Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias” as Want to Read:
Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The Sicilian mafia is far from being Italy's most powerful and dangerous criminal fraternity. The south of the country hosts two other major mafias: the Camorra from Naples and its hinterland, and the 'Ndrangheta, the mafia of Calabria. In this book John Dickie studies Italy's less well known - but equally dark - brotherhoods of crime. ...more
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Sceptre
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blood Brotherhoods, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blood Brotherhoods

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  274 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias
Corban Ford
"Blood Brotherhoods" by John Dickie promises a "a riveting narrative both disturbing and disturbingly relevant to the present" but I fear that he missed his mark. "Brotherhoods" was a long, tedious read, chock full of content but nothing especially riveting. In fact I would say on the contrary, as I fell asleep multiple times through this one before I buckled down and finished this tome off in a three day binge that I instantly regretted. To be fair, the book was thorough, well researched, and e ...more
Amar Pai
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Overlong and not entertaining enough to qualify as pop history or literature. It’s thorough. What can ya do it’s a history book. No more pizzo. Hope Italy and the world is someday free of this scourge. Vile criminals that leech off ordinary lives
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a little too ambitious in its effort to tackle so much research in one work; on the other end the book tries out a systematic comparative analyses of organized crime in the 'Bel Paese'.
Admittedly Cosa Nostra A History of the Sicilian Mafia was a more thorough work. But, yet, I am looking forward to the second installment; 'Mafia Republic'.
Helen Swankie
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Nowhere near as good as Cosa Nostra.
Very disappointing read.
Liam Delahunty
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mafia, non-fiction
Only the book petering out stopped this getting five stars. I'd recomend this to anyone with a interest in true crime, the Mafia or Italian history. ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Dickie has achieved a real undertaking. Retracing the history of the 3 greatest and oldest criminal organizations in Italy: the Camorra (Campania), the Cosa Nostra (Sicily) and the ´Ndrangheta (Calabria). He explains their commonalities and their point of differences and shows how each have learned from one another over time.

Their success has inspired and served as a model for all the modern criminal organizations in the rest of the world, whether in Russian, Asia or Latin America, without
Stephen Selbst
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
John Dickie has written a dense history of organized crime in Italy, from its beginnings in the mid 19th century to its current form in the early 21st century. The detail is both its strength and it's weakness: Dickie simply throws everything in, the important and the trivial, with the result that the book often meanders; a careful edit would likely have pruned it by 25%. It also suffers from over reliance on the author's stylistic tics, which are repeated often enough to be annoying. But editor ...more
W. Koistinen
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Blood Brotherhoods chronicles Italian government's futile attempt's to fight the country's criminal organizations. The failure has been constant, although there has been some wins also. This book covers only the years until WW2, but by watching how Italy has done with the corona crisis just now, the ineffectiveness seems to be the same, just as the reasons: denial from the government officials, indifference by the people - until its too late - and a tendency to blame it all to those who try to d ...more
Mike Violano
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Blood Brotherhoods recounts the history of the three Italian mafias--the Cosa Nostra of Sicily, the Camorra based in Naples and the 'ndrangheta, the crime family from the toe of the Italian boot. The author has obviously done a tremendous amount of research in preparing this book but that is not necessarily a plus. Comprehensive but not particularly inspired writing; it reads a bit like a monograph or a PhD thesis. The litany of mafia dons, Calabrian chiefs, murders, and the travails of the Ital ...more
Frank Frag
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a very informative account of the Mafia in Italy, but with the warning that it does move slowly and often becomes tedious in repetition. Dickie focuses strongly on the District Attorney throughout, as well as lingering on single characters at the expense of the larger picture.

However, it does provide the details of origin and helps make sense of what we came to understand as the Mafia and its operations in the United States during the 20th century. Although Dickie doesn't get into the U
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive, authoritative and detailed history of Italy's three mafias: the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Camorra from Naples, and the mysterious 'ndranghetta from Calabria (the toe of the boot) spanning their ancient beginnings into the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The author does a good job of explaining the varied responses of Italy's criminal justice systems through the years. We also get a good sense of how and why the Italians have tolerated and worked with the mafias and why Italy now ha ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Popular American culture tends to romanticize the mafia and portray it as something almost cool. Books like this show just how harmful the mafia has been to Sicilians and other Italians and I think that is very important. Despite the imposing number of pages, I found myself very immersed in the writing.
Claudine Munoz
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thorough history of the so called Honoured Society.
Joana Silva
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good historical review and good investigations piece about the different kind of mafia in Italy and it’s transformation over the years.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
As any reader of my blog may have surmised, Italian organized crime is a reading interest of mine. I've reviewed both Midnight in Sicily and Mafia Republic in the last couple of years; the latter work also by Dickie, covering the history of organized crime in Italy since World War Two. Mafia brotherhoods is Dickie's history of the three main criminal societies from their birth up until the War. It is a highly engaging book, packed with incident and characters, based on sound scholarship.

Dickie e
An absorbing although at times depressing history of the three notorious criminal "brotherhoods" that emerged from Southern Italy in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, depressing because the book outlines the extent to which these organisations infiltrated the administration of the Italian state and all too frequently made themselves immune to justice.

The book covers the period from about 1850 to 1944 and is concerned only with Italy. The author explains that the history of the Mafia in
Πέτρος Παπαγεωργίου
I found the book very informative and certainly a lot of research has gone into it. The style of writing I found a little "dry", I'm not sure I can put my finger on it, but at times it seemed a little naive...

But there is one thing that made a great impression on me from the start. Reading about the Mafia brotherhoods and essentially the way a large part of Italian society "works" I was reminded very much of Greece, where I live. Only here we don't have (as far as I know) organised crime rings a
Matthew Calamatta
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Unification of Italy, prison economies and power structures explode out into Naples; the mountain communities of Calabria birth the 'ndrangheta, the lemon groves and noble grounds of Palermo solidify the Mafia; three secret societies, very structured, absolutely a systematic conspiracy. despite this, continous failures to combat and recognize them as such; ill-willed and ignorant obfuscation as a southern state of mind; up to 1943, when the Americans come and with their massive stores give birth ...more
Lauren Albert
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-european
I learned something I certainly didn't know before--that there were 3 Italian Mafias. Dickie does a good job describing their rise and (for some of them) their falls. He explains what made them so powerful and difficult to uproot. He shows the connection between fascism and the Mafia. He also shows the cultural differences between them. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best organised crime documental revelations, which describes how the secret blood fraternities work. A lot of peculiar rituals in the blood brotherhoods and dynastic webs trough the Italian judicial system are described, giving a wide look in the Italian history. The book is excellent and recommended for people who like the science of law, ceime or politics.
Paul Retkwa
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
The version I have is a collection of two books: Mafia Brotherhoods and Mafia Republic. The 2014 version of this book apparently is a conflation of them both for America, as opposed to the smaller British version that's all I can find on Goodreads thus far. ...more
Jessica Spiegel
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic & fascinating book. It's a gripping history, eminently readable, & should be required reading for anyone who loves Italy. ...more
Pedro García
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No desmerece para nada a Cosa Nostra. Muy recomendable
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is brilliant.
It is easy to understand, and written as if it were the best of fiction.
rated it it was amazing
Mar 17, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 31, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2017
Carl Russo
rated it really liked it
Feb 23, 2014
Mel C
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2018
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Constant Gardener
  • Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches
  • Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within
  • The Korean War
  • Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (Assassin's Creed, #1)
  • Our Game
  • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale
  • Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age
  • The Last Godfathers: Inside the Mafia's Most Infamous Family
  • Live by Night (Coughlin, #2)
  • 1421: The Year China Discovered America
  • ZeroZeroZero
  • Transition
  • Acid for the Children
  • Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane, #1)
  • Cold Skin
  • Tailchaser's Song
  • La mansión de los abismos
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Kazuo Ishiguro insists he’s an optimist about technology.  “I'm not one of these people who thinks it's going to come and destroy us,” he...
187 likes · 22 comments
“French rule brought a whole series of innovations in the way the Kingdom was run. Out went feudalism, and in came private property. Out went a messy assemblage of local customs, baronial and church jurisdictions, and public ordinances: in came a new code of civil law and the beginnings of a police force. The southern part of the Italian peninsula began to resemble a modern, centralised state.” 1 likes
“The camorra turned the needs and rights of their fellow prisoners (like their bread or their pizzo) into favours. Favours that had to be paid for, one way or another. The camorra system was based on the power to grant those favours and to take them away. Or even to throw them in people’s faces. The real cruelty of the turnip-throwing episode is that the camorrista was bestowing a favour that he could just as easily have withheld.” 1 likes
More quotes…