Mike Dash’s The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia is scheduled to arrive on store shelves August 4th and M&C’s giving away 20 advance copies of the book!
From “The Godfather” to “The Sopranos,” the American Mafia has long been a favorite subject in pop-culture, yet, before now, little has been known about the mafia’s origins in America.
Mike Dash’s The First Family is the first authoritative account on how the mafia established itself in the United States and created an underground world of organized crime.
Known for his engrossing narrative style, Dash bases The First Family mainly on never-before-used primary sources, including detailed records from the U.S. Secret Service, the first agency to keep Mafiosi under surveillance, trial transcripts and confessions, personal letters, and interviews with surviving family members.
With these sources, he brings us an accurate and entertaining portrait of the late 1800s and early 1900s, a vital time in both American history and New York City history. More so, he introduces us to a cast of real-life, unforgettable and colorful characters, most notably the first mafia boss Giuseppe “The Clutch Hand” Morello and U.S. Secret Service Agent William Flynn.
Before the notorious Five Families who dominated U.S. organized crime for a bloody half century, there was the one-fingered criminal genius Giuseppe Morello–known as “The Clutch Hand”–and his lethal coterie of associates. In The First Family, historian, journalist, and New York Times bestselling author Mike Dash brings to life this little-known story, following the rise of the Mafia in America from the 1890s to the 1920s, from the lawless villages of Sicily to the streets of Little Italy.
Using an impressive array of primary sources–hitherto untapped Secret Service archives, prison records, trial transcripts, and interviews with surviving family members–this is the first Mafia history that applies scholarly rigor to the story of the Morello syndicate and the birth of organized crime on these shores.
Progressing from small-time scams to counterfeiting rings to even bigger criminal enterprises, Giuseppe Morello exerted ruthless control of Italian neighborhoods in New York, and through adroit coordination with other Sicilian crime families, his Clutch Hand soon reached far beyond the Hudson River.
The men who battled Morello’s crews were themselves colorful and legendary figures, including William Flynn, a fearless Secret Service agent, and Lieutenant Detective Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino of the New York Police Department’s elite Italian Squad, whose pursuit of the brutal gangs ultimately cost him his life.
Combining first-rate scholarship and pulse-quickening action, and set amid rustic Sicilian landscapes and the streets of old New York, The First Family is a groundbreaking account of the crucial period when the American criminal underworld exploded with violent fury across the nation.
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The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia is now available for pre-order at Amazon. It is also available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble. Visit the book database for more information.
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