THE MOB: The story of Organized Crime in America by Leslie Waller

THE MOB: The story of Organized Crime in America

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The calculable fascination of the subject may well carry readers through this easily scanned but superficial history of organized crime in America from Prohibition to the present. Well known sensational figures are spotlighted: there is Capone's rise in Chicago with the attendant gang wars and machine gunnings; parallel developments in ""peaceful"" New York where underground order was enforced by the mafia though young Luciano and Genovese led a Murder, Inc. purge of some forty old-time ""moustache Petes""; the singing of Kennedy's ""canary"" Valachi, etc. Unfortunately it's all shot through with a simplistic, moralistic tone. (""What Prohibition did was to show people that men were no better than jungle animals,"" and mobsters are now trying to get out of the drug racket ""not because they are nice people but because drugs are such an ugly crime that if caught, they will find it hard to stay out of jail"" -- wouldn't ""strongly punished"" or even ""despised"" be more precise than ""ugly"" here?) More questionable is the carefully hedged implication that ""leaders of organized crime"" had something to do with the two Kennedy assassinations. And though Waller scorns the ""many sincere, honest people (who) believed that the way to wipe out crime was to help poor people get decent jobs and to train dull-witted people to earn a living,"" his only proposal (there's no mention of our prison systems, crowded courts, nonexistent gun control, irrational drug laws, etc.) is that readers ""know the enemy"" (via his racket-by-racket survey of the ""strictly illegal,"" semilegal and ""perfectly legal"" activities of the mob today) and avoid being ""fish"" who close their eyes to the facts about their associates. Expendable.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1973
Page count: 134pp
Publisher: Delacorte