The Mafia survived in the shadows while holding Sicily in an iron-clad fist for over a century. Its colonisation of Sicilian folklore, such as the legend of the Beati Paoli, and misappropriation of traditional Sicilian values, including the importance of honour and love for the family, made Cosa Nostra appear to be a timeless and inevitable reality of Sicilian life.
A very important part of this strategy was the takeover of Catholic symbols, rituals and performative events that are beloved by Sicilians, branding the Mafia and its members as honourable and devout, while in fact they were quite the opposite.
This book looks at how Cosa Nostra manipulated Sicilian society and the Catholic Church for decades, disappearing into the background while hiding in plain sight. The roots of the Mafia in the island’s religious superstition, bigotry and legends were so strong that it took over one hundred years and a massacre for the vows of secrecy to be broken, revealing the true face of the Sicilian Mafia.
Civil society, the Italian State, and the Catholic Church are now engaged in a relentless and ongoing battle with the Mafia for Sicily’s soul.
"A brave and very useful attempt to provide the general reader and scholars of the Mafia with a broad and synoptic treatment of the Mafia's evolution in Sicily. Highly recommended." Professor Paul Sant Cassia
"The book traces the complex relationship between Cosa Nostra and the people of Sicily, mapping a complex dynamic that brings to the fore the corrupt and the vulnerable, the politician and the peasant, and through these contrasts sheds light on the reality as experienced by Sicilians, who over the centuries endured much hardship and injustice. This is a book that reminds us of how terrible humanity becomes when it turns on itself and when greed and an economy of individuality take over ethics and morality. A tale of endless pain. A must read." Professor Andrew Azzopardi
"A book that not only delves into the socio-religious-historical events which shaped life in Sicily but also goes on to elaborate on how the Catholic rituals, symbols and linguistic register played an important part in the legitimisation of the Cosa Nostra organization in the eyes of the local population." Professor Arnold Cassola
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About the Author
Claudine Cassar founded her first company, a web development agency, when she was just 23 years old. While growing the business, she also wrote a weekly column in a national newspaper, writing about current affairs and politics. In 2016 she sold her company to a Big Four firm and embarked on a new chapter of her life.
Claudine is now a freelance writer, business consultant and start-up mentor, while also pursuing her dream of becoming an anthropologist. Her first book, "The Battle for Sicily's Soul" is a gripping account of one of the most violent and powerful criminal organizations in the world, and of the brave men and women who dared to oppose it.
In addition to writing books, Claudine also blogs about anthropology and global organised crime.