The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires
By Selwyn Raab
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312300944, 784pp.)
Publication Date: August 25, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo and Lucchese. For decades these Five Families ruled New York and built the American Mafia (or Cosa Nostra) into an underworld empire. Today, the Mafia is an endangered species, battered and beleaguered by aggressive investigators, incompetent leadership, betrayals and generational changes that produced violent and unreliable leaders and recruits. A twenty year assault against the five families in particular blossomed into the most successful law enforcement campaign of the last century.
Five Families is the vivid story of the rise and fall of New York's premier dons from Lucky Luciano to Paul Castellano to John Gotti and more. The book also brings the reader right up to the possible resurgence of the Mafia as the FBI and local law enforcement agencies turn their attention to homeland security and away from organized crime.
Since 1974, Selwyn Raab has been a reporter for The New York Times and has won dozens of awards for his coverage of the Mafia. He's appeared countless times on both local and national news shows and in documentaries about the Mafia for the History Channel and A&E. More than a newsman he is also something of a crusader, having played an important role in exposing fabricated testimony surrounding the conviction of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Raab is also the author of Justice in the Back Room which was the basis for the legendary "Kojak" television series and the very successful Mob Lawyer, which shed new light on who killed Jimmy Hoffa and JFK.
"A classic piece of reporting by a man who knows the bloody, brutal, corrupt territory."
--Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes
"In my more than fifty years as a reporter, there is no journalist who I've respected more than Selwyn Raab at The New York Times in covering New York's criminal justice system. He was tireless and painstaking in investigating the investigators, sometimes helping to prove innocence, but equally fair and conscientious in cases that ended in conviction. His riveting book will be I'm sure the definitive history of the Mafia in New York for a long time to come. It is a model of what journalism can be." --NAT HENTOFF
"After an eight-decade run in which its executives built the most powerful criminal organization in U.S. history, the American Mafia began to unravel at the end of the 20th century. It did so in a convulsion of blood and treachery, fueled by out-of-control egos. Selwyn Raab was there, in the streets, the precinct houses, and the courtrooms to record that story. No one does it better. " --TOM ROBBINS, Reporter, Village Voice