Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia

Claire Sterling, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-393-02796-9
It will come as a shock to most Americans to read that the heroin and much of the cocaine traffic in the U.S. is controlled by the Sicilian Mafia and not a domestic syndicate. Sterling ( The Terror Network ) maintains that in 1957, at a gangland summit meeting in Palermo, American mobsters gave the drug franchise to the Sicilians, who began to build a multinational drug cartel that has expanded ever since. It has ties to Turkish poppy growers and bases all over the world, increasingly strong ones in Brazil and Venezuela as the popularity of cocaine increases. The extent of the cartel's reach was not perceived until the mid-'80s, with the trial of 474 mafiosi in Sicily and the Pizza Connection case in the U.S. (which, according to Sterling, hardly damaged it). The book is an important contribution to our understanding of world crime. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-671-73402-2
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-393-33466-1
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