The Italian-American mafia has its roots in a mysterious and powerful criminal network in Sicily. While the mythology of the mafia has been widely celebrated in American culture, the true origins of its rituals, laws, and methods have never actually been revealed. John Dickie uses startling new research to expose the secrets of the Sicilian mafia, providing a fascinating account that is more violent, frightening, and darkly comic than anything conceived in popular movies and novels. How did the Sicilian mafia begin? How did it achieve its powerful grip in Italy and America? How does it operate today? From the mafia's origins in the 1860s to its current tense relationship with the Berlusconi government, Cosa Nostra takes us to the inner sanctum where few have dared to go before. This is an important work of history and a revelation for anyone who ever wondered what it means to be "made" in the mob.
Consulting rare archival sources, Salvatore Lupo traces the web of associations, both illicit and legitimate, that have defined the Sicilian Mafia from 1860 to the present. He focuses on several crucial periods of transformation: the Italian unification of 1860 and 1861, the murder of noted politician Notarbartolo, the fascist repression of the Mafia, the Allied invasion of 1943, the social conflicts that followed each world war, and the major murders and trials of the 1980s. Lupo clarifies the Mafia's cultural codes and situates them within social groups and communities. He also refutes the notion that the Mafia has grown more ruthless in recent decades. Rather than representing a shift from "honorable" crime to immoral drug trafficking and violence, Lupo argues the terroristic activities of the modern Mafia signify a new desire for visibility and a distinct break from the state.
An, expansive, intriguing and meticulous account of the Sicilian Mafia. The pre-dawn arrests of the last remaining mafiosi in December 2008 signaled the end of the Sicilian Mafia as we know it. In Mafia: Inside the Dark Heart, A.G.D. Maran charts the complete history of the world's most infamous criminal organization, from its first incarnation as an alternative form of local government in the Sicilian countryside and arguable force for "good," to the more familiar form that has been immortalized films such as The Godfather, and its final defeat after a long-awaited change of attitude by the Italian government. The son of an Italian immigrant, A.G.D. Maran had always been interested in the Mafia, but it was a recently uncovered family secret that led him on a journey deeper into its dark heart. Along the way, he asks many provocative questions, including: - Was one of the biggest errors the United States made to free and deport Lucky Luciano to Italy, where he organized the international drug trade? - How and why did the Vatican get duped into helping the Mafia? - Why did the Mafia murder Roberto Calvi, known as God's Banker? - What is the relationship between the Mafia and Freemasonry? - Why did successive Italian governments fail to tackle the Mafia? - Why did it take 40 years to find the Last Godfathers? These and many other riveting issues are covered in Maran's refreshing new take on a perennially enthralling subject. After a decade of exhaustive research, including interviews with his many Italian contacts, in this book Maran brings to life the story of the rise and fall of the Sicilian Mafia while also exploring its links to the Cosa Nostra in America.
In MAFIA REPUBLIC, John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College, London and author of the international bestsellers COSA NOSTRA and MAFIA BROTHERHOODS, shows how the Italian mafias have grown in power and become more and more interconnected, with terrifying consequences. In 1946, Italy became a democratic Republic, thereby entering the family of modern western nations. But deep within Italy there lurked a forgotten curse: three major criminal brotherhoods, whose methods had been honed over a century of experience. As Italy grew, so did the mafias. Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the camorra from Naples, and the mysterious 'ndrangheta from Calabria stood ready to enter the wealthiest and bloodiest period of their long history. Italy made itself rich by making scooters, cars and handbags. The mafias carved out their own route to wealth through tobacco smuggling, construction, kidnapping and narcotics. And as criminal business grew exponentially, the mafias grew not just more powerful, but became more interconnected. By the 1980s, Southern Italy was on the edge of becoming a narco-state. The scene was set for a titanic confrontation between heroic representatives of the law, and mafiosi who could no longer tolerate any obstacle to their ambitions. This was a war for Italy's future as a civilized country. At its peak in 1992-93, the 'ndrangheta was beheading people in the street, and the Sicilian mafia murdered its greatest enemies, investigating magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, before embarking on a major terrorist bombing campaign on the Italian mainland. Today, the long shadow of mafia history still hangs over a nation wracked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. While police put their lives on the line every day, one of Silvio Berlusconi's ministers said that Italy had to 'learn to live with the mafia'; suspicions of mafia involvement still surround some of the country's most powerful media moguls and politicians. The latest investigations show that its reach is astonishing: it controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade, and representatives from as far away as Germany, Canada and Australia come to Calabria to seek authorisation for their affairs. Just when it thought it had finally contained the mafia threat, Italy is now discovering that it harbours the most global criminal network of them all. The Financial Times described John Dickie's MAFIA BROTHERHOODS as 'Powered by the sort of muscular prose that one associates with great detective fiction' and in MAFIA REPUBLIC John Dickie again marries outstanding scholarship with compelling storytelling.
In a society where trust is in short supply and democracy weak, the Mafia sells protection, a guarantee of safe conduct for parties to commercial transactions. Drawing on the confessions of eight Mafiosi, Diego Gambetta develops an elegant analysis of the economic and political role of the Sicilian Mafia.
MAFIA. CAMORRA. 'NDRANGHETA. The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra from Naples; and, from the poor and isolated region of Calabria, the mysterious 'ndrangheta, which has now risen to become the most powerful mob group active today. Since they emerged, the mafias have all corrupted Italy's institutions, drastically curtailed the life-chances of its citizens, evaded justice, and set up their own self-interested meddling as an alternative to the courts. Yet each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity. Each is uniquely adapted to corrupt and exploit its own specific environment, as it collaborates with, learns from, and goes to war with the other mafias. Today, the shadow of organized crime hangs over a country racked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. The 'ndrangheta controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade and, by some estimates, 3 percent of Italy's total GDP. Blood Brotherhoods traces the origins of this national malaise back to Italy's roots as a united country in the nineteenth century, and shows how political violence incubated underworld sects among the lemon groves of Palermo, the fetid slums of Naples, and the harsh mountain villages of Calabria. Blood Brotherhoods is a book of breathtaking ambition, tracing for the first time the interlocking story of all three mafias from their origins to the present day. John Dickie is recognized in Italy as one of the foremost historians of organized crime. In these pages, he blends archival detective work, passionate narrative, and shrewd analysis to bring a unique criminal ecosystem—and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it—to life on the page.
In the 1980s, the broad legal mandate of the RICO act succeeded in crushing much of the backbone of the traditional American Mafia. Across the ocean however, in the ancestral Sicilian homeland of La Cosa Nostra, the Mafia was anything but finished. Possessed of a power thought to rival that of the Italian state itself, for the past decades, the Sicilian Mafia has waged a war on the forces of law and order that has not only left thousands dead, but has created a ripple effect of crime and violence that can be felt on the streets of America's cities today. Taking us into the eye of this criminal storm, Boss of Bosses tells the story of Bernardo Provenzano, who rose from humble origins to become the head of the Sicilian Mafia, overseeing a deadly empire of corruption so large in scope, the full sweep of its dark reach has yet to be fully accounted. On the run for over 43 years before his arrest, Provenzano's life is a testament to Mafia history, and typifies the code of the ultimate gangster.
*Includes pictures *Includes a bibliography for further reading "[T]he term mafia found a class of violent criminals ready and waiting for a name to define them, and, given their special character and importance in Sicilian society, they had the right to a different name from that defining vulgar criminals in other countries. -Leopoldo Franchetti, 1876 It is hard to find an island on the map more central than Sicily. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Africa, and between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Sicily has rarely been governed as an independent, unified state, yet the island has always occupied a front-row seat to some of the most important events in history, and nowhere is this more obvious than during antiquity. Over the course of the 19th century, the people of Sicily found themselves at the center of a struggle for freedom, one that ended up being long and often very bloody. It was during these crucial years of struggle that the Sicilian mafia, La cosa nostra ("Our thing"), started to take shape. The original word "mafia" was a part of Palermitan slang, and although the origins of the word are not completely certain, some linguistic historians believe it originally meant "flashy." One historian of the mafia, Salvatore Lupo, helpfully suggests that it was used in its earliest iterations to vaguely refer to a "pathological relationship among politics, society and criminality." In response to the rise of the mafia, the Italian state propagated a doctrine of Sicilian backwardness, which they used to introduce martial law and suspend civil liberties, under the pretext that they were not "ready" for the freedoms enjoyed by other Italian regions. Northerners and foreigners mistakenly (and snobbishly) believed that the mafia was just a relic of the primitive, peasant culture that had dominated the island for centuries, and that it was destined to die out once the island had been properly absorbed into the dominant, mainland culture. Others hypothesized that the corruption in Sicilian culture was just a holdover from the Bourbon government and would soon be extinguished once a formal transition was completed. Of course, they proved to be dead wrong. The Sicilian mafia was not a criminal underworld or a form of political rebellion, but more of a kingdom within a kingdom. In other words, according to historians of the mafia, it was a network of hidden power, an alternative hierarchy that sometimes worked in concert with and sometimes superseded official forms of law and order. By 1890, the Cosa Nostra had already developed into a sophisticated criminal organization with a great deal of blood on its hands. In fact, its tentacles reached into the highest levels of politics and beyond the borders of Sicily and Italy, traveling across the Atlantic to the United States. Today, their power has been dwarfed by the Neapolitan mafia, La Camorra, yet the Cosa Nostra has continued to wreak havoc in Sicily. In 1992 they were responsible for one of the most high-profile assassinations in Italy since the fall of fascism. Ironically, the murderous actions of a small segment of society have caused the Sicilian people in general to be perceived as "mafiosi," even though the vast majority of them have been victims rather than perpetrators. Cosa Nostra: The Notorious History and Legacy of the Sicilian Mafia examines how the world's most famous mob formed, its inner workings, and the events that made it feared around the world. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Sicilian mafia like never before.
Lupara bianca ('White Shotgun') -- an Italian term that refers to a Mafia-style killing, in which no trace of the victim can be found. For thirty years, prize-winning Sicilian journalist Attilio Bolzoni has reported on the shadowy activities of Cosa Nostra. Now, for the first time, he has collected together a powerful anthology of rare interviews, court proceedings and transcripts of phone taps that together capture the essence of this most hidden of secret societies. From the 'traditional' Mafia of the early 20th Century to the 'Maxi' show-trials of the 1980s and beyond, White Shotgun is both a history of modern Sicilian crime, and a book about the twisted logic and language of Cosa Nostra. From the most humble of foot soldiers to famous pentiti ('grasses') and top-level Bosses, this is a portrait of the men who live by a code of silence -- in their own words.
Describes the origins and history of the Cosa Nostra, beginning in 1863 Sicily and moving to Prohibition Era America, discussing the formation of the mafia families and the most famous legendary criminals.