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From the Publisher"The Sicilian Mafia is the original and unsurpassed model of what politics and organized crime can do together, and Rebels and Mafiosi is. . . a lively primer in the historical origins of that dreadful marriage and its appalling children."—Peter Robb, New York Times Book Review, 1/7/01
"Fentress persuasively argues that without effective governance and improved economic conditions, the island is unlikely to rid itself of what he call the 'soldiers of the permanent revolution.'"—Publishers Weekly. March 27, 2000.
"Reconstructing its formative period, the author links the appearance of the 'dangerous' classes during the 19th century revolutions against Bourbon control to the evolution of mafia clientele covertly allied to policitically influential classes. . . Vividly written and insightful about Sicilian social and political history of the 19th century. Up-to-date bibliography and adequate illustrations. Recommended for university and public collections at all levels."—Choice, Vol. 38, No. 4, December 2000
"Fentress tells his story well, particularly in his vivid portraits of the Palermo revolutionaries, who raised the tricolor over and over again for decades. How these zealous men who fought for liberty ended up squabbling over turf and murdering their neighbors in family feuds is a sad yet interesting tale. Recommended."—Library Journal. March 1, 2000.
"Recently, professional historians. . . have undertaken scholarly investigations of the many and varied 'social' organizations around the world. Not surprisingly, the 'social' movement that seems to have provoked the most interest is the Sicilian mafia. . . Fentress has added to the growing number of works on the historical development of the mafia in Sicily. . . The book does provide an interesting look at the development of certain mafia organizations in nineteenth-century Sicily."—Charles L. Bertrand, Concordia University. American Historical Review, June 2001
"A chief value of Fentress's work is that it transforms into a variable what is often viewed as a constant: the emergence of mafia groups as illicit, criminal enterprises. . . Fentress makes us appreciate why many unions in the United States have been bastions of organized crime, and why some Sicilian antimafia groups after 1918 and 1945 had difficulties in not becoming mirror images of what they sought to destroy."—Filippo Sabetti, McGill University
"Rebels and Mafiosi is an important contribution to Sicilian history. James Fentress's narrative verve and meticulous analysis of individual episodes add greatly to our understanding of the mafia in the nineteenth century."—Christopher Duggan, University of Reading, author of A Concise History of Italy and Fascism and the Mafia
"James Fentress give a fascinating and important account of the origins of the Sicilian Mafia. He shows how the Mafia is not an ancient set of customs and traditions peculiar to the Sicilian way of life, but the product of nineteenth-century Sicily, a time of failed rebellions and failed reforms."—Alexander Stille, author of Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic