the best book on the Mafia in Sicily - its origins, its code of honour, its secrecy and its brutality. A chilling insight. - reveals how Mafia violence and corruption crept even into every aspect of Sicilian society, including the police and the church - and how this was only possible with the help of the American army, who gave the Mafia, by then all but destroyed by the Fascist government, the kiss of life when they occupied the island in 1943 - the perfect companion for any traveller to Sicily, and a gripping armchair read
Describes how the US army returned the Mafia to power in 1944, after Mussolini came close to destroying them. It looks at the Mafia in their homeland - how in attempting to preserve Sicily for the Sicilians in the face of countless invasions it infiltrated every aspect of the island's life, corrupting landowners, the police, the judiciary and even the church. In one chilling chapter Norman Lewis details the escapades of eighty-year-old Padre Camelo, who led his monks on sprees of murder and extortion, frequently using the confessional box for transmitting threats.
Norman Lewis is England's finest, living travel writer. He has written a dozen travel books, including such masterpieces as Naples'44, Golden Earth and A Dragon Apparent. He has also written thirteen novels. Lewis regards his life's major achievement to be the reaction to an article written by him entitled Genocide in Brazil, published in 1968. This led to a change in Brazilian law relating to the treatment of Indians, and to the formation of Survival International, which campaigns for the rights of indigenous peoples.
"Deft, witty and totally compelling" Time Out
It is hard to believe that the American Allies during World War II returned the Mafia to power after Mussolini came close to destroying it. This event and other tales of corruption and murder in Sicily are expertly recorded by travel writer Lewis in this eye-opening look at the world's most famous criminal organization - the 'honoured society', as they called themselves, which demands blind obedience but will defend their members through thick and thin. Most interesting is the illumination of the Mafia mentality and its complete separation from the outlook of the ordinary criminal. Includes thought-provoking black and white photographs. (Kirkus UK)
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