Men of Dishonor: Inside the Sicilian Mafia

Men of Dishonor: Inside the Sicilian Mafia

by Pino Arlacchi
     
 

The publication in English of Men of Dishonor comes at the exact moment when Italy is questioning its institutions and leadership, and the role that the mafia has played within them. The confession of Antonino Calderone was one of the catalysts that brought about the recent changes. When this book was written over a year ago, one could not have guessed that half of…  See more details below

Overview

The publication in English of Men of Dishonor comes at the exact moment when Italy is questioning its institutions and leadership, and the role that the mafia has played within them. The confession of Antonino Calderone was one of the catalysts that brought about the recent changes. When this book was written over a year ago, one could not have guessed that half of the members of the Cosa Nostra mentioned would be behind bars: Toto Riina, il capo del capi, Nitto Santapaola, Bernardo Provenzano, and Angelo Pulvirenti, among others. This volume has its origins in an encounter between two men separated by nearly everything: class, education, and values. On one side is Pino Arlacchi, one of the most distinguished international experts on the mafia, and on the other Antonino Calderone, "boss" of the Catania "family." In a hideaway provided by the Italian police, Calderone agreed to reveal his, and the Cosa Nostra's, story to Arlacchi during a series of meetings. The result of these sessions (and of hundreds of pages of testimony given to Judge Falcone) is a unique portrayal of the Sicilian mafia told by a man who was for decades close to the top of the organization. For the first time, we learn not only the history and the structure of the Cosa Nostra, but also Calderone's own story, as well as the daily life of the men of honor: the friendships and the hatred, the bonds and the betrayals. These are men dominated by the business of death - by the necessity to kill in their drive for power, and for sheer survival. There have been many mafia confessions, but no one before Calderone has been a repentant, a man who truly understands the deep immorality of his life and of the organization within which he operated. For this reason it was only with someone like Arlacchi, who is deeply interested not only in the judicial aspects of the story but especially in the personal, human elements, that Calderone could undertake this journey into the hell of his past. Men of Dishonor

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arlacchi ( Mafia Business ), a professor of sociology at the University of Florence, is considered to be among Italy's top experts on organized crime. He depicts the internal workings of the mafia in the words of Antonino Calderone, once a boss in the Sicilian port of Catania. Now one of the pentiti , or penitents, in Italy's witness protection program, Calderone met at length with Arlacchi, who recorded their discussions. Born in 1935, Calderone joined the Mafia in 1962 and remained in it until his arrest in 1985. During that time, we're told, three levels of mobsters existed in Sicily: bands of ``common criminals,'' mafiosi, and members of the Cosa Nostra, the creme de la crime whose power reached even into the national parliament. Mafia members prided themselves on being men of honor, but Calderone believes that this concept was undermined when drugs joined the gang's stocks in trade of robbery, graft, extortion, kidnapping and murder. This revealing and superbly translated book has one serious impediment: the number of names mentioned counts into the hundreds and it is virtually impossible to keep more than just a few sorted out. Photos not seen by PW . (Oct.)
Martha Schoolman
This work by the renowned organized crime expert and author of "Mafia Business: The Mafia Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" is a fascinating mixture of genres. In one respect, it is pure "scoop": the first inside account of the Sicilian Mafia. That is to say, Antonino Calderone, the subject of the work, is the first of the "pentiti" (mafia repentants) to give an outsider a complete look at the extremely secretive institution (and at great personal risk, it seems, to both Calderone and the author). In another respect, it is a work of "true crime": calling up the same mixture of fascination and chills as that genre. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book, however, is its structure. Rather than being a piece of journalism as commonly understood, it is entirely first-person narration assembled from Arlacchi's interviews with Calderone. The result provides a flavor of Calderone's personality and the way mafiosi understand themselves, visibly organized by a sociologist's hand. This work should make absorbing reading for armchair mafiologists and anyone else who likes a good story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688045746
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/1993
Pages:
285

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