Organized crime is the greatest criminal phenomenon of our time. From Al Capone, who boldly claimed his bootlegging activities were a public service, to John Gotti, the "Teflon don" who died in prison, these criminals have garnered headlines and captured the public imagination with their flamboyant lifestyles and colorful attitudes. Immortalized in books, movies, and popular television shows like The Sopranos and Growing Up Gotti, these gangsters, godfathers, hitmen, and dons have taken their place in criminal mythology, but the reality of their underworld endeavors is something entirely different. The Mafia Encyclopedia, Third Edition provides a comprehensive survey of the mob's most influential perpetrators and personalities, including their hangouts and hideaways, their plays for power, their schemes and crimes, and their unique culture and jargon. More than 100 illustrations approximately 500 entries, and a chronology bust the Mafia myths with an unflinching look at the brutal, sin-laden, and bizarre culture and characters of organized crime.
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They're all there, starting with Anthony Joseph Accardo (1906-1992), the Chicago mob leader known as Tony to crime pals, Mr. Accardo to underlings, Joe Batters to his subordinates, and as "having more brains before breakfast than Al Capone had all day" to syndicate supporters, and working through the alphabet to Abner "Longy" Zwillman (1899-1959), a crime-syndicate founder and New Jersey boss, one of the most feared of the Jewish Mafia, known as the "Al Capone of new Jersey," and much revered for his love affair with Jean Harlow.
Between Accardo and Zwillman, Carl Sifakis explores the lives, reputations, exploits, and subcultures of more than 450 Mafia perpetrators and personalities. Sifakis describes the individuals, codes of behavior, misdeeds, legal scrapes, rivalries, and flamboyant lifestyles associated with the world of organized crime--an entity whose existence J. Edgar Hoover denied for 30 years. Sifakis's research is thorough, and his subjects are nefarious and riveting. It's his feel for storytelling, however, that makes his encyclopedia so enjoyable. He writes about infamous characters such as Al Capone (who felt his bootlegging was merely a public service) and John Gotti (a.k.a. the Teflon Don, who's now serving a life sentence) as well as the Mafia Social Clubs, Donnie Brasco (the FBI agent who infiltrated the mob and sent more than 100 mobsters to prison), and the importance of slot machines to the post-Prohibition welfare of organized crime.
With nearly 100 pictures and illustrations, Sifakis's mob opus is required reading for Mafia buffs, and a remarkably engaging guide for anyone interested in a factual report on organized crime. --Stephanie GoldAbout the Author:
Carl Sifakis is a freelance writer, former newspaper crime reporter, and longtime student of organized crime. His other books include Mobspeak, The Encyclopedia of American Prisons, America's Most Vicious Criminals, and Strange Crimes and Criminals, all for Facts On File/Checkmark Books. He lives in New York.
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