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Paperback Five Families Book

ISBN: 1861059523

ISBN13: 9781861059529

Five Families

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good


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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. The Mafia has long held a spot in the American imagination. Despite their earned reputation for brutality, the Mafia has been glorified in countless movies, books, and television shows. Not so in this...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Worth the time to read this huge book

I really enjoyed this history of the five New York Mafia families. It is very well written. It is a very lengthy book but if you have any interest in the Mafia you will not care. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get an overview of the Mafia's history and how their "rackets" work. Saab also does an excellent job of giving the good guys (the cops and prosecutors) the attention they deserve. Usually they are merely mentioned by other authors but Saab makes them as interesting as the mafioso.

A Superb and Detailed Overview

The prior reviews that seem peeved that this book offers little in the way of revelations or breakthrough analysis are accurate. If you are one of the country's great experts, OK, you've heard it before; don't buy the book. For everyone else, this is an excellent review of the New York Mafia, what they did, who did it, and the enforcement brought against them. I own over a hundred organized crime books, and this is the one I would recommend to someone looking for the best possible overview of the Five Families. It is comprehensive, factual and well-written.

Mob's 80-Year Influence Chronicled

Beginning with the Sicilian origins of the Mafia, Selwyn Raab explains how it spread from its New York origins to cities across America. Raab, a newspaper and television reporter with more than 40 years experience covering organized crime paints a realistic portrait of the Mafia. Avoiding glamorization, the author, who spent more than 25 years as a reporter with The New York Times, exposes the Mafia as a serious threat to honest citizens. "The collective goal of the five families of New York was the pillaging of the nation's richest city and region," he writes. The five families--Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese--were responsible for corrupting labor unions to control waterfront commerce, garbage collection, the garment industry, and construction in New York. Later, they broadened their vistas to include the country, particularly Las Vegas, its most successful outside venture. Since September 11, 2001, the author says, the F.B.I. has been focused mainly on external threats, the author notes. This gives it room to regain some lost turf by moving into new avenues of crime. Exhaustive in its research and well-written, Five Families chronicles the tale of the rise and fall of New York's premier dons: Lucky Luciano, Paul Castellano and John Gotti. To carry his tale, Raab interviewed prosecutors, law enforcement officers, Mafia members, informants, and "Mob lawyers." The result: anecdotes and inside information that reveal the true story of the Mafia and its influence. A masterpiece, this book will be considered a model of what great journalism should and can be.

The Best Mob Book Yet

Selwyn Raab, one of America's premier journalists, has produced the most fact-filled and complete work on the modern-day mob ever published. Rich in detail, it shows how the mob has grown, changed, and adapted itself throughout the years. Raab also shows that the mob in America, though staggered by a series of defections and successful investigations, is far from finished. Kudos to Mr. Raab for this well-researched, highly readable, definitive guidebook to the mob.

The definitive Mafia book

I'd give "Five Families" six or seven stars, were it possible. Having read several Mob-related books, some great, some trashy, I can say with some authority that Selwyn Raab's book is the best historical volume ever on the Mafia, and brings us up to the present. From its start during Prohibition, the founding of "The Commission" by Lucky Luciano and later events such as the whacking of Paul Castellano and the rise and fall of John Gotti, and the travails of sinister Mob figures like Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, probably the most vicious mobster ever, and Vincent "Chin" Gigante, to whom even Gotti was deferential, "Five Families" offers a comprehensive yet never tedious look into New York's five Mob families, or "borgatas" and their successes and failures. While attention is paid to John Gotti, Raab wisely divvies up his time evenly among the families, avoiding the overkill of Gotti stories other books have fallen prey to. His work on more recent figures is especially interesting. We have always had a fascination with charismatic criminals, from the old days of the West with Billy The Kid, Butch Cassidy, to Al Capone, Luciano and John Gotti. It's the stuff of legend, but we must remember not to become admirers of these outlaws, as Raab points out through his details of some of their meanest and sadistic acts. Nonetheless, it's compelling and a great view into the underworld, its way of life and its prime movers and shakers. Over 700 pages long, and worth every sentence.
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