I could have managed without the short and superficial chapters about other crime organizations and Mafia films (I'm sure there's not much new informa...moreI could have managed without the short and superficial chapters about other crime organizations and Mafia films (I'm sure there's not much new information in the latter, if you've seen even just a few gangster films), but the part about Mafia's women was much too short (especially because in Calabria women are still murdered today if they remarry, or do something else that the organization feels breaks the patriarchal order of the society).
Gasparini succeeds in peeling the glossy surface from the Mafia, but he could have taken a firmer stance on the issue of films and other media glamorizing its position in the society. It's worrying that some (or all?) who belong to these organizations feel like they're not murdering anyone per se, but instead handing out justified punishments that in their world are alright and needed to sustain the hierarchy. I wonder if the Mafia is much too rooted to get rid of it completely. Only time will tell.
An ok introduction overall, despite some problems construction-wise and with repetitiveness. For those in need of an in-depth history I would suggest turning elsewhere. There's also a slight mistake in the film section: films about organized crime did exist before the 1930s (Underworld , The Racket  etc.), but the exploits of real life criminals gradually made them more popular, making the 1930s the Golden era of gangster films.(less)
Occasionally repetitious but serves its purpose as a decent introduction. The design is pretty and the pocket size is handy.
The media section (literat...moreOccasionally repetitious but serves its purpose as a decent introduction. The design is pretty and the pocket size is handy.
The media section (literature, film, and television) was horribly superficial, though. The history section and the all ghastly stories of creepy creatures was ok, but there was no effort whatsoever with the latter part of the book. Occasionally the author recounted whole plots with nothing else to say, in addition to merely listing stuff. For example, with Bram Stoker's Dracula she did nothing else than tell the plot from start to finish and introduce Bram Stoker. No analysis on its influence, nothing. Oh, and why the hell would you introduce Hitchcock when he has nothing to do with vampires? Just because you talk about horror films, it's not necessary to bring him up because you're talking about a particular genre that he didn't have a direct influence on.
There were also a few inaccuracies that made me cringe. McLeod constantly misspells names, which is embarrassing since you can check them from Google in a few seconds. Jonathan Harper, Gerald Butler, Georges Méllès etc.? No. Just - no. Second, Carl Theodor Dreyer is not Swedish but Danish. These things are very tiny, but they made me a bit paranoid about the rest of the information I wasn't so familiar with. How can I be sure she wasn't more careful with the rest of it?
Unfortunately, this seems like a book that was hashed together in a hurry to cash in on the newer vampire phenomenon.(less)