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Full Story of The Mafia in Complete Idiot’s Guide to THE Mafia

A complete overview in highly readable form about the Mafia from origins to families to history.

Cover of The Godfather (Widescreen Edition)

Cover of GoodFellas

Cover of GoodFellas

THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO THE MAFIA, Jerry Capeci, Alpha, 2002, 243 pp, index, photos

A fine succinct history of the Mafia, prefaced with details on its origins, structure, the Commission, and induction. Author Jerry Capeci then proceeds to a breakdown on the traditional Mafia families of New York and other major cities, before turning to the lesser-noted smaller families that rule or ruled St Louis, Buffalo, Dallas, Tampa, and other territories.

Capeci discusses Prohibition which launched the Mafia into a major organized crime role, the Castellmarese War which he says was a myth, Al Capone whose power made him de facto ruler of Chicago and led to being made a member of the Commission despite being Neapolitan and not Sicilian, and the role of informers and the RICO Act in busting the Mafia in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Capeci emphasizes the accuracy of Goodfellas in its violence and treachery and dismisses The Godfather and its code of honor, saying that the bosses and capos had no such thing. First, last, and always, they were notivated by self-interest, not some dark chivalric code. And more often than not, the urgency for help in a tough situation might always be better served by two in the head.

Excellent overview that fills in many gaps left by reading informers’ sporadically accurate and tightly focused autobiographies.

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