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The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a…
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The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the…

by Stephan Talty

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This is an interesting story but the narrative structure is largely a mess which results in a muddled story with too many peripheral characters. The story of the protagonist Petrosino is interesting and the history of Italian immigrants in New York city in the early 1900s was quite informative as well. Unfortunately, the book struggles with trying to decide if it should focus more on Petrosino or on the Black Hand in general. Because of this, the reader is constantly left trying to figure out where certain characters disappeared to or came from which ultimately makes for a tedious slog. ( )
  pbirch01 | May 10, 2018 |
Joseph Petrosino, did his best to break THE BLACK HAND, but he had many sources working against him. Tammany Hall, the NYPD, Mayor, Commissioner, to name a few. Italians were at the bottom of the heap and were heavily discriminated against by the Irish and others. It is a typical story of how minorities are treated in America even today. it finally took illegal physical force by the Police to run the group out of New York. ( )
  pgabj | May 22, 2017 |
This is a very moving, true story of one man’s struggle to battle the fierce Black Hand society in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. This was a time when a young person of Italian descent had very few prospects in the Irish controlled boroughs of New York. Many of the Italians found that they could make a decent living by praying on their fellow immigrants. Kidnappings, beatings, and protection rackets, sprang up, largely due to the influence of a gang of hoodlums, who called themselves the Black Hand. Any attempts to resist their control usually ended up in bombed out houses or stores and out right killings. One man stood out among the Italian people to fight this crime wave, Joseph Petrosino. This stocky, solidly built man fought his way out of the slums to a hard won job as the first Italian detective on the Irish controlled police force. Although he was assigned to combat the crime in the Italian neighborhoods, he also had to combat the prejudice of his fellow police officers. Petrofina was equal to the task, slowly over the years convincing even the deeply ingrained Irish officers that he was capable of handling himself and anything that came his way. But one man was not enough to fight the ever increasing spread of the Black Hand. It’s crimes reached across the country and into the upper classes of the wealthy. The New York police commissioner grudgingly gave Petrosino the authority to form an Italian unit with a handful of additional officers. The effect on the growing influence of the Black Hand was negligible. After years of hard fighting, Petrosino determined to go to the source of the Black Hand, the Sicilian homeland. With grudging approval of the NYPD commissioner, the aging Petrosino entered the lions den. Now in a foreign country without friends or family to support him and every face a possible enemy, the confidence and strength that had supported him over the years started to wane. Although he was collecting important information against the society, the writing was on the wall. Petrosino would never see his wife and family or his beloved New York again. This is a very intriguing story about an extraordinary man. Book provided for review by Amazon vine. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Apr 17, 2017 |
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Book description
Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave stirred New York City, and then the entire country, into panic. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544633385, Hardcover)

The gripping true story of the origins of the mafia in America—and the brilliant Italian-born detective who gave his life to stop it

Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point. Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost. 
 
Unfolding a story rich with resonance in our own era, The Black Hand is fast-paced narrative history at its very best.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 27 Nov 2016 17:34:40 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point. Standing between the American public and the Black Hand's lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the "Italian Sherlock Holmes," he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand's activities spread far beyond New York's borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country's anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino's quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily -- but at a terrible cost.… (more)

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