The Mafia

A Guide to an American Subculture

by Nate Hendley


Whatever is illegal but in great demand, the Mafia provides.

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August 2013


Pages 201
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Law and Crime

Based on original sources and research, not legends and myth, this book presents a lively, in-depth analysis of how the American Mafia epitomizes organized crime.

Whether it's supplying illicit drugs, alcohol during Prohibition, gambling, prostitution, or even loans to those with bad credit, the Mafia has established itself as a part of the fabric of American society, politics, and economics for over a century. The Mafia continues to exist not only because of their immense power that allows their criminal organization to defy law enforcement, but because demand remains strong for what they offer. This book utilizes verifiable information about the Mafia based on newspaper and magazine accounts, police and FBI documents, court records, and the author's own original research to offer a deeper analysis of "the Mob" that provides historical, social, economic and cultural context. Fascinating biographical sketches that profile well-known Mafiosi such as Charles "Lucky" Luciano and John Gotti are also presented.


  • Includes historical, social, economic, and cultural context that further clarifies the significance of the Mafia's operations and makes for more engaging reading
  • Focuses on verifiable information about the Mafia while avoiding hearsay and speculation, such as the widely discussed theories regarding possible Mafia involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy
  • Provides a comprehensive bibliography of materials used for the book's research, including police reports, court documents, FBI files, television and radio broadcasts, and online information
Series Description

Guides to Subcultures and Countercultures

Beatniks and hippies. Radical feminists. The Ku Klux Klan. These and other groups may seem to be on society’s fringes, but they have a central role in the American story, leaving an indelible imprint on our music and art, pushing the nation toward social change, or, in the case of the Klan, leaving scars that are still slow to heal.

Each volume in this series offers students and general readers a concise and engaging examination of an American counterculture or subculture.

This series takes readers inside a number of subcultures and countercultures for an unforgettable look at the groups as a whole and the lives of the individuals who belonged to them.

Each volume explores a specific group's origins and historical context, the ideas and actions that set it apart from mainstream society, the language and lifestyles that brought unity to its members, and the unmistakable mark each made on the nation. It is an extraordinary opportunity for students and interested readers to consider divergent and sometimes repellent beliefs and lifestyles—from the terrifying Ku Klux Klan to the more peacefully rebellious hippies—and to encounter alternative accounts of some of the most intense and complex moments in American history.


  • Offers an engaging alternative to conventional works on American social history by examining subcultures and countercultures
  • Shows the lasting impact of groups that existed well outside the mainstream of American society
  • Draws on a wealth of contemporaneous primary sources as well as current interviews with central figures of each subculture or counterculture


  • Presents previously published or original interviews with people central to the counterculture, plus excerpts from newspaper articles, diaries, memoirs, speeches, court cases, legislation, and government documents
  • Offers a timeline of significant events related to the counterculture
  • Offers a bibliography of print and nonprint resources for student research
  • Includes glossaries, including slang for each group
  • Showcases sidebars of interesting facts and personalities
Author Info

Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and author who has written a series of books, primarily on crime-related topics. His published works include ABC-CLIO's American Gangsters Then and Now: An Encyclopedia; Greenwood's Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography; and Crystal Death: North America's Most Dangerous Drug. His website is



"This volume is well-researched and eminently readable."—Booklist

"Entertaining and informative."—ARBA

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