Book Review: A Complete History of the Mafia

A Complete History of the Mafia, Jo Durden Smith, 2003 – 2012 by Arcturus Publishing Limited.

When it comes to something is ubiquitous as the Mafia, anything that wraps up in less than 200 pages is quite audacious to be billed as a complete history. Nevertheless, Smith has done a quite admirable job of covering at least the Sicilian aspect, the Cosa Nostra. There are, of course, other things that we call the Mafia, such as the Russian Oligarchs, the Colombian drug lords, and the like, which are not covered in this book. However, in a very real sense, even these have some connection to the Sicilians, though the book touches on these links but lightly.

What we have here is a book that lays all the important groundwork as to origin, the history of it’s change from a local Sicilian protection racket to the multinational, multifaceted crime syndicate, and how it carries on today under a veneer of respectability.

It’s no secret that the biggest impetus to organized crime in America was Prohibition. In the same way, Prohibition forever changed the way in which we looked at crime and criminals. The general consensus that drinking was a right and that the government was restricting the freedoms of citizens meant that those who resisted and defied Prohibition gained a great deal of respect and admiration, even as the seamier side of the bootleg industry, murder and mayhem, were overlooked. The public outcry that should have run high against such men was suddenly lacking, because they gave to the people what they really wanted–booze. That they were busily corrupting government to do so and forever ending an orderly society were not taken into account. Now that organized crime is in every kind of government in some form, and we see our government collapsing, it is a little late to suddenly find ourselves morally outraged.

If we look closely at Italian politics, we see how the Mafia compromised everything from the First World War right down to the present. We see that they were staunch adversaries to Communism. But, while the West looked on and cheered, it really didn’t understand that their reason for fighting communism so fiercely was because it would have ended the capitalist system which they have already infiltrated and were using to their own ends.

To some degree, the book shows again how the American leadership has always been able to compromise its values in the name of expediency. It’s even obvious that American intelligence was complicit in Mafia activities even to the point of facilitating much of the trafficking of Asian heroin, over which the Mafia had control, through allied ports after WWII. France, of course was notoriously involved in this, as was dramatized in The French Connection. Also Mafioso in South America used their connections in American intelligence and elsewhere to move a mountain of elicit drugs in the US. Some of these arrangements even found Mafia higher ups consorting with US presidents and with those who made US presidents. That John F. Kennedy’s election was secured through the Mafia (see The Dark Side Of Camelot) and that their hand was in the elections of Harding and others in no longer in question. It is not a far reach to see their hand in the current presidency, if one were to connect the dots of Chicago politics.

Italy has done a lot begin to clean it’s politics of corruption by the Cosa Nostra. But it’s only a beginning, and the outcome is still quite unclear. Far more people will need to be willing to risk their lives to stand up to their power if there is going to be a real success. In America, meanwhile, the moral resolve to stop them probably ended with Prohibition. Now that everyone is more interested in a good time than in a clean government, America will probably degenerate into an oligarchy, much like Russia after the USSR.

Smith’s book names names. It names so many of them that one is hard-pressed to remember them all. But, in a very real sense, the names are not important. Organized crime is like a family, and most of the parts are interchangeable. One member dies, the next steps in to fill his place. It can be a life of riches and fame. But it is also a life waiting for the inevitable. Far more are the family members who will end up dead or incarcerated than will see a long and peaceful life. Many will be asked to take a fall for higher ups in the family. Many others will make some mistake that causes them to become a liability to the family that must be eliminated. Many more will cross some rival faction and become disposable. All of them will be asked to put the family over even God and country.

In this sense is the Mafia and all of its affiliations a destructive force in society. Now that they have gained a level of respectability, and because most Americans are so very bad at knowing or learning from history, the Mafioso are likely to continue to vie for control of the world for some time to come. While they have powerful adversaries in other New World Order power brokers such as the Masons and zionism/communism/socialism, they have even managed to forge political ties of expediency with these groups in their clime to power. Whether Gog or Magog eventually seizes the day, the average citizen is likely to go on living under the pall of such organizations for the foreseeable future.

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