This has been the authoritative, if not definitive, history of the Mafia ever since it appeared in Italy in 1962 and it has been used to fault more recent studies, such as Norman Lewis' The Honored Society (1964). It appears now almost simultaneously with Charles Siragusa's The Trail of the Poppy and both men have spent their professional lives in fighting the Mafia. Pantaleone has been shot at in public for his newspaper crusade against Sicily's Mafiosi, while Siragusa--an American-Sicilian--still mourns the death of his grandfather in a filthy alley where he was cut down. Also, where Poppy is specifically about the drug traffic, Pantaleone's book has only a single chapter about heroin and Sicily. the original Mafiosi were bands of ruffians hired by feudal lords to protect their property from thieves and bandits. However, the ruffians soon found an exploitable racket in ""protection""--a synonym for extortion. Key to their success was the vow of omerta (silence) between rival bands should the police investigate their activities: death to squealers was the common bond among competing criminals. Mafiosi began filling political slots at the turn of the century and began exonerating each other. During Mussolini's reign, they became top fascists in the villages, but laid low during WWII until the American Military Government inadvertently gave them the plum of the Black Market. Today they are stronger than ever...A calm look at terror.