John Dickie is an historian of Italian organized crime who has a fairly unique perspective as he writes in English but is able to...

John Dickie is an historian of Italian organized crime who has a fairly unique perspective as he writes in English but is able to read the Italian sources. This allows him to bring new points of view and information to Anglo-American audiences. His new book is Mafia Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias (Septre, 2012). This book builds on his previous work Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, by including the other major groups from southern Italy – the ‘Ndrangheta and the Camorra. John points out the surprisingly recent creation of these groups and tracks their rise in their respective localities. The book is both entertaining and very readable. This is not dry history but the stories of real people, both as members of the organized crime groups and, in a much smaller category, those trying to fight the criminality in the region. It is not giving too much away to say that the criminals are winning – especially in the point of history at which this book ends, namely, the arrival of the Allies in World War II. Clearly this is volume one of a larger work and the next volume should be out this year. For those who are interested in the theory of organized crime, I suggest you suspend your assumptions as the data does not match current accepted wisdom. We see ethnocentric groups, hierarchical organizations, and the power of familial relationships. For those who simply enjoy reading about organized crime, you will not be disappointed as this book is full of everything you expect – crime, murder, drama and deceit. Overall it is a book of tragedy – tragedy for a beautiful region of the world overcome by a social disease

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