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|Read Epub Ø Mafia and Mafiosi: Origin, Power and Myth ⛓ An impressive addition Hess has written with excellent historical insight, bringing to light new facts and offering what is in important respects a new interpretation of them Times Literary SupplementThe book is excellently written and sets out its case with clarity, elaborate detail, and the useful addition of a restrained imagination The Criminiologist Henner Hess s classic work, first published almost a quarter century ago, gives a detailed picture of the typical career of mafiosi Hess describes a distinct subculture whose behavioral patterns have been largely determined by the specific political, economic, and social history of Sicily, a society characterized by a weak state and organized on the basis of self help This subculture was and is the breeding ground for the strong arm man mafioso or uomo d onore, man of honor, as he is called in Sicily, the proud, taciturn, independent man who believes in the use of violence to achieve personal goals As a rule, the men come from poor families and rise through violent crime, shrewd diplomacy and the building of a family of followers to a respected position of power and wealth Most important are the mafioso s reciprocal arrangements with politicians and government officials whom he supports in the elections and who protect him from law enforcement Mafia, popularly conceived as a strictly centralized secret society, is instead proven to be a system of independent families which might on many occasions cooperate, but just as easily be driven to bloody feud Only in the last decade have there been a number of so called pentiti, crown witnesses who cooperate with the criminal justice system Using their testimonies, an extensive afterword brings the book up to date I picked this up from a display at work because my wife and I are vacationing in Sicily this summer I m a little embarrassed that the first book I read in preparation for the trip is about the Mafia, but who am I kidding Sicily is a fascinating place, a cultural crossroads with few equivalents on Earth, but my longtime fascination has everything to do with The Godfather I read the kinda lousy book in high school, already obsessed with the sublime well, the first two movies I was particul I picked this up from a display at work because my wife and I are vacationing in Sicily this summer I m a little embarrassed that the first book I read in preparation for the trip is about the Mafia, but who am I kidding Sicily is a fascinating place, a cultural crossroads with few equivalents on Earth, but my longtime fascination has everything to do with The Godfather I read the kinda lousy book in high school, already obsessed with the sublime well, the first two movies I was particularly interested, in the book, in the old timers, the guys like Vito, who were called never, I would imagine, to their faces Mustache Petes, and in their quasi medieval Sicilian milieu Mafia and Mafiosi is a German sociology monograph from the 70s , a classic, if the cover blurbs are to be believed While it frequently lapses into the unreadability and self importance that I have come to expect from academic prose and, in particular, from perpetrators of social science, it contains, amid its gaseous generalizations and infantile sociograms, a vivid portrait of the essentially feudal culture that survived in Sicily until the Second World War The uomini di rispetto, in their place of origin, were not criminals They were, in a sense, The Only Law West of the Pecos The endless series of conquests that constitutes Sicilian history resulted in a population with no investment in the apparatus of government, and mafia arose as what Hess calls a self help solution to the power vacuum A traditional Sicilian mafioso wasn t a member of an avowedly criminal organization, let alone an acolyte in a mysterious secret society he represented a communal behavioral ideal the man who would suffer no insult and who was willing to use violence to further his mostly legitimate business ends So many Mafia histories are written to the same outline, regardless of their focus Hess book is an exception My area of interest is Mafia organization what shape a Mafia cosca takes, the shape of the network that connects cosche, its resemblance to and reliance upon the family Hess devotes himself to describing and defining terms the rest of us have been throwing around words like mafia and mafioso Even when talking about gangsters who are a poor fit, his is still the best resource f So many Mafia histories are written to the same outline, regardless of their focus Hess book is an exception My area of interest is Mafia organization what shape a Mafia cosca takes, the shape of the network that connects cosche, its resemblance to and reliance upon the family Hess devotes himself to describing and defining terms the rest of us have been throwing around words like mafia and mafioso Even when talking about gangsters who are a poor fit, his is still the best resource for describing a subject asor less meeting a classic and accepted definition A must read for anyone with a serious interest in Mafia studies