Mafia Dynasty

Mafia Dynasty : Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family

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Among the thousands of Italian immigrants to arrive in New York City in the 1920s were the young Carlo Gambino and John Joseph Gotti. One was a rising star in the Sicilian "Honored Society," the other was a poor laborer.While John Joseph Gotti and thousands of poveracci like him plugged away at backbreaking, deadend jobs, slick Sicilian hotshots plunged into the illegal liquor business, setting up stills, warehouses, distribution lines, and trucking companies. They recruited battalions of bootleggers and opened up hundreds of speakeasies all over New York.It was this frenzied competition, writes Davis, that established the foundations for the five Mafia families that to this day run the New York underworld. And the richest and biggest of them all is the Gambino crime family.Davis depicts the deals that went into the creation of this vast enterprise, a mysterious world of blood oaths, shifting alliances, long-lasting feuds, and larger-than-life - or death - personalities: Salvatore Maranzano, the mafioso from the old school who read Caesar in the original Latin; Lucky Luciano, the ruthless young tough who reorganized the underworld in 1931 and gave it the structure it has had for the past sixty years; Albert Anastasia, the "Lord High Executioner," who, with Luciano, ran Murder Incorporated with a cadre of killers on retainer; Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, whose specialty was murder by ice pick; Frank Costello, the "Prime Minister of the Underworld."Mafia Dynasty shows the young John Gotti, raised in poverty, coming to admire the well-dressed, flashy gangsters in his East New York neighborhood, particularly the mighty Albert Anastasia, who was at the height of his power in 1956 when sixteen-year-old Gotti left school.But while Anastasia swaggered through the streets, Carlo Gambino stealthily built an empire of crime and cemented his control of it by Anastasia's barbershop execution. Davis depicts the remarkable reign of "Don Carlo," during which Gambino tentacles reached into many legitimate businesses even as the Gambino family solidified its control over other mob families. Upon the death of Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano's disputed succession divided the family into two camps, sowing the seeds for Gotti's rise and Castellano's dramatic sidewalk murder.As the quieter branch of the family, led by Carlo's son, Thomas Gambino, raked in garment district trucking profits, media-conscious Gotti antagonized law enforcement officials with his courtroom success, as well as high-profile activities, such as his annual illegal fireworks display that made him a neighborhood hero. Davis shows Gotti's defiance goading government prosecutors, who finally "turned" Gotti's top lieutenant, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, and convicted the "Teflon Don" in a thrilling 1992 trial. Davis covers this trial in detail and analyzes the ramifications of Gotti's life sentence for the Gambino family's future.From the Gambinos' dramatic Prohibition-era beginnings to their slow strangulation by law enforcement in the nineties, Mafia Dynasty portrays sixty years of history that, until now, only lurked behind yellowed newspaper headlines. Combining street smarts with impeccable research, John H. Davis, who knew Lucky Luciano in Italy, has filled his canvas with unforgettable personalities and unspeakable crimes. Mafia Dynasty is not only an essential source on today's mob, it is also a compulsively readable expose of the Gambinos' unique and ruthless way of life.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 450 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 38.1mm | 839.15g
  • HarperPerennial
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 32pp b&w photographs, index
  • 0060163577
  • 9780060163570

Rating details

653 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 30% (193)
4 40% (258)
3 23% (150)
2 6% (42)
1 2% (10)
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