Organized crime—the Italian American kind—has long been a source of popular entertainment and legend. Now Thomas Reppetto provides a balanced history of the Mafia's rise—from the 1880s to the post-WWII era—that is as exciting and readable as it is authoritative.
Structuring his narrative around a series of case histories featuring such infamous characters as Lucky Luciano and Al Capone, Reppetto draws on a lifetime of field experience and access to unseen documents to show us a locally grown Mafia. It wasn't until the 1920s, thanks to Prohibition, that the Mafia assumed what we now consider its defining characteristics, especially its octopuslike tendency to infiltrate industry and government. At mid-century the Kefauver Commission declared the Mafia synonymous with Union Siciliana; in the 1960s the FBI finally admitted the Mafia's existence under the name La Cosa Nostra.
American Mafia is a fascinating look at America's most compelling criminal subculture from an author who is intimately acquainted with both sides of the street.