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message 1: by Thomas (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Just received my copy of Mafia: United States Treasury Department Bureau of Narcotics today.

The book, supposedly a facsimile of the underworld binder-references used by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (every single page - even the blank ones - bears a "Property of the U.S. Govt" message), contains hundreds of single-page bios of mobsters. Most include mugshots. The information looks to be superficial, but birthdates, relatives, addresses, law enforcement file numbers and other details in the bios could lead determined researchers to additional information.

On its own, this book might be less a collection of lost information than it is an index of lost information.

A couple of navigation problems: 1. The index has been placed at the front of the book. 2. Though the book is divided up into geographic sections, there is no table of contents to tell where section divisions occur.

The only portion of the book not originally FBN government document is the two-page foreword by Sam Giancana. That is completely forgettable.

message 2: by Thomas (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments I have high hopes for The Mafia and the Machine , by Frank R. Hayde (Barricade). It is apparently scheduled for a late December release.

One part of the book description on bothers me: "author Frank Hayde ties in every major name in organized crime-Luciano, Bugsy, Lansky..."

I hope this isn't a (another) book about Luciano, Siegel and Lansky. I'd like to see much more about the DiGiovannis, Balestrere, Lococo and Lazia...

I am particularly interested in a discussion of whether the Binaggio organization, which was apparently part of a greater political machine, was a wing of the DiGiovanni Mafia or independent of it. But perhaps I am setting the bar too high.

- Tom

message 3: by Thomas (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Couple of things relating to "The Mafia and the Machine" by Frank Hayde:

-> Monica Schreiber, new member of this group and sister of Frank Hayde, assures me that the mentions of Luciano, Lansky and Siegel in the book's writeup were due to publisher efforts to appeal to a broad audience. Monica says the book is really about genuine Kansas City gangsters and their relationship to the local political machine.

-> I understand that Hayde will be at the Corinth Branch of Johnson County KS Library, 8100 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, KS, at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20, speaking about his book. (Prairie Village is just over the state line from Kansas City, MO.)

- Tom

message 4: by Thomas (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Really neat book by the Chicago Crime Commission: "Friend and Foe." Initially only available through the CCC, it seems there are plans for "Friend and Foe" to be distributed through bookstores.

The commission opened up its archives and put a good number of newspaper clippings and old photos between the covers of "Friend and Foe." I enjoyed the large photo of Al Capone strutting along the Atlantic City boardwalk beside Nucky Johnson.

- Tom

message 5: by Rick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments Looking forward to these. A good KC book is long overdue. I'd heard about the CCC book but didn't know it included the Capone-Johnson photo.


message 6: by Rick (last edited Dec 27, 2007 11:07PM) (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments I just got a copy of Mafia myself and have had hours of enjoyment with it. Have to wonder why at this late date so many names are blacked out and if this was done by the Government (FBN/DEA) or by the publisher for some reason? And where the original copy was acquired? Surely the feds didn't simply release it for publication.

message 7: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Unfortunately, the publisher has provided no context for the Mafia book, either in the book itself or in publicity materials. The silly Giancana intro really should have been replaced with some information on how/when the book came to be and on the circumstances of its release.

- Tom

message 8: by Rick (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments Yeah, I would like to know the book's source. I was a little put off when I first heard about the Giancana foreword but clearly the book is the real thing.

message 9: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments I thought Frank Hayde did a nice job with The Mafia and the Machine. My review is posted.

- I wish he had started his account just a couple of decades earlier so we could see the genesis of machine politics and the arrival of elements of the Mafia.
- An index is sorely needed. (I have compiled one. If anyone needs a copy, let me know.)

I recommend the book to the group.

- Tom

message 10: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments My thrown-together index for "The Mafia and the Machine" can be accessed at:

I hope you find it helpful.

- Tom

message 11: by Rick (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments Reading this one now. Being a Midwesterner I'm pleased to see KC get the attention it deserves. Great book but does need the index. Thanks, Tom.

message 12: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Enjoy the index.

I noticed that there were some English scholars in the mid 19th Century who proposed withholding all legal copyright protection from any nonfiction book published without an index.

Someone went so far as to suggest that the publisher of a nonfiction book without an index "ought to be damned ten miles beyond Hell, where the Devil could not get for stinging-nettles."

I don't know if my modest effort can keep Barricade from such a fate.

- Tom

message 13: by Rick (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments I'm not real impressed with Barricade, tho they have some good books, including this one. One guy who published with Barricade (and likewise produced a great book, despite having many problems with the editorial process)told me he had to furnish his own index. As far as I'm concerned that's the publisher's job.

message 14: by Thomas (last edited Jul 02, 2008 05:11PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Cumberland House just released "The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee" by Art Bilek. I haven't seen a copy first-hand but it sounds interesting.

This description from the author: "The story follows the tempestuous life of Vincenzo Colosimo, a 13-year-old immigrant boy from southern Italy, who works his way from a street waif to a railroad section hand to a street sweeper and finally to a bordello operator. Through cleverness and intimidation Big Jim Colosimo manages to build a vice empire in Chicago and the surrounding towns. Carried away with his success in the vice business he opens a restaurant/night club which becomes the most famous restaurant in Chicago. Then Big Jim falls deeply in love with a beautiful blond soprano appearing in his night club. He divorces his wife, marries the singer and collects a bullet to the brain -- all in three short and blissful months."

Bilek is a former organized crime special investigator with the Cook County State's Attorney and a former chief of the Cook County Sheriff's Police. He is currently an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Loyola University of Chicago.

The book is available at most bookstores.
ISBN-13: 978-1581826395

- Tom

message 15: by Rick (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments Bilek is a member of the Chicago Crime Crime Commission and coauthored "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" with William J. Helmer, also published by Cumberland House.

message 16: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Just received a copy of Mountain Mafia: Organized Crime in the Rockies by Betty L. Alt and Sandra K. Wells.

My first impression is generally positive. There's a good number of endnotes and a decent bibliography, showing that Alt and Wells did a good deal of homework. Skimming revealed plenty of names and places and dates. The photo section was welcome.

A couple of criticisms right off the bat (which I might need to retract after I've had a chance to more carefully examine the book): It looks extremely light. The final numbered page is 225. However, when you subtract out the bibliography, notes and photo section, you're left with just 165-or-so pages. The book also lacks an index - a necessary item for making use of the names and places and dates within the book.

I think Alt and Wells deserve credit for tackling the previously ignored subject of the Colorado mob. Hopefully, this is merely a start.

- Tom

message 17: by Rick (new)

Rick (RickMattix) | 28 comments Haven't seen it yet but there is another new book on the Kansas City Mafia. "Open City" by William Ouseley, which deals with the early years of the KC Family. Author is a retired FBI agent and organized crime specialist who worked in the KC field ofice. Published by Leathers Publishing in Kansas.

message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments I am enjoying Open City. I think the book's most serious drawback is its lack of availability. Amazon was unable to provide a copy. I had to order through a small outfit. I hear that the publisher - a print-on-demand service - is having trouble getting the book to market.

message 19: by Thomas (last edited Nov 21, 2008 04:30PM) (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Just received a copy of The Cuban Connection: Drug Trafficking, Smuggling and Gambling in Cuba from the 1920s to the Revolution by Eduardo Saenz Rovner translated by Russ Davidson.

There are 248 or so pages in the book. But after Page 151, you'll only find notes, bibliography and index. The bibliography, which weighs in at a couple dozen pages, is impressive. Can't help but feel two dozen pages of tightly packed source listings would have been justification for more than 151 pages of text.

The index looks helpful. Quite a few entries for Lansky. Lots for Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Surprisingly few pages on Trafficante. Names like Mannarino don't occur at all.

Sadly, there are no photos.

message 20: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Michael Tona and I recently completed work on DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. The two-volume historical biography of Joseph DiCarlo is now available in hardcover, softcover and e-book formats through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple iBooks, ...

Son of the region's first known Sicilian underworld boss, DiCarlo was rejected as heir to his father's criminal empire. After spending troubled years as a vassal of the influential Stefano Magaddino, DiCarlo and his underlings wandered, seeking their fortunes in Youngstown, Ohio, and Miami Beach, Florida, before returning home to participate in the bloody disintegration of western New York's Mafia organization.

Goodreads is helping us publicize the release. We are running a Volume I softcover giveaway that ends Nov. 2. (Enter here) And we just opened a Q&A discussion group for questions about the DiCarlo book or related subjects. (Join here).

You can learn more about DiCarlo on our website.

message 21: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tphunt) | 38 comments Happy to announce that C. Alexander Hortis's book, The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York is soon to be released by Prometheus Books. I had the opportunity to preview the book and found it to be a well crafted, informative and comprehensive history of the Mob's development in New York City.

(BTW, if you are interested in acquiring a copy of this book, sign up for the Goodreads giveaway drawing taking place now: )

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