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The First Family: Terror, Extortion,…
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The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the… (edition 2009)

by Mike Dash

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210879,927 (3.91)5
Member:SalemAthenaeum
Title:The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
Authors:Mike Dash
Info:Random House (2009), Edition: Book Club Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
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The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder and The Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash is a very interesting and sometimes gruesome book but it is also packed full of history. This gives history of the Sicilian life and how and why they moved to America and who and how the American Mafia started here. It also gives great history of early American history of that time. Very, very interesting if you are a history buff like me. This gives great history on not only crime but life in general, poverty, secret service, and more. I really got a lot out of this detailed book. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Sep 28, 2017 |
This is such a well researched book, hats off to Mike Dash.
Reading this book makes you feel like your back in Little Italy 1910s
A horrible squalid, smelly over crowded crime infested part of Manhattan.
The main character is One fingered Giuseppe Morello the head of the first Sicilian mafia based in New York.
Lots of photos ,family tree and a who's who of the main characters.

Crime doesn't always pay. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Jan 6, 2017 |
The author did a great job of researching the origins of the Mafia & this is a great read for anyone who liked [b:The Godfather|22034|The Godfather|Mario Puzo|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394988109s/22034.jpg|266624] or [b:The Valachi Papers|55515|The Valachi Papers|Peter Maas|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388235101s/55515.jpg|2565128], which I do (both books & movies). I found a lot of names & situations that I recognized.

Dash has 2 agendas in this history. The first he states from the outset - people think the Mafia started in the 1920's, but it started a generation earlier & he wants to set the record straight. He's done an amazing amount of research to prove his point & does so.

The second agenda is to show that there is nothing romantic about the Mafia. Yes, they came from Sicily, an island people beat into their poor soil by foreign overlords where criminal behavior was often a means of surviving, BUT they preyed on their own & their honor was non-existent. Money, expediency, & power were their prime motives. He shows this through facts, too.

Unfortunately, the weight of all the characters & facts created a morass of them. Dash would pursue one line of reasoning, often taking it far afield in time and space, to good effect, but then he'd go back in logical steps & start over to pursue another, sometimes going sideways into yet another line halfway. Also, the nature of his facts made the narration somewhat uneven. We'd get a lot of information about some things, but just a bare outline & some conjecture on others. This isn't his fault. The information just wasn't there.

I don't know how he could have handled it better & possibly the fault is mine since I couldn't hold all the names & dates in my head properly. The upshot was that I was kind of lost at times, though. It was interesting, but I don't want to listen to it again. Maybe this would have been better as a paper book that I could have flipped back through to make the connections.

Anyway, it was well read & I do recommend it, but bring a notepad. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Just didn't hold me. Interesting book, at least the early history, and then got way to complicated to follow... and I just wasn't that in to trying. But overall pretty good. ( )
  marshapetry | Aug 16, 2014 |
Awesome. I could not put this one down. Dash does an excellent job of bringing back to life "The Clutch Hand". Many of us are familiar with names like Lucky Luciano,Al Capone, Dutch Schultz but we know little of Ciro Terranova, Lupo the Wolf, and other heavyweights of their generation and this book shines a light on these largely forgotten mobsters.

The book not only sheds light on Giuseppe Morello, but also gives a thorough background on the foundation of the "Mafia" and how and where it spread in America,mostly New York and New Orleans.Dash also paints a vivid picture of turn of the century New York.

Anyone looking for a great read on organized crime, especially a topic that has not been overexposed check out "The First Family".I have Satan's Circus by Mike Dash and can't wait to get to it. ( )
  Melkor81205 | Oct 5, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mike Dashprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reitsma, Jan WillemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruiter, PonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Using previously untapped Secret Service archives, prison records, and interviews with surviving family members, Dash presents the gripping story of the birth of the Italian Mafia in America, and brings to life the remarkable villains and unusual heroes of the Mafia's early years.… (more)

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