Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic

Alexander Stille, Author Pantheon Books $27.5 (467p) ISBN 978-0-679-42579-3
In Sicialian mafia parlance, the phrase excellent cadavers denotes the corpses of distinguished citizens, and in this notable history, Stille (Benevolence and Betrayal) chronicles the accumulation of a great number of them, concentrating on the last quarter century. He focuses on Sicilians Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who prosecuted the so-called maxi-trials of the '80s, the first of which involved 465 mafiosi. The two were assassinated in 1992. Yet, as more and more gangsters became informants, an even more sinister pattern began to emerge. There was no doubt that various levels of the Italian government had tried to undermine the investigations of Falcone and Borsellino, and it became clear that the mob had ties to the Christian Democratic Party and particularly to Giulio Andreotti, who has many times served as Italy's prime minister. Bribery scandals unfolded, implicating Bettino Craxi, leader of the Socialist Party and a former prime minister; Andreotti and Craxi are currently under criminal indictment. Stille's prodigious research encompasses not only factional fights within the mafia but also the range of national corruption uncovered by the heroic investigations by Falcone and Borsellino. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 467 pages - 978-0-09-959491-8
Hardcover - 978-0-517-36127-6
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-679-76863-0
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4464-1896-3
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