By John Dickie
MAFIA. CAMORRA. 'NDRANGHETA.The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra from Naples and, from the poor and isolated region of Calabria, the mysterious 'ndrangheta, which has now risen to become the most powerful mob group active today.Since they emerged, the mafias have all corrupted Italy's institutions, drastically curtailed the life-chances of its citizens, evaded justice, and set up their own self-interested meddling as an alternative to the courts. Yet each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity. Each is uniquely adapted to corrupt and exploit its own specific environment, as it collabourates with, learns from, and goes to war with the other mafias.Today, the shadow of organized crime hangs over a country racked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. The 'ndrangheta controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade and, by some estimates, 3 percent of Italy's total GDP. Blood Brotherhoods traces the origins of this national malaise back to Italy's roots as a united country in the nineteenth century, and shows how political violence incubated underworld sects among the lemon groves of Palermo, the fetid slums of Naples, and the harsh mountain villages of Calabria. Blood Brotherhoods is a book of breathtaking ambition, tracing for the first time the interlocking story of all three mafias from their origins to the present day. John Dickie is recognized in Italy as one of the foremost historians of organized crime. In these pages, he blends archival detective work, passionate narrative, and shrewd analysis to bring a unique criminal ecosystem,and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it,to life on the page.
A Bright and Guilty Place
By Richard Rayner
In the roaring twenties Los Angeles was the fastest growing city in the world, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, celebrity scandals, and religious fervor. It was also rife with organized crime, with a mayor in the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A Bright and Guilty Place, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of two men, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a few transformative years, as the boom times shaded into the Depression, the adventures of Clark and White would inspire pulp fiction and replace L.A.'s reckless optimism with a new cynicism. Together, theirs is the tale of how the city of sunshine got noir. When A Bright and Guilty Place begins, Leslie White is a naïve young photographer who lands a job as a crime-scene investigator in the L.A. district attorney's office. There he meets Dave Clark, a young, movie-star handsome lawyer and a rising star prosecutor with big ambitions. The cases they tried were some of the first "trials of the century," starring dark-hearted oil barons, sexually perverse starlets, and hookers with hearts of gold. Los Angeles was in the grip of organized crime, and White was dismayed to see that only the innocent paid while the powerful walked free. But Clark was entranced by L.A.'s dangerous lures and lived the high life, marrying a beautiful woman, wearing custom-made suits, yachting with the rich and powerful, and jaunting off to Mexico for gambling and girls. In a shocking twist, when Charlie Crawford, the Al Capone of L.A., was found dead, the chief suspect was none other than golden boy Dave Clark.A Bright and Guilty Place is narrative non-fiction at its most gripping. Richard Rayner portrays an L.A. controlled by organized crime, where brutal murders, spectacular trials, political misdeeds, and the sexual perversities of Hollywood starlets are chronicled in graphic detail in the tabloids; where writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett transformed a dark reality into gripping fiction; and whose events would inspire the shadowy L.A. of film noir.
The Brothers Bulger
By Howie Carr
A portrait of two kids from South Boston who grew up to control a state: Whitey, in his position as Boston's most feared mobster, and Billy, from his gavel-wielding bastion in the Massachusetts State Senate. Eventually, Whitey becomes the FBI's second most wanted man behind Osama Bin Laden but Billy, though his influence put even presidents and governors at his beck and call, would eventually resign the Senate and take over the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. To those on the outside the storyline has always been the same: Whitey, 'the bad son', blazes a murderous trail to the top rung of the organized crime ladder and eventually goes on the lam; Billy, 'the good son', embraces the value of education, studies the classics and uses his mastery of the state's political machine to effect positive change in people's lives. This book shows that the real story is far more complex and that the brothers enjoyed an unholy and destructive alliance for decades, working both sides of Boston's Street of Power: political corruption and deadly force.
By James Ellroy, Jack Webb
Before Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, or NYPD Blue, there was Dragnet. From 1951 to 1959, Jack Webb starred as Sergeant Joe Friday in the most successful police drama in television history. Webb ("Just the facts, ma'am") was also the creator of Dragnet, and what made the show so revolutionary was its documentary-style format and the fact that each episode was "ripped" from the files of the LAPD. But 1950s television censors deemed many of the stories in the LAPD's files too violent or sensational for the airwaves. The Badge is Webb's collection of stories that could not be presented on TV: untold, behind-the-scenes accounts of the Black Dahlia murder, the Brenda Allen confessions, Stephen Nash's "thrill murders," and Donald Bashor's "sleeping lady murders," to name just a few. Case by case, The Badge takes readers on a spine chilling police tour through the dark, shadowy world of Los Angeles crime. It is a journey that, even four decades after it originally appeared in print, no reader is likely to forget.