Review Five Families


Combined Action
Verified Military
Jun 29, 2014
Decisive Terrain
Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empire

By Selwyn Raab

A big, meaty, 750-page history of the Mob and a fascinating read by an author who covered organized crime for 25 years for the The New York Times.

The book is comprehensive, from the Mob's origins to present day, detailing the Mafia's incredible infiltration and corruption of almost every aspect of business in New York, legal or illegal, from the Fulton Fish Market, the garment sector, construction, waste removal, heroin distribution, gambling, chop-shops, control of the unions, loan-sharking, extortion/protection, hijacking, on and on...and the extremely challenging problems law enforcement has had to overcome to penetrate the secrecy and tiered defenses erected by the Mob over the decades.

Some very interesting insights about J. Edgar Hoover's total denial of the Mob's existence that allowed it to flourish in the 1950's, 60's and 70's; the power struggles within the family hierarchies; the birth of the RICO Act and the effort to get law enforcers to understand its complexities and use it with devastating effect against the crime families in the 90's and 2000's; the secret break-ins, bugs, wiretaps and dangerous undercover roles by FBI agents; NYPD detectives who committed murders for the mob for cash; and an uncompromising, unrelenting prosecutor named Rudy Giuliani.

The book also details the post 9/11 resurgence of the Mafia families, recovering from the imprisonment of Gotti, Massino, Gigante and other Godfathers, as law enforcers focused attention on terrorism and the organized crime task forces were stripped of man-power and resources.

The Mafia is ever-expanding into new avenues of crime.



Formerly Known as Freefalling
Sep 8, 2006
Not Afghanistan
You two should check out The Outfit by Gus Russo. It covers the Chicago mob from pre-Capone to the present. VERY eye opening.
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