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The Mammoth Book of the Mafia Paperback – July 28, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The first part of the book is about the history of the Mafia and some of the legendary events of the early 1900's. The second part of the book is mostly profiles of former gangsters turned Mafia informants, like Donnie Brasco and Jimmy Fratianno, just to name a few. This book covers so many interesting stories/events, it's really impressing. Learn more about: the birth of the Mafia in Sicily; the rise of Lucky Luciano; the Castellammarese War; the history of the Black Hand; the story of Calogero Vizzini and the impact he had on his fellow Italians and more. Discover how it is to infiltrate the mob and to live a double life as FBI informant; learn more about the life of Tony Spilotro, the gangster behind Joe Pesci's character in the movie "Casino"; former Mafia hitmen takes you step by step and explain how they prepare before doing "their job", and more. In this book you'll find profiles of so many interesting characters: Cesare Mori, a courageous man who had instructions to wipe out the Mafia; Joseph Valachi, the first gangster who turned informant and who exposed the Mafia; Richard Kuklinski, the contract killer who claimed to have killed over 200 people; Joey Black, the hitman regarded by many as being the original "Soprano"; Albert Demeo, son of a gangster who followed in his father's footsteps before becoming a lawyer; Donald Frankos, alias The Greek, who was a Mafia hitman for 45 years and who was one of the most reliable killer of his era, and more.Read more ›
When I found this book in the twice-discounted bin, I spent no time shelling out the few euros it cost me. Come to think of it, this book would've been worth full price too. I scanned the stories in the store and went home to read this book at one go.
Every story in the book is worth telling. Some of them illustrate the origins of the Cosa Nostra, others tell of the early days in America. The chilling bits are the tales of the hitmen, such as Richard Kuklinski and Joey Black. The way these men saw their trade as a service, and how they sold murders on a contract, is a chilling reminder of how there are psychopaths among us, people who deem themselves above the law and invested with the power to deliver the ultimate punishment.
In a way, when you read this book, you have to admit to yourself that there is an internal logic to this world, one that is very definite and strong, but definitely outside that of normal life. I especially came to admire the way Donnie Brasco's contact, Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, took the news of his betrayal by the FBI agent. He died in prison rather than turn informant.
This book is a must- have for all fans of true crime, and as an entry point it serves well as your first book on the subject.
-Heikki Hietala, author of Tulagi Hotel