The Honored Society: The History of Italy’s Most Powerful Mafia

Petra Reski, trans. from the German by Shaun Whiteside. Nation, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-56858-973-2
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German investigative journalist Reski explores the far-reaching influence of the various Mafia clans, from the Sicilian Cosa Nostra to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, in this intriguing if scattered account of the power of organized crime. While the Cosa Nostra may be the most publicly recognizable Mafia organization, it’s the ‘Ndrangheta that is behind more international drug running and weapons dealing, among other illegal activities. Spurred on by the August 2007 murders in Germany of six ‘Ndrangheta members—which finally shed light on the organization’s lethal ways—Reski crisscrosses Italy in search of the group’s and others’ origins. The Cosa Nostra is organized vertically, with power consolidated at the top in a few key individuals, while the ‘Ndrangheta is structured horizontally, meaning that should one of its members decide to cooperate with the police, he or she could not betray anyone higher up. Reski continually stresses the Mafia organizations’ insidious nature in Italy and abroad as she visits town after town where the mob controls everything from politics to the church. While her expertise is never in doubt, Reski’s mixture of personal anecdotes and reportage often leaves the reader wishing she’d commit to one or the other. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Jan. 8)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
Paperback - 354 pages - 978-1-4596-8871-1
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Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-84887-134-2
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