Customer Reviews for

Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Very thorough!

I found the book to be very entertaining and informative. It links together events that I remember but hadn't paid much attention to over the years. There are a fair amount of typos in the book, which is frustrating, but overall doesn't impact readability.

posted by 1594143 on June 12, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Sorry to disagree.....

It's pretty good, but the meat of the book could have taken up half the space. I get that Raab is enthused to write on such a perennially hot topic as the New York mob, BUT as a journalist he conjectures A LOT and his writing is pretty dry. Constantly estimating and t...
It's pretty good, but the meat of the book could have taken up half the space. I get that Raab is enthused to write on such a perennially hot topic as the New York mob, BUT as a journalist he conjectures A LOT and his writing is pretty dry. Constantly estimating and tossing in stories (like the Kennedy assassination) that are dubious at best (seriously Ragano/Trafficante as a source?). And the verifiable stuff that most sources agree on suffers from his leaving things out that don't support his theses of New York's supremacy (he'll talk of Marcello and Traficante, who interacted with NYC mobsters, but Chicago has no importance past Capone, maybe it's because Chicago never answered to or felt compelled to ask New York's input). Seriously, Pistone, Capeci, Raab and others all write the same stuff. Gus Russo is guilty of being a little too friendly to his topic but at least its something new and presented a little differently. And even someone like Roemer who covered the Outfit and Bonanno knew on whom to lay his bets when push came to shove. New York could without a doubt support five families, but by no means did they run the country, nor were they the strongest. They may have disliked Capone, but later they emulated him (Bonanno, Gambino, Gotti) became too flashy and lookit them now. Colombo's all but gone, Luchese ain't too far behind, Bonanno is on its way out, Gambino got nailed again in 2005, and Genovese is the only fam chugging along. Resurgence should be dropped from the title. Likewise the fbi dropped Gambino and the Outfit from their website, only Genovese remains. Take it for what its worth, Raab is the only one who wrote a basic history of the five families to now in the same volume, for that he's commendable, but the same info can be got from rick porrello's mafia webpage. Save your money. Better yet read Russo's book on the Outfit or his coming book on Sidney Korshak, or his book on the Kennedy's, it's stuff that was new to me and I like the new light it showed on a lot of the same old stories. Who knows, give it a try.... Pileggi and Bill Roemer would probably agree.

posted by Anonymous on August 13, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    Sorry to disagree.....

    It's pretty good, but the meat of the book could have taken up half the space. I get that Raab is enthused to write on such a perennially hot topic as the New York mob, BUT as a journalist he conjectures A LOT and his writing is pretty dry. Constantly estimating and tossing in stories (like the Kennedy assassination) that are dubious at best (seriously Ragano/Trafficante as a source?). And the verifiable stuff that most sources agree on suffers from his leaving things out that don't support his theses of New York's supremacy (he'll talk of Marcello and Traficante, who interacted with NYC mobsters, but Chicago has no importance past Capone, maybe it's because Chicago never answered to or felt compelled to ask New York's input). Seriously, Pistone, Capeci, Raab and others all write the same stuff. Gus Russo is guilty of being a little too friendly to his topic but at least its something new and presented a little differently. And even someone like Roemer who covered the Outfit and Bonanno knew on whom to lay his bets when push came to shove. New York could without a doubt support five families, but by no means did they run the country, nor were they the strongest. They may have disliked Capone, but later they emulated him (Bonanno, Gambino, Gotti) became too flashy and lookit them now. Colombo's all but gone, Luchese ain't too far behind, Bonanno is on its way out, Gambino got nailed again in 2005, and Genovese is the only fam chugging along. Resurgence should be dropped from the title. Likewise the fbi dropped Gambino and the Outfit from their website, only Genovese remains. Take it for what its worth, Raab is the only one who wrote a basic history of the five families to now in the same volume, for that he's commendable, but the same info can be got from rick porrello's mafia webpage. Save your money. Better yet read Russo's book on the Outfit or his coming book on Sidney Korshak, or his book on the Kennedy's, it's stuff that was new to me and I like the new light it showed on a lot of the same old stories. Who knows, give it a try.... Pileggi and Bill Roemer would probably agree.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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