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Monday, 10 January 2011
Lad Lit Book Reviews: Mafia Dynasty by John H. Davis
The Gambino branch of New York's five families has been led by some of the most powerful and well-known gangsters in American history. From its rise to prominence in the roaring 20s right through to the 80s and 90s under the leadership of one man who would become the most infamous mobster since Al Capone, Mafia expert John H. Davis takes us through six decades of greed, murder, deceit, and ruthless power struggles in Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family.
Davis has put together a well-written account that not only focuses on the rise and fall of the Gambino Family, but the history of the American Mafia in general, starting in the prohibition era when pockets of Sicilian immigrants took advantage of the fact alcohol had been outlawed to create their fortune.This would lead the way for the Italian/Jewish faction of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, and Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel to not only take control of the New York crime family, but to create The Commission; a corporate business-like code of conduct and chain of command that would be rolled out across the country and take the Mafia to another level.
The length of the book (500 plus pages), rarely seems a chore to read as Davis guides the reader through a whirlwind of historical theatre and drama. Despite featuring such unruly characters as Albert Anastasia (who was part of a group of ruthless murderers called Murder, Inc.) and Carlo Gambino who seized control in the 1950s of the family which would eventually bear his name, Davis uses all of this as a prelude to lay the foundations to focus on John Gotti; the man who would go on the feature on the front of Time magazine.
A seasoned Mafia expert or fan of the genre might not find anything new in this book that they didn't already know, but for the casual reader it is the perfect guide to paint the picture of the Gambino's. Personally that really works for me, because I have read other books on the subject who attempt to dig so deep to reveal every intricate detail of the history of the mob that you get a little bogged down, and for that reason I give this book two very big thumbs up.