Customer Reviews for

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

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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 June 12, 2011

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2013

    HistoryBuff

    I Highly Recommend this book for those who have interest in the Mafia. The book explains the origins and how the Mafia came to America. Five families also touches on the JFK assassination. In reading Five Families you can read real life events that seam familiar in Mario Puzo's The God Father. Five Families may be the definitive book on the Mafia's history to this date.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    very interesting and well researched.

    This tells you the real deal about the Mafia,how it evolved and how law enforcement reduced it to a shadow of what it once was.Very complete history with all the five families and how they were related to one another.It is a long book but there is no filler material,the books length is necessary because of the depth and detail of the subject.One of the best true crime books I have read and I read alot of true crime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Good basis

    This book is a great start for anyone wanting to read about organized crime in New York. It does not do enough justice to Accardo's Outift but will suffice if you dont care about the entire Mafia heirarchy.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Five Families

    It is amazing what these people were able to get way with under the nose of the police and the government. I was absolutely appalled and disgusted with the plundering that these families engaged in year after year, all at the expense of the country, and with no consciousness of guilt or remorse. These people should have been put under the jail for the despicable acts they seemed to have been permitted to engage in with no accountability or fear of incarceration. That being said, it was very interesting to get a more realistic view of what the mob was really like and how it affected this country's economy - then and now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2006

    Very realistic

    Great book! Very realistic and easy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2005

    BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ ABOUT THE MOB!!!

    I'm a huge mafia history buff, so imagine my excitement when I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of 'Five Families.' All I can say is BUY THIS BOOK! It's absolutely the most comprehensive and most gripping account of the American mafia ever written. Selwyn Raab is a brilliant journalist and without a doubt, one of the foremost experts on this topic. This book will clearly go down in history as the definitive history of the Cosa Nostra.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2005

    the best mob book ever

    if your going to read a book on the history of the mafia this book is the one to read from very first page to the last its impossible to put down .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2005

    The Godfather Comes to Life

    Really, really enjoyed Five Families! Selwyn Raab knows his stuff and knows the Mob. I honestly couldn't put this book down.

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