The Reading List: The Mafia
The Godfather by Mario Puzo; RRP £7.99
The archetypal Mafia novel, Puzo's classic chronicles the evolution of a Sicilian Mafia family based in New York, under the stewardship of the title's "Godfather", Don Vito Corleone. Immortalised on the big screen in Francis Ford Coppola's famous trilogy, it remains the most recognised, and most significant, account of gangster life in popular culture.
Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia by John Dickie; RRP £8.99
Hailed by some as the best book ever written on the subject, Dickie's atmospheric study reads almost like fiction, as it intimately recounts the Mafia's origin story and subsequent development, from Sicily to New York. Over the years, the Mafia has assumed various guises: the Sect, the Brotherhood, the Honoured Society, and the Cosa Nostra. Throughout them all, certain standards and practices have remained constant.
Codes of the Underworld by Diego Gambetta; RRP £24.95
How do criminals communicate with each other? In this comprehensive account, Gambetta looks at gangs across history, from the thugs of ancient Rome to the criminal rings of modern Japan and contemporary terrorist organisations, to explain how – despite the need to keep their dealings secret and the limitations this places on their ability to communicate – many criminals successfully stay in business.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia by Jerry Capeci; RRP £11
Don't be deterred by the title: far from idiotic, this work offers a comprehensive introductory account by Mafia expert and journalist Capeci. The Idiot's Guide includes accounts of shifting power and scintillating insider information on "Families" across the United States.
Mafia & Mafiosi: Origin, Power, and Myth by Henner Hess; from £8.89 on Amazon
A classic first published more than a quarter of a century ago that takes into account the social, political and economic environments that have shaped the Sicilian Mafia. Hess highlights the tendency for Mafiosi to rise from poor families.
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