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Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, 'ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present [Hardcover]

John Dickie
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

9 May 2013

In MAFIA REPUBLIC, John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College, London and author of the international bestsellers COSA NOSTRA and MAFIA BROTHERHOODS, shows how the Italian mafias have grown in power and become more and more interconnected, with terrifying consequences.

The Financial Times described John Dickie's MAFIA BROTHERHOODS as 'Powered by the sort of muscular prose that one associates with great detective fiction' and in MAFIA REPUBLIC John Dickie again marries outstanding scholarship with compelling storytelling.

In 1946, Italy became a democratic Republic, thereby entering the family of modern western nations. But deep within Italy there lurked a forgotten curse: three major criminal brotherhoods, whose methods had been honed over a century of experience. As Italy grew, so did the mafias. Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the camorra from Naples, and the mysterious 'ndrangheta from Calabria stood ready to enter the wealthiest and bloodiest period of their long history.

Italy made itself rich by making scooters, cars and handbags. The mafias carved out their own route to wealth through tobacco smuggling, construction, kidnapping and narcotics. And as criminal business grew exponentially, the mafias grew not just more powerful, but became more interconnected.

By the 1980s, Southern Italy was on the edge of becoming a narco-state. The scene was set for a titanic confrontation between heroic representatives of the law, and mafiosi who could no longer tolerate any obstacle to their ambitions. This was a war for Italy's future as a civilized country. At its peak in 1992-93, the 'ndrangheta was beheading people in the street, and the Sicilian mafia murdered its greatest enemies, investigating magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, before embarking on a major terrorist bombing campaign on the Italian mainland.

Today, the long shadow of mafia history still hangs over a nation wracked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. While police put their lives on the line every day, one of Silvio Berlusconi's ministers said that Italy had to 'learn to live with the mafia'; suspicions of mafia involvement still surround some of the country's most powerful media moguls and politicians.

The latest investigations show that its reach is astonishing: it controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade, and representatives from as far away as Germany, Canada and Australia come to Calabria to seek authorisation for their affairs.

Just when it thought it had finally contained the mafia threat, Italy is now discovering that it harbours the most global criminal network of them all.

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Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, 'ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present + Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (9 May 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1444726404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444726404
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. He is an internationally recognised specialist on many aspects of Italian history.

His works include Cosa Nostra. A History of the Sicilian Mafia, which has sold over 750,000 copies since it was first published in 2004, and Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food (2007), which has also been translated into many languages.

His latest book is Blood Brotherhoods: the Rise of the Italian Mafias, scheduled for publication in June 2011.

For more on John Dickie visit:

Product Description


Chilling and eye-opening. (Bill Emmott The Times)

'I've been so unsettled by John Dickie's Mafia Republic - his angry and moving new history of the power of the Italian criminal fraternities since the Second World War.' (Samira Ahmed Big Issue)


His narrative bowls along, powered by the sort of muscular prose one associates with great detective fiction. An exhilarating history. (Financial Times)

'Exciting and well-written... like a 19th-century Sopranos'. (Shortlist)

'Fine social history and hair-raising true crime'. (Independent)

By shining a light so powerfully into the darkest recesses of mafia mythology and history, Dickie's new book will certainly provide a concrete tool in the anti-mafia struggle to which many Italians and Calabrians in Australia and Italy are passionately committed. (Australian Literary Review)

Magisterial ... absorbing. (Scotsman)

BLOOD BROTHERHOODS is almost certainly the most ambitious true-crime assignment ever. The result is a stunning success: a sprawling, powerful historical narrative that is the definitive story of Sicily's Mafia, the Camorra of Naples, and Calabria's 'Ndrangheta. (The Adelaide Advertiser)

Yet Dickie thinks there are "more reasons for optimism today than at any point in the past"... it's a point well made. (Financial Times)

Book Description

The author of the bestselling COSA NOSTRA and MAFIA BROTHERHOODS explores the terrifying consequences of the rise of the Italian mafias. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight 8 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very pleased with the book and have now a much better insight of how the mafia have infiltrated the governments and businesses around the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Role of organised crime in Italy unmasked 22 May 2013
This is an important book which sheds light upon the shadowy world of organised crime in Italy, the profits of which are estimated at 7% of the country's GDP. It describes the background and development since 1946 of the three main mafias (Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the Camorra in Campania and the 'ndrangheta in Calabria) and how they went on to affect the rest of Italy. It is a tortuous and complex subject which is presented outstandingly well, in clear, concise terms. Much of it reads like a thriller, as the stories unfold of a whole range of villainous characters and their heroic opponents, the antimafia judges and policemen. But it is only too real.

The book goes beyond being a history of crime when it analyses the "grey zone" between the mafia and legitimate society. This is the crux of the mafia problem; the inter-weaving of criminal, political and business interests.
The problem is not only the military wing of the mafia but the much larger white collar element. By penetrating the country's institutions the mafia influences much of public life to the detriment of the economy and democracy. It is a cancer that needs fighting with determination and consistency. Fortunately, the good news is that a small number of dedicated magistrates, policemen and politicians are making considerable progress. But to much of Italy, including in Rome, the concept of fighting the "grey zone" remains unpopular.

Professor Dickie has done a great job in putting all this together. The result is required reading on modern Italy: highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough piece of research. 2 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An entertaining, interesting, historical read which paints a picture of real people in your mind. It reads seamlessly as if you were there. John Dickie has done exceptional research to bring this dark history of Italy to life. Hard to put down. Worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent- Professor John Dickie at his best 1 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An outstanding book. John Dickie's research of a difficult subject is second to none. It is written in an interesting, entertaining style. The absolute delight is that one does not have to be an academic to follow and appreciate the text. Every bit as good as his earlier book 'Cosa Nostra'
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea 30 Mar 2014
I bought this for a my brother in law as a Christmas present. They're a bit of a nut about all things crime/ serial killers/ and also play golf: this suited them down. But it isn't for anyone who likes history told with wit - a charmless read.
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