THE ANTIMAFIA by Alison Jamieson


Italy's Fight Against Organized Crime
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A consultant to the United Nations International Drug Control Programme provides penetrating analysis of Italy's century-old struggle against the Mafia, a struggle that reached new heights in 1992 with the assassination of two prominent judges.

Jamieson, who has written on terrorism, organized crime, and drugs in both Italian and English journals, has done her research. She interviewed prosecutors, judges, politicians, priests, police officers, and widows of Mafia victims; she examined newspaper coverage, government documents, and court records; she put together chronologies and compiled statistics. From these sources she has constructed a narrative that takes a hard look at the successes and failures of the current antimafia movement. After a brief history of Mafia/government interaction, Jamieson studies four areas of antimafia activity: political, law enforcement, civic or grassroots, and international. Her primary focus is on the political response, since it is central to the other efforts. Jamieson finds that conflicts between the judiciary and the executive have led to stopgap measures rather than a concerted effort to adopt positive policies aimed at neutralizing the Mafia's threat. She considers the problems and assesses the effectiveness of such law-enforcement institutions as the police, the army, the intelligence agencies, and the witness protection program; she also takes a critical look at the laudable but limited responses of various other sectors of Italian society, including women's groups, the Catholic Church, civic organizations, and schools. Italy, Jamieson says, `stands at a crossroad in the antimafia fight`; which road it will take is still unclear. International efforts to fight the Mafia in such areas as drug and arms trafficking, fraud, money laundering, and extortion have also increased since 1992, but the author notes the slowness with which international and domestic bureaucracies move compared with the speed of organized crime. Her conclusion: organized crime, which now reaches every continent as well as cyberspace, is likely to continue to expand.

A troubling but hardtodispute assessment backed by an impressive amount of data.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-22911-9
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000