Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia

Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia
This week’s article is a review on a book I thoroughly enjoy and is about a culture, good or bad, that was very much a part of the fabric of the history of America. It still is, it’s just not as prominent as it was before. I am talking about the Mafia. The book is called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia, Second Edition. The book is authored by a man named Jerry Capeci, who is also one of the foremost Mafia historians in this country. Jerry Capeci was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.

Jerry Capeci wrote a weekly column for the New York Daily News for fifteen years. The column was titled, Gang Land. Capeci has more than thirty years of writing about organized crime as an author, reporter, and columnist. At the time of the printing of the book, Capeci was writing his Gang Land column for the New York Sun. He has also co-authored books such as Mob Star and Gotti: Rise and Fall. He has also written for newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia goes into detail about the true history of the organized crime empire. It is informative, funny, and eye-opening. It details everything you ever wanted to know about the American Mafia. The beginning of every chapter has highlights of what it is about and at the end of each chapter, Capeci lists the The Least You Need to Know about what you just read. These are bullet points for each chapter. For instance Chapter 9 is titled Gambling Makes Mobsters Smile. In The Least You Need to Know section it says:

*Illegal gambling is a La Costra Nostra moneymaker
*There are many forms of illegal gambling
*Police and political corruption are important to protect illegal gambling
*Mob loan sharks charge exorbitant interest rates.

In the beginning of the tome, Jerry Capeci tells us that throughout the book, he will refer to the Mafia as La Costra Nostra and how that name came about. Throughout each chapter are little boxes of information called sidebars. One sidebar is called Mafia Speak. This tidbit of information gives explanations of Mafia practices often through direct quotes of the mobsters themselves. Another sidebar is called Big Shot. This sidebar talks about the mob killings. A third sidebar is called Slammer Time. These tidbits of information, as you can probably guess, is about the mobsters who spent time in jail and the fourth and final sidebar is called Fuhgeddaboudit and shows us different aspects of Mafia life. The book has six parts and totals thirty-three chapters plus has a table of contents and an index.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia separates the facts from the myths about life in the Mafia and also tells you which mobster movies are more factual than others. This book is a must have for anyone who has an interest in the American Mafia and wants to learn more. I bought this book several years ago and have read it numerous times. I have read many books about the Mafia myself and this one by far is the best and most informative one I have ever opened.

You can also read Jerry Capeci’s articles at his website,

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