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Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic Paperback – 6 Jun 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099594919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099594918
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A fascinating and horrifying book" (Denis Mack Smith New York Times)

"As good as non-fiction books get: it is crammed with detail and analysis, but reads like a novel" (Marc Babej Guardian)

"The very best on the modern mafia - brilliantly and thoughtfully telling a complex and messy tale... The characterisation and the twists of the plot have the deft touch of a novelist" (Robert Fox Sunday Telegraph)

"Totally absorbing and distinctly chilling" (Barry Unsworth Evening Standard, Books of the Year)

"Diligently researched and fluently written" (Diego Gambetta Independent)

Book Description

A true crime classic: the brutal account of the battle to destroy the modern-day mafia

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. A. Matters on 11 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Stille's book provides a wonderfully readable introduction into the Italian, and more specifically the Sicilian, mafia's control over Italian society and government. It is particularly interesting in providing links between mafiosi and government officials and politicians, and the ensuing Mani Pulite scandal. This book definitely wins on readability and for all those starting to study the Cosa Nostra this is a fantastic first book to start with.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Franz Bieberkopf on 27 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stille's book shows a side of Sicily and Italy that most of us are vaguely aware of,but submerge in "Godfather"-style cliches.
The Sicilian mafia are far more horrific than the Hollywood rendition,living off the misery of terrified Sicilians.Stille points out Mafia control of heroin traffiking(leading to the zombie-like world of junkiedom for many young Sicilians),protection rackets,tax fraud and their links with corrupt politicians are a cancer inside Sicilian and Italian society.Note well that the first victims of the Mafia,either in Italy or in the Italian diaspora worldwide,are other Italians-so much for the Mafia as being somehow protecting Italians.
The other side of Stille's story is the suicidal bravery of a small number of Siclilian prosecutors,policemen and politicians,led by Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino,and their efforts to fight back against the Mafia.The excellent cadavers of the tiltle are of those Italians who got in the way of the Mafia,and they are a long list of politicians,policemen,lawyers,journalists,even people who worked in drug rehabilitaion clinics who denounced drug dealing.
The climax of the book is the summer of 1992,when Falcone and Borsellino,after some epochal cases left many mafioso facing non-appealable life sentances,became the latest of the excellent cadavers.The simultaneous popular backlash against the mafia in Sicily,and the death throes of the first Italian republic(drowning in corruption partially fuelled by the mafia)is brilliantly portrayed.
Stille's final message is that the mafia isn't dead,just sleeping.Even after the birth of the second republic,given the right political environment(such as Silvio Berlusconi becoming prime minister in Rome),they could return even more powerful than before.
Stille clearly loves Italy,and that gives the book an added poignancy.Must read for crime buffs,students of Italian history or politics,or anyone visiting Sicily.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 April 2004
Format: Paperback
I can add little to all the other reviewers great praise for a book thatcompeletely destroys the Godfather/Sopranos image that seems to grip themedia whenever the Mafia/Cosa Nostra is covered. Highly recommended!
As this book shows in painstaking detail, the continual dangerousinterplay between endemic corruption and the related violence it producedin Sicily alongside the Italian political model in Sicily and Rome of thepost war years created a culture that was ultimately to cost Italy interms of economic development and lead in part to the country's majorbudget deficits of recent years.
It took the courage of the two heroes of this story plus many others namedin the book, most of whom were sadly killed before the final fruits oftheir efforts were seen, to make a difference and get prosections thathurt the criminal gangs operating in Italy and other Southern Italyregions. That this was against endless obstacles and bureaucracy oftenpolitically motivated shows what real heroes these men were. Stille'shandling of all the characters and the many different political andcriminal elements and events is what makes the book such a memorableread.
My reason for using the description "numbing" is that sadly over its 400odd pages, just the sheer volume of murders that occurred leaves onenumbed, especially at the stories of the Corleonese gang's war of outrightextermination of any rivals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent Cadavers is one of the most gripping books I have ever read. It charts the rise and fall of Mafia families based in Sicily mainly between 1960 to the present day. It tells the story of two prosecutors, Borsellino and Falcone who, between them, managed to bring the Sicilian Mafia to its knees. This books is astonishing because it gives in insight into just how frightening it must have been for law people in Sicily at that time to be trying to get Mafia members behind bars. A gripping, bloody, edge-of-the-seat, amazing book that if you want to see into the minds of the Mafia...you simply MUST buy.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
The book explains the real build up of power of la cosa nostra since the 2nd World War, detailing the "mafia wars" that took place to gain supreme control of not only Sicily but America and many other countries involved in illegal activities. Crucially the book details the lifelong friendship of Borsellino and Falcone and their struggle to get the correct level of support from the Rome Parliament to combat the mafia. Always captavating this book goes straight to the heart of the mafia and shows it's strength and weaknesses.A brilliant book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. P. Kernaghan on 7 July 2009
Format: Paperback
If you have an interest in Italy and its culuture and politics or the Mafia this book is a must read. Amazing that in a European democracry that a team of dedicated and professional judges who deciate their lives to ridding Sicily of the Mafia should have so many obstacles thrown in their way by the very Italian state they were working for! Falcone was known as the Walking Corpse which is sad that such a great upholder of justice knew that his days were numbered and that the Mafia would get him in the end due to the lack of protection the Mafia corrupted policitcians in Palermo and Rome gave him - or took away from his entourage as the case may be.

The book is enthralling and reads like a thriller and is a damning indictment of Italian politics and soceity in general.

If Italians are so gullible to have continously voted in the Cristian Democrats over the post-war years then see they haven't learned their lesson in voting in their droves for that dimmwit Berlesconi!

Highly recommended.

Mark K, Belfast
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