellanza). To become a pickman, he has to go through a baptism of fire and fight for his life. And before he became the rappresentante, he has to endure a lot of hardships, treachery, and tragedy.
This story is painful, horrifying and tragic. It reminded me of how easily people could betray and kill for the sake of one's purposes and motives. How revenge could easily be the reason for breathing. How some people could change allegiance to maintain their status quo or to advance their dreams. How arrogance, selfishness, and greed could be the ticket to more material wealth but could also be the cause of downfall.
This is a very well-written story. It could have been the account of the original founders of the fratellanza. It was written in a very convincing and authentic way. Crozier Green is a master story-teller. His words were not flowery or to flamboyant but they carry the weight of their meaning. There was no fear of misunderstanding them. I don't know how else to describe this book but I was taken in and resistance was futile. It took no prisoners.
I give the book 5/5 little wagons. This made me think of the current college and university fraternities in the Philippines. I think these fraternities could have taken its roots with the Italian idea of brotherhood. It hurts to think that to be included and embraced into this elite brotherhood, one has to go through a painful initiation. I think modern-day hazing could be traced back to the same idea of the Sicilians in this story. There have been a lot of deaths caused by hazing in fraternities. And like the vow of silence (omerta) fostered by the original fratellanza, some of those deaths have become casualties of this so-called brotherhood.
...but passion would always come off second best to vengeance.
- Crozier Green, The Little Wagons -
This is a voluntary review. I was gifted a copy by the publisher.
Totally gripped by, 'gold from flees'.
I have never seen 'The Godfather', read anything about the Sicilian Mafia and knew little of the Mafia's origins so, it was straight in at the deep end - deep in the bowels of the earth, that is. From page one of Little Wagons, Crozier, with his beautiful and visual writing has you hooked This a historical thriller, a hard-hitting, powerful book, whose beautifully drawn characters, like them or not, has you on the edge of your seat.
Abject poverty abides amongst the idyllic olive and lemon groves, and human life is cheap. Children as young as six are sold by their parents for little more than the price of a bag of groceries - sold into prostitution or to the sulphur mines to become, 'Little Wagons'- carusi, where they are bound like human livestock into a life slavery and early death - unless fortunate enough to be chosen for promotion. Here lies the crux of the gripping story.
Gold from Flees is how Crozier expresses it. The overlords make the money, the flees / carusi and their poverty stricken families, being expendable don't stand a chance, and that seems to epitomize the corruption, brutality and violence on every level in vendetta-ridden 19th century Sicily.
Even if you are someone (like me) who shudders at the thought of violence, this book is a must read - I was pulled into the story and just couldn't put it down.
The Little Wagons is suspense-full, fast-paced, well-written book that deserves five stars for its vivid characterization. Even minor characters are well-described. I won't forget any of them soon.
The plot, involving as it does the entwined lives of four different people, is handled well. The opening description of the sulphur mines brings the reader into a hellish, claustrophobic world. The setting alone is sufficient to explain why men would do anything, including murder to escape from it.
The Little Wagons is a great read and a terrific historical account of the beginnings of the crime families that have plagued Italy.
The Little Wagons took me to places that I'm unlikely to ever visit, leaving me with rich memories of claustrophobia in sulfur mines, the smell of blood, wine and roasting swine in the heat of a Sicilian town square, the sound of cannonballs leveling sections of dank, hopeless prison that was my home, torture chamber and university. It is so fantastically easy to place yourself right there through the richness of the prose and you simply cannot wait to see where you will travel to next.
Fortunately, this book truly is much more than a travel guide; the struggle of the protagonists, both against each other and to climb ever higher in the harsh world they inhabit ensures that the pages keep turning fast .
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