Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia” as Want to Read:
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  41 reviews
An unprecedented look inside a deadly and obscenely wealthy branch of the Italian mafia and the electrifying story of the women who risked everything to bring them down.

The Calabrian Mafia—known as the ’Ndrangheta—is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the coc
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by William Morrow
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 The Good Mothers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Good Mothers

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  275 ratings  ·  41 reviews

Sort order
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars for the veracity and documentations, but rounded up for the connecting historical, cultural content. And also the photos and the geographic views.

It jumps a bit between the women's life stories and their outcomes. And the resultant "searches" and police cases of possible prosecution.

This is so sad that I almost reduced it a star because there truly is no enjoyment in the read.

Calabria's drug trade in cocaine products (3.5% of Italia's entire GDP- which supplies throughout Europe) and
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an eye opening look into the Mafia. You are born into it,marry within it and you will remain loyal at any cost. In 2009 after the murder of one Mafia wife prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti got the women to testify about the men. This was a deep look at the women in Mafia life. Perry really put in a ton of work on this novel. Including pictures of the women. This a must read. A true story that delivers an intense view of the dangerous life of these women.
Novels N Latte
Book Blog
Book Club
Amar Pai
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This tale of the women who refused to put up with Ndrangheta oppression is inspiring and sad... such bravery but they have to give up their families and their lives, and still the Ndrangheta lives on and leeches off the people. There's nothing romantic about these criminal gangs. They are scum
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“As rich as the biggest businesses or banks or governments, ‘Ndrangheta- managed money moved markets and changed lives from New York to London to Tokyo to Sao Paulo to Johannesburg. In the first two decades of the new millennium, it was hard to imagine another human enterprise with such influence over so many lives. Most remarkable of all: almost no one had ever heard of it.”

Perry’s thorough research and strong writing gives us a colourful and informative historical background into the ‘Ndranghe
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really interesting expose into the modern southern-Italian mafia and how prosecutors have exploited its terrible mistreatment of its female family members to obtain intelligence and convictions. If the Amanda Knox prosecution left you shaking your head at the state of Italian law enforcement, this book is an effective rebuttal that shows that there are many dedicated and competent members of that community risking their lives to do the right thing. Two things were startling to me as an ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An astonishing and courageous book
I usually listen to my books In the car only. But the content and the manner in which the book is written had me listening at every opportunity. I am familiar with the mafiosi of Sicilia, Napoli and Calabria. And the Ndrangheta is by far the most infiltrated into many countries and their daily dealings.

With the zeitgeist of #metoo, this book is timeous and captures that most eloquently.
Lydia Wallace
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really didn't know much about the Mafia until I read this book. This is a very informant book about the Mafia, and how the women and children were treated. Prosecutor Alessandra really is a brave lady that brings justice to women and children of the Mafia and destroys a large portion of the Calabrina Mafia known as the Ndrangheta. It is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world with branches stretching from America to Australia. Prosecutor Alessandra got a lot of the M ...more
Neelam Babul
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional and incredible true crime account of the 'Ndrangheta and how they wrecked their families and cities into turmoil. Told in the form of a story, the writer leads us into their history, daily workings and how a few women in their families became a beacon of hope and inspiration for the other women who were forced into a life of crime and violence to protect their children and themselves.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many a true crime novel has been dedicated to the mafia in one form or another. Its history has been sprawled across so many pages that it is hard to not have a little knowledge about them and what they have done. But one common thread in all these books is the focus on the lives of men in these families. So what becomes of the weaves and daughter of the powerful men, can they live with knowing what their husbands do and where the money comes from. This is where the author starts his book. Thes ...more
Erjona Topalli
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Favorite historical non fiction piece of work. Loved the way the storylines were developed and the writing style. Would read more from this author.
Anupama C K(b0rn_2_read)
Enjoyed it a lot. Detailed review later
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Received this ARC from Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury, MA
Interesting non-fiction story about a mafia most of us have never heard of.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book - captivating from the first page. Pulls you into the characters' lives and stories while also providing a broad view of the investigation and prosecution Calabrian Mafia as a whole.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveway. This is only my second true crime book I have ever read. It was an enlightening book about the way the mafia operated and the role women played in bringing down generations of crime and extortion. It was well researched.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated by this book! The courage of the women of this gigantic mafia was astounding. The lives of all of the families were so shocking. A very interesting, factual and "eye opening" book of how the world really is. Highly recommend reading.
Hillary Thrasher
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming soon to a theater near you: The Godmothers

This is my first NF mafia read. And I was not disappointed. While compelling, Mr. Perry avoids the cliché of a “big reveal”. Readers know early on that heroism comes at a cost. The language is straight-forward reporting...nothing flowery or presumptive. Naturally, the story would have been far more interesting had it been written by the magistrate or other (surviving) women whose lives we read about third-hand, but they didn’t. Better to have sto
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe a lot of what women and children of Mafia families endured and not long ago. How brave so many women were to put on record the terrible actions of their fathers and husbands, some enduring torture and death by trying to protect their children and loved ones from the violence. I learned a lot from this book which made me appreciate even more the love and support of a great family life.
Bob O'G
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Good Mothers is a mafia story without humor, glamour, and glory. This is probably because it is true. Alex Perry tells the true stories of 4 women, 3 mafia women and 1 prosecutor who together helped take down hundreds of members of the 'Ndrangheta mafia in Italy. What made this book unique was how without the luxury of charismatic actors and dialogue and Hollywood magic, the mafia is no more than a (highly successful) criminal enterprise consisting of brutal animalistic men who commit countl ...more
I'm not normally a true crime fan but this was fascinating!
The story of how the misogyny and focus on 'honor" of the one of the largest mafia groups caused it's own destruction.
The 'Ndrangheta is one of the biggest, richest and far reaching crime syndicates you have never heard of. They run 70% of the cocaine and heroin in Europe, deal in prostitution and people smuggling, launder money on an industrial scale, and have enough financial knowledge and influence to destabilise governments. They are
SJ Reads
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
This was a really decent read! I loved the strong women in this, and how much I learnt about the Italian Mafia. It was both informative and a fun ride. Honestly a great non fiction book!
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
An unbelievable true story, practically present day! The descriptions of torture and murder were gruesome and horrific especially since they were true. The lengths the Italian government has gone to has been impressive...putting listening devices in asphalt to capture a conversation!! The book had a nice tidy ending for the 2013. The book was published in 2018. What are Alessandra, Denise, and Giuseppina up to now? I couldn't find any information online-Hence the 4 star rating.

Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Once again, I'd like to be able to give this a half star more. the only reason I held back on 5 stars was the fact that the narrative leapt around a bit, causing me to have to mentally pause and recalibrate a little.
This is a remarkable story and one I'd only very vaguely heard of - unfortunate, as I understand the Calabrian mafia is active right here in South Australia. It also reminded me of one of the Italian girls in my class at high school. Her family was from the south of Italy and she was
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Calabria, Italy. Home of the Ndrangheta. Motivated by the desire to give their children a better life, three courageous, desperate women sought to escape the ruthless horror within the confines of this powerful crime dynasty. Break Omerta, pay with your life. Two did.

This book is so well written giving us a clear accounting also of the herculean task prosecutors faced in taking back Calabria for it’s citizens. Often firebombed, frustrated by setbacks, the flaws of the witness protection program
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I stumbled across a song called "'Ndrangheta Allotment" by Meatraffle on Spotify (great song, you should listen to it). Several hours in the Google black hole later this book book was purchased and I was on my way.

I thought this was a fascinating look into a criminal organization that, until now, I knew very little about. I think things began to get a bit repetitive in the second half of the book, and different stylistic choices may have helped to keep me more engaged. The complex nature of the
Denise Chojnacki
In a day and age when we are looking for stories of powerful women, this is a great book that shows not only the strength of women, but the power of a mother's love. The mob in Siciliy had been around for a long time. It's hold on the region and the wives and children involved was unrelenting. The unbridled brutality and control was oppressive. It was going to take some strong women and some hard nose lawyers to try and break the mob's hold. This book details how that happened and the consequenc ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
If I could give a 2.5, I would. Reading about the mafia is fascinating. It is unbelievable the billions of dollars that make up this illegal operation, and it was interesting to get an inside look into how that plays out in the Italian legal system.

That said, I found Perry's style to be a little repetitive. He jumped around a bit. He definitely suffered from the plight of many non-fiction writers in that they spend so much time researching about the topic that everything seems interesting to th
Wendy Betts
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of the power that the mafia has on the women. Once married you are so totally entrenched with no way out except with your life. This powerful true story was an eye opener for me as I did not know that the mafia is still very much a part of everyday life in some parts of Italy and beyond. It was also sad to know that there seems to be little that the authorities can do to protect these women who feel that they have no recourse but to go back and face the co ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never heard of the ‘Ndrangheta and had thought of Messina and Sicily in a romanticised way as a quaint medieval backwater of Italy. This account of the present day Maria and the unbelievable scope and ruthlessness if their power is extraordinary. The women at the centre who helped break open their centuries old dynastic crime ring are bigger than any fictionalised hero could be. An immersive and eye-opening read.
Dana Delamar
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent exploration of the role that women play in the 'Ndrangheta as mothers, daughters, wives, and sometimes family heads--and what happens when these women rebel against an organization that is often cruelly misogynistic toward them.

Shirley Clarke
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astonishing story on the lives of the Mafia women

Beautifully written and researched this amazing account of a few brave Mafia wife's who risked their lives to save the children from a life of horror and deception.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 10 Sep 02, 2018 12:58AM  
  • Of Street Piemen
  • Greenpeace Captain: My Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet
  • Journey from Venice
  • The Power Of Hope
  • The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows
  • The Water Kingdom
  • Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World
  • Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
  • Special
  • The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded
  • Das Scheißleben meines Vaters, das Scheißleben meiner Mutter und meine eigene Scheißjugend
  • The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys
  • The Birdman's Wife
  • The Last Englishmen: Love, War, and the End of Empire
  • Hotel du Barry
  • Die Suche beginnt (Die Chroniken der Seelenwächter, #1)
  • Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities
  • Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago
Alex Perry is a correspondent and author. He is the author of The Good Mothers, The Rift, Falling Off The Edge, and Lifeblood, as well as several ebooks. His journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, TIME, Newsweek, Roads and Kingdoms and others. Born in Philadelphia and raised in England, Perry lived and worked for 15 years in Asia and Africa. He now lives in Hampshire, England.
“Myth was how the ’Ndrangheta assumed a moral purpose when it was self-evidently immoral, how it colored itself romantic and divine when it was base and profane, and how it convinced others it was their righteous champion even as it robbed and murdered them. Myth was how those inside the organization were persuaded they were following a higher code and those outside it found themselves stumped by even the simplest questions, such as who was who. It was all an enormous lie. But it was a lie that explained how, almost without anyone noticing, a small group of families from the wild hills of Italy’s south had become the twenty-first century’s most formidable mafia.” 0 likes
More quotes…