Reviews

Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Having covered the mob for decades-and written Justice in the Back Room, which inspired TV's Kojak-veteran New York Times reporter Raab should make this history of the Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo, and Lucchese clans vivid reading. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

One couldn't hope for a more exhaustive chronicle of the Cosa Nostra in America over the last 85 years. Investigative reporter Raab (the New York Times) had discovered a Mob presence in a surprising number of places while researching various articles over the years. He shows how completely the Mafia has wrapped its tentacles around the structure of this country, from Prohibition, which was instrumental in coalescing the random street gangs into disciplined families (the five in the title are the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families) to recent scams involving cleanup of the World Trade Center site. Romanticized by the press, protected by the code of silence (omerta), and almost impossible to pin down, the families were finally taken down when the FBI took advantage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute, ten years on the books before it was used. Faced with long jail sentences, many top brass in Cosa Nostra finally broke silence to save their own skins. Raab reports with disciplined outrage, painting his subjects as the dangerous thugs they are. His repetitions, sometimes verbatim, of information and anecdotes, can be distracting, but this is a quibble. An informative and frightening account that belongs in all libraries.-Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Beginning with its 1931 organization into five gangs, the history of the Sicilian Mob in New York unfolds in Raab's riveting reportage. To be sure, that history has been explored in numerous books, but Raab drills deep into the investigations and trials that have taken place over the past 20 years. Until adoption of the RICO law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations), mobsters weren't much bothered by law enforcement, Raab explains, before turning to a dramatic recounting of key investigations that led to RICO indictments. The narrative kicks into high gear as Raab describes how one leg-breaker or another, confronted on tape with his crimes, breaks the Mob's code of silence and starts singing for the feds. Eventually resulting in the imprisonment of all five godfathers of the recent past--Gaspipe Casso, Joe Massino, John Gotti, Chin Gigante, and Carmine Persico--these investigations solved a number of murders and exposed the Mob as never before. With vivid characterizations of a cavalcade of thugs, Raab's account is the most lively and informative Mafia history in years. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2005 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Former New York Times crime reporter Raab sets a new gold standard for organized crime nonfiction with his outstanding history of the Mafia in New York City. Combining the diligent research and analysis of a historian with the savvy of a beat journalist who has extensive inside sources, the author succeeds at an ambitious task by rendering the byzantine history of New York's five families-Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese-easily comprehensible to any lay reader. Of necessity, Raab also illuminates the Mafia's origin in 19th-century Sicily and its transition to this country. Throughout his survey of the mob's evolution-from simple protection rackets to pump-and-dump stock schemes-Raab renders the mobsters (including men less well known than John Gotti, but no less significant) as three-dimensional figures, without glossing over their vicious crimes and their impact on honest citizens. Law enforcement's varying responses as well as society's view of gangsters enrich the narrative, which merits comparison with the classic true-crime writing of Kurt Eichenwald. While Raab surprisingly gives short shrift to the 1980s pizza connection case, which revealed the growing influence of the Sicilian Mafia on America's heroin trade, he otherwise demonstrates mastery of his subject. This masterpiece stands an excellent chance of becoming a bestseller with crossover appeal beyond devoted watchers of The Sopranos. 24 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Having covered the mob for decades-and written Justice in the Back Room, which inspired TV's Kojak-veteran New York Times reporter Raab should make this history of the Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo, and Lucchese clans vivid reading. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

One couldn't hope for a more exhaustive chronicle of the Cosa Nostra in America over the last 85 years. Investigative reporter Raab (the New York Times) had discovered a Mob presence in a surprising number of places while researching various articles over the years. He shows how completely the Mafia has wrapped its tentacles around the structure of this country, from Prohibition, which was instrumental in coalescing the random street gangs into disciplined families (the five in the title are the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families) to recent scams involving cleanup of the World Trade Center site. Romanticized by the press, protected by the code of silence (omerta), and almost impossible to pin down, the families were finally taken down when the FBI took advantage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute, ten years on the books before it was used. Faced with long jail sentences, many top brass in Cosa Nostra finally broke silence to save their own skins. Raab reports with disciplined outrage, painting his subjects as the dangerous thugs they are. His repetitions, sometimes verbatim, of information and anecdotes, can be distracting, but this is a quibble. An informative and frightening account that belongs in all libraries.-Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Beginning with its 1931 organization into five gangs, the history of the Sicilian Mob in New York unfolds in Raab's riveting reportage. To be sure, that history has been explored in numerous books, but Raab drills deep into the investigations and trials that have taken place over the past 20 years. Until adoption of the RICO law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations), mobsters weren't much bothered by law enforcement, Raab explains, before turning to a dramatic recounting of key investigations that led to RICO indictments. The narrative kicks into high gear as Raab describes how one leg-breaker or another, confronted on tape with his crimes, breaks the Mob's code of silence and starts singing for the feds. Eventually resulting in the imprisonment of all five godfathers of the recent past--Gaspipe Casso, Joe Massino, John Gotti, Chin Gigante, and Carmine Persico--these investigations solved a number of murders and exposed the Mob as never before. With vivid characterizations of a cavalcade of thugs, Raab's account is the most lively and informative Mafia history in years. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2005 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Former New York Times crime reporter Raab sets a new gold standard for organized crime nonfiction with his outstanding history of the Mafia in New York City. Combining the diligent research and analysis of a historian with the savvy of a beat journalist who has extensive inside sources, the author succeeds at an ambitious task by rendering the byzantine history of New York's five families-Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese-easily comprehensible to any lay reader. Of necessity, Raab also illuminates the Mafia's origin in 19th-century Sicily and its transition to this country. Throughout his survey of the mob's evolution-from simple protection rackets to pump-and-dump stock schemes-Raab renders the mobsters (including men less well known than John Gotti, but no less significant) as three-dimensional figures, without glossing over their vicious crimes and their impact on honest citizens. Law enforcement's varying responses as well as society's view of gangsters enrich the narrative, which merits comparison with the classic true-crime writing of Kurt Eichenwald. While Raab surprisingly gives short shrift to the 1980s pizza connection case, which revealed the growing influence of the Sicilian Mafia on America's heroin trade, he otherwise demonstrates mastery of his subject. This masterpiece stands an excellent chance of becoming a bestseller with crossover appeal beyond devoted watchers of The Sopranos. 24 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved