Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic
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Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In 1992 Italy was convulsed by two brazen Mafia assassinations of high-ranking officials. The latest "excellent cadavers" were Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the Sicilian magistrates who had been the Cosa Nostra's most implacable enemies. Yet in the aftermath of the murders, hundreds of "men of honor" were arrested and the government that ad protected them for near...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 6th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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G.d. Brennan
"Excellent Cadavers" is probably the best mob story you've never heard.

Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two heroic Italian prosecutors, mounted an extraordinary legal campaign against the Sicilian mafia during the 1980s. They ultimately paid for their efforts with their lives. But their untimely murders shook Italy so hard they toppled its government. Theirs is a compelling story, full of unforgettable characters, and all of it is tragic and true. And chances are high that you don't know m...more
This is a non-fiction account about the two Sicilian anti-mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who revolutionized the fight against the mafia, who blew the lid off mafia prevalence and off the political connections of the mafia, and who were assassinated by the mob in the early 1990s.

I still feel like shaking when I think about it. This book has been haunting me: on one hand I am in awe of Falcone and Borsellino (and other brave prosecutors and policemen), who pursued this...more
Codered Summer
Screw "The Godfather", read this instead
Amar Pai
Falcone is a hero. In this book all the heroes are martyrs. Cosa Nostra, Camorra, 'Ndrangheta, there's nothing romantic about any of them. They are a cancer, contemptible. I felt like I was suffocating just reading this book. Living in Italy, it must be hard to take. I'd be so angry. Not just at the Mafia-- sharks do what they do-- but at the politicians, judges and businessmen who collude with them, perpetuating the sickness. After Falcone died it seemed like things had changed-- but then the r...more
This book is a fascinating and tragic look at the fight against the Mafia in Sicily. It follows the story of two prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who valiantly pursued organized crime and were both assassinated for there efforts. (This is not a spoiler but is revealed in the beginning) Stille also traces the investigations that lead to the uncovering of the connections between La Cosa Nostra and many high level government officals. In 1992-1994 one third of the Italian parliam...more
Very sobering but worthwhile book if your interested in the mafia- a little dense as it gets into the political arena but the author does an amazing job shaping all the various and voluminous shards of information into a dramatic and coherent form (unlike this review...ha...).
I've already put in a request to my library for other mafia books such as the more recent Gomorrah and the older Valachi Papers...can't wait to read them...also, am looking forward to seeing the doc Excellent Cadavers...aga...more
I thought this was a very dull book. However, it was meticulously researched and presented - hence the dullness. Few books on organized crime are written so professionally. Most bloggers can readily point out errors. Stille has very few detractors and hardly anyone criticizes the book and for good reason.

The book focuses largely on criminals in history and the Corleonese killings of high-profile politicos - hence the title. There is some discussion of the bonds between mafiosi in Italy and the U...more
This is the best book about the Sicilian Mafia ever written. It focuses mostly on the lives and deaths of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Actually, there is probably only one book that is better than this one, Giovanni Falcone's "Cose di Cosa Nostra", not available in English.
Very well written, dispassionate history. The book came out in 1995, deserves an update, but can still serve as an excellent backgrounder for people interested in the story of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two anti-mafia judges killed within weeks of each other in the early 90s.
Tanya Lolonis
Stille shows the brutality and tenacity of the mafia in sicilia by documenting the work of the two prosecutors trying to unravel the mafia, who paid with their lives. does not make you optimistic. excellent book for anyone interested in current Italian events.
Nicky Thai
An excellent example to demonstrate the theories stated in The Tipping point by Gladwell(?). After a century of good preparation, everything suddenly mixed perfectly together at the right time for a revolutionary moment. Nice inspirational book at the same time.
Kelly Hicks
Jan 24, 2008 Kelly Hicks is currently reading it
Really fascinating account of Italian mafiosi, with a focus on the Sicilian mafia. Prose is a compelling mix of history, journalistic reporting, personal accounts (via interviews and letters), and architectural history. I hurry home every night to read another chapter.
This is one of my favourite books. Fantastic narative story, rich with detail. The ending left me almost in tears. Great story about brave people making a stand against violence and crime and paying the ultimate price.
This is truly a sad and outrageous story, very very well written. It's gripping and intelligent "true crime." Recommended to anyone with an interest in Italy and/or the mafia. Or just plain old justice.
Bob Conklin
The fascinating, compelling story of Giovanni Falcone's investigation of the Sicilian Mafia. One of the great crime stories ever written, and all true.
Anne Billson
Two good, brave, heroic men, and how they died. Tells you more than you want to know about Italy, and Sicily in particular. Devastating.
wish there were more stars to check for my favorite book ever. thanks, Mark R, for recommending this 10+ yrs ago.
I have sort of a thing for researching Falcone, the Sicilian Mafia, and similar. This book fits the bill, then.
clear chronicle of sicilian mafia. a must read for anyone who wants to understand what mafia is.
Great history of the "fall" of the Mafia in Italy.
It was assigned for a class I took on Organized crime
Gripping read.
Deluge marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Michael Connolly
Michael Connolly marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
Sabina Lee
Sabina Lee marked it as to-read
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