Knowing the Mob
In the few spare moments I am not thinking about food, I might be found thinking about the Mob. My graduate thesis was titled, Organized and Organizing Crime, Making Money the Easy Way. Besides professionally, working with businesses to diminish the impact and risk of organized crime, I have an ever growing collection of books and other knick-knacks related to the Mafia and related.
I enjoy reading most of the books, but I very much ascribe to the notions put into print by Robert Lacey in his superior biography of Meyer Lanksy, "the vast corpus of secondary literature on organized crime is shot through with inaccuracy and exaggeration. The challenge is to separate the truth from the tissue of hearsay and folklore woven around it, and often this is quite impossible." Thus, it is rare to find a rather comprehensive OC book that is not shot through with myth and glory.
American Mafia: A History of its Rise to Power by Thomas Reppetto offers one of the Mob books out there. Reppetto has personal knowledge of situations in Chicago and New York, but does not fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement. He is looking at the Mob. You are not looking at him looking at the Mob. Give it a peek.