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Comment: Dust jacket has wear to the edges. Slight spotting to the top closed page edge. Binding tight. Pages clean, crisp and unmarked.
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The Mexican Mafia Hardcover – July 25, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rafael's debut book—a study of the Southern California–based Mexican mafia told mainly from the perspective of veteran Los Angeles deputy district attorney Anthony Manzella—is a revealing but flawed work. Despite occasional national headlines about drive-by shootings that claim innocent lives (including the granddaughter of an LAPD chief), most Americans are probably unfamiliar with the powerful, loosely organized street gangs that make up the Mexican mafia. Rafael does a workmanlike job of tracing the rise of these gangs, despite the occasional factual error (e.g., the RICO statute was used to indict criminal groups besides La Cosa Nostra before the Mexican mafia), but fails to dramatize his overly detailed account of Manzella's trials. Manzella is an interesting enough figure—a dedicated workaholic throwback who doesn't use a computer, or even an electric typewriter. But Rafael gives short shrift to the sociology of the rise of the Mexican mafia. Instead, he offers a final quote from Manzella (We know exactly the kind of families that produce criminals. I'd like to go in there and take them out. But we can't do that') will leave many with a sour taste that undercuts Rafael's attempts to make the deputy DA a hero. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

It's been called the most dangerous gang in American history. In Los Angeles alone, it's responsible for over 100 homicides per year. With less than 300 members, it controls a 40,000-strong street army of gangsters eager to throw down and stand up for the cause. It flies the flag of the Black Hand and its business is murder. Although known on the streets for over fifty years, the Mexican Mafia has flown under the radar of the public's awareness and flourished under a deep cover of secrecy. Members are forbidden to even acknowledge its existence. For the first time, in its history, the Mexican Mafia is getting the attention it's been trying to avoid. In this briskly written and thoroughly researched book, Tony Rafael looks at the birth and blood soaked growth of this criminal enterprise through the eyes of the victims, the dropouts and the cops and DAs on the front lines of the battles against the Mexican Mafia. As the first book ever published on the subject, this is a pioneering work that unveils the operations of this California prison gang and how it grew from a small clique of inmates into a transnational criminal enterprise. As the first prison gang to ever project its power beyond prison walls, the Mexican Mafia controls virtually every Hispanic neighborhood in Southern California and is rapidly expanding its influence into the entire Southwest, the East Coast and even into Canada. With law enforcement seemingly powerless to stop it and riding a wave of unchecked immigration, the Mexican Mafia is poised to become the Cosa Nostra of a demographically changing 21st century America.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; 1 edition (July 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031953
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Gonzales on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure what Publishers Weekly wanted from Tony Rafael's debut book, The Mexican Mafia. It seems they don't know either. If they're looking for an academic work, a courtroom drama, or a "just the facts, m'am" retelling, they won't find it here. This book isn't an in-depth biography of District Attorney Anthony Manzella, either. Instead, this is a guided tour of the sticky, tangled, messy, dangerous webs of the Mexican Mafia--La Eme--a prison-born, and prison-based group of top-level gang members who set policy and practice for many Hispanic Southern California gangsters on the street.

In this part of the spider web are the multiple murder and conspiracy trials of eight gangsters from the Avenues sets in Highland Park, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. Rafael uses theses trials as the setting for examining how the intertwining of law enforcement policy, politics, street gangs, the justice system, public perception and the mainstream media in Southern California have all played a part in the establishment and rise of La Eme. By picking apart the events of these trials, giving us the back stories, the histories, and the voices of the players, both big and small, Rafael guides us to the center of the web, where many of the Carnales, the "brothers," who make up La Eme's power brokers, sit in their cells in prisons across California and the United States. It's the flow of gangsters and these Emeros' orders, money and drugs, rules and penalties for behavior and misbehavior, from Pelican Bay, the SuperMax in Florence, CO, and the Los Angeles County jails to the streets of California and back to prison that has maintained the secrecy, power and control of the Mexican Mafia over the street level gangs that spread all over Southern California.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am impelled to begin my review of Tony's book with a brief response to Rob Thomas (the 1st of Mr. Rafael's reviewers- see below):

Mr. Thomas complains that the 'worst' part of Rafael's work is its 'right wing slant'.

Perhaps Thomas would have been happier with a decidedly 'liberal' slant on the book, in which Rafael blamed the gang epidemic (and the pervasive influence of the 'M') on Bush and Cheney.....or the absence of affirmative action programs??

Perhaps instead of holding parents (and individuals) responsible for their own bad choices, Tony should have elected to blame the government (or better yet, the 'white man') for the success of gangsterism?? That way, he would have almost certainly been guaranteed a lectureship at UCLA!

Mr. Thomas further laments Rafael's book cover, declaring it to have 'Mexican Immigration Xenophobia' written all over it.

This is laughable!

Here Thomas again betrays his own (obviously) liberal worldview. (Perhaps Mr. Rafael should have used a Swedish flag on the cover, in order to avoid the ever-present possibility of offending the PC thought police?)

By the way, Mr. Thomas, since the book's cover also portays the image of a 9mm Baretta (an Italian-made firearm), does it follow that Rafael's intention was to disparage the Italians too?

You're right, Mr. Thomas. The 'M' IS an American-born organization (particularly a California-born organization). But I haven't heard of any 'Emeros' lately waving the American flag or quoting the Federalist Papers. Have you?

Call me crazy, but the charter members of 'M' named themselves 'La Mafia Mexicana' (their designation, not ours). Many of them sport tattoes which read 'Cien por ciento Mexicano' or 'Orgulloso Mexicano', etc.
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Format: Hardcover
The Mexican Mafia by Tony Rafael is another in a series of books on the EME that will satifsy those interested in the subject. It is what it is: an account of a major trial (The Avenues Trial) that covers a lineup of new characters which many of us are unfamiliar with. Ramon "Mundo" Mendoza's CD "Mexican Mafia: From Altar Boy to Hitman" stands alone as a historical firsthand account of the EME's history complete with graphic details and photos. Rene "Boxer" Enriquez is currently collaborating with a writer and his book (due to be released by November-2007, according to informed sources) picks up where Mundo's ends. Getting it from the "horse's mouth" is unique and I look forward to firsthand accounts. But, with that said, there's room for good books such as Tony Rafael's who conducted years of research and strove for accuracy. Then you have the "joke" presented by Robert "Moco" Morrill's "The Mexican Mafia - The Story" who intentionally misleads readers into believing that the sky is red. He uses what he calls "Mocomatics" to support his assertions and displays a photograph in which he not only represents it to be Rudy "Cheyenne" Cadena's EME funeral, but places an arrow on an individual who he hints is "Moco" himself walking away from the EME "carnales" at this same funeral. Since then, several reliable sources have come forward to identify this photo as one taken in 1976 at the EME funeral of one Jesse "Chuy" Fraijo (from Norwalk) who died of a heroin overdose. Furthermore, using this "Mocomatics" reasoning, he should have known that half of these carnales were still in CDC when Cheyenne's funeral took place. Compared to this Fairy Tale, Mr. Rafael's attempt is a breath of fresh air for those who seek truth and accuracy.

"Champ" Amador
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