Here Nicholas Gage, the New York Times reporter who last year produced The Mafia is Not an Equal Opportunity Employer, guns down the idea that the Mafia is Not a Cancerous Growth, responding to Life, Gay Talese, and others who have contended that the secret crime society is slithering off to indecent burial or into respected professions or wherever old hitmen go. Not on your endangered life, snaps Gage, and to prove the point he's selected 24 articles and excerpts which ""give the widest and most accurate possible portrait of the Mafia"" from Sicilian genesis and American organization to the Brotherhood's oily men and nefarious methods. Aside from a couple of pieces commissioned for the collection (Walter Goodman on the NYC Marcus scandal; Thomas Hoge on ""friendly"" New Joisey), most of the contributions are from well-known sources you might have read before: Fred Cook, Donald Cressey, Hank Messick, Ralph Salerna and John Tompkins, and Gage who kicks around the Chairman of the Board (the mob's pal Frankie), Carlo Gambino, and Mafia women with equal zeal. Unfortunately there's nothing from Francis Ianni's impressive A Family Business (p. 609) but then Ianni doesn't subscribe to Gage's theory about the Mafia's future. Mafia, U.S.A. is a little like putting your feet in wet cement -- who needs it?