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An impossible-to-put-down page-turner revealing the Mafia makeup and three courageous women who bore witness to save others.

The highly compelling story of the women who dared to break omertà, the Mafia code of silence.

In fully developing his subjects, Perry (The Rift: A New Africa Breaks Free, 2015, etc.) shows remarkable empathy for their plights. The women were raised in Calabria, the home to the ’Ndrangheta, an arm of the Mafia, just like the Camorra of Naples and the Cosa Nostra of Sicily. Italy cracked down on the Sicilian Mafia in the early 1980s, outlawing any relationship, even familial. By the mid-2000s, Cosa Nostra was a shadow of itself. Then the ’Ndrangheta stepped in, took over the narcotics trade, and expanded it to a multibillion-euro business. In 2009, a prosecutor named Alessandra Cerreti was assigned to Calabria, and her tireless work uncovered the truth. In this captivating true-crime narrative, the author paints a frightening and intimate picture of women’s misery under the rule of organized crime. Many were denied education, they knew their sons would end up murderers, and their daughters married early and were routinely abused. They were part of the clan, and voluntarily or not, women worked as messengers, bookkeepers, and heads of the business when their husbands were “unavailable.” In the mid-1990s, ’Ndrangheta wife Lea Garofalo left her husband, taking her daughter to inform against the Mafia. She spent years in the witness protection program; unfortunately, her witness produced no arrests. Garofalo and her daughter hid for years, knowing her husband was following them. She eventually attempted reconciliation, knowing full well she would likely be murdered. Fortunately, she was not the only woman who was fed up with the misogynist tyranny and oppression of the “family.” Giuseppina Pesce and Maria Concetta Cacciola were friends and were ready to talk. Both had children, and their information proved to be priceless. Desperate, their families used their children to try to get them back for the singular purpose of murdering them.

An impossible-to-put-down page-turner revealing the Mafia makeup and three courageous women who bore witness to save others.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265560-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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