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The Mafia at War (Paperback)

Allied Collusion with the Mob

Military > Greenhill Books > Greenhill: 20th Century Military > Greenhill Books > Greenhill: WWII P&S History > True Crime WWII

By Tim Newark
Greenhill Books
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 16 pages of b/w plates
ISBN: 9781784388942
Published: 3rd May 2023



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'An engrossing history that reads like a thriller. The Godfather meets Band of Brothers.' — Andrew Roberts

'Newark tells an extraordinary tale with pace and conviction, and impressively unravels what really happened from the pervasive myths.' — History Today

'A fascinating and compelling work on three of the most evil movements of the 20th century. It ought to be required reading for anyone looking for insights into the period.' — Richard Hammer

The Mafia is the most powerful criminal organisation the world has ever known. This book tells the epic story of how the Mafia was nearly destroyed by Mussolini, prospered in the US, struck a secret wartime deal with the US government, and then backed a bloody rebellion that nearly turned Sicily into an independent Mafia realm.

It shows how Lucky Luciano won his freedom thanks to mobster help in World War II; how Jewish gangsters clashed with Nazis on the streets of New York; how Mafiosi nearly issued contracts to kill top Nazis including Hitler; how British bobbies patrolled the deadly streets of Palermo; and how Mafia-backed bandits conducted a guerrilla war for Sicilian independence.

The Mafia at War is a provocative account of how a criminal organisation exploited the grim realities of World War II to revive its fortunes and dominate global crime.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The book tells a fascinating story about how the Mafia won WWII. Or not. It seems there is quite a bit of proof that there were collaborations between Meyer Lanksy and Lucky Luciano and the American and British powers that be. They were instrumental in making sure the docks were safe from sabotage so that supplies and troops could cross the pond from New York to Britain, particularly in the early years. No doubt there was some patriotism but there were ulterior motives involved as well. We are talking about the Mafia.

The book goes back into the early years of many of the players in both America and Italy. It also details the rise of the Mussolini and how he and his Fascists bore down on the Mafia in Sicily. So when there was a possibility of a second front in Italy, the parties who already were connected realized that there might be advantages on both sides to make life easier for all concerned. It is fascinating to read about the plots and ploys and double crosses that followed. There were characters who played both sides at one time or another and there is quite a bit of evidence that thanks to the Allies, the Mafia got a firm hold back in Sicily partly through the black marketing of US supplies.

Bit it is clear and reiterates at the end, that was the hard scrabble fighting done by the Canadians, British and Americans who cleared the Nazis from Italy. My father was one of them. Five purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

A remarkably interesting read and a piece of history

The Mafia at war by Tim Newark is an extraordinary book about the mafia and the book links some of the most famous names in history from World War II. Bugsy Siegal, Joe Bonnano, lucky Luciano just to name a few in this book as the list is endless as you read.

The story shifts from prewar Sicily to the U.S.A. and back and forth. The Mafia heats up as Allies arrive on the shores of Sicily and greed, crime, racketeering, black markets, and politics all play there part as Italian and Sicilian bandits, wise guys, and many more start to make big bucks from the war.

They are all under one roof in this book as the war intensifies and every crook have an interest during this time weather it is big money to be made or being intensely patriotic. The big issue in this book is did the Americans make a deal with the mafia to control the New York docks, and did the allies do a deal with the mafia to facilitate the invasion of Sicily. This book has everything from greed to horrific violence, even respect for some gangsters, and hate for others. You learn the difference between Italian and Sicilian gangsters, want Abee spooks as the British appear, noble lords and the British bobby and much more. A remarkably interesting read and a piece of history.

NetGalley, Kathleen RIGGS

Accomplished Account..
Accomplished, organised and detailed account of the history a powerful and intense organisation throughout wartime. The author covers, perhaps little known, major events which impacted throughout wartime including near destruction, extraordinary collaborations and the regaining of strength of the mafia whilst drawing on several personal eye witness accounts, quotations and documentation. Well researched and informative.

NetGalley, Ruth Giles

About Tim Newark

Tim Newark is the author of numerous critically acclaimed military history books, including The BarbariansWar in BritainWhere They FellTurning the Tide of War, and Camouflage. He was also the scriptwriter and historical consultant for a six-part TV documentary series on World War II for BBC Worldwide. He lives in Bath.

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When Great Britain took the moral high ground and banned its lucrative export of opium from Imperial India to China, it unleashed a century of criminality. Where America's misguided Prohibition of alcohol made illicit fortunes for the Mafia, across the pond the organised criminals within the British Empire grew rich on their trade in illegal narcotics in the 20th century. Empire of Crime is the first book to reveal the full extent and variety of organised crime within the British Empire in the 20th century. By delving into British colonial archives, Newark has discovered breath-taking truths about…

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