The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World's Most Powerful Mafia Hardcover – 5 Jun 2018
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"[A] tense, thriller-like examination of the 'Ndrangheta's ruthless modus operandi and the barbaric enforcement of its code of silence... Good mothers, seriously gutsy women."--Sydney Morning Herald
"There has truly never been a better time to read about the brave women who brought down one of the most powerful organized crime outfits."--Bustle
"Alex Perry takes us in to the patriarchal, ultra-violent world of the 'Ndràngheta, Calabria's powerful, drug-dealing mafia, and the stories of the women who have defied its iron grip."--LitHub.com
"The Rift is an immensely readable, shocking and important book. An ambitious and controversial approach to answering some of the thorniest questions about Africa's contradictions and its epic quest for freedom."--Jeanette Zwart, Shelf Awareness
"Everything I think, said better than I think it."--Patrick Neate, author of Musungu Jim on The Rift
"A sharp-eyed look at contemporary Africa. Mr. Perry's ability to capture the complexities of stories in which there are no clear heroes nor outright villains echoes again and again. Written with a clear eye after criss-crossing the continent, he offers telling glimpses of an Africa that defies stereotyping."--The Economist on The Rift
"An epic, rich, endlessly surprising narrative of a fast-changing Africa by one of the few Western journalists to have spent enough time there to understand it. Calls to mind the best African writing of Ryszard Kapuscinski."--Douglas Rogers, author of The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe on The Rift
"[A] stunning book about the past, present, and future of Africa.... Candid, smart, and self-aware, this work is an impressive accomplishment that does more to give Western readers context for Africa's current condition than any book in recent memory."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Rift
"Exploring modern Africa in all of its complexities...Perry's arguments about the often deleterious effects of outsiders augment some of the scholarly literature by providing a human face to usually well-intentioned but misguided interlopers. A welcome addition to our understanding of Africa."--Kirkus Reviews on The Rift
"This little gem of a book ... has an important story to tell, and Perry tells it with precision and gusto. As dramatic as anything you will read in fiction."--The New York Times on The Rift
From the Back Cover
As seen in The New Yorker
The electrifying, untold story of the women born into the most deadly and obscenely wealthy of the Italian mafias--and how they risked everything to bring it down
The Calabrian mafia--known as the 'Ndrangheta--is no myth or movie but one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates ever to exist, with operations from America to Australia. With its control of seventy percent of the cocaine supply in Europe, billion-dollar extortion rackets, the embezzlement of billions more in Italian state and European Union funds, a global illegal arms business, and a money laundering empire that cleans money for organized crime the world over, it earns $50 to $100 billion a year, around 3.5 percent of Italy's annual economic output.
How did the 'Ndrangheta grow so big? Why has almost no one ever heard of it? One word: omertà, a claustrophobic secrecy enforced by excruciating violence. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother before you betray The Family. Accompanying this reverence for blood, kin, and tradition is a violent misogyny. Women are viewed as chattel, vassals of property and honor, to be beaten and married off--or worse--as the men decree.
When Lea Garofalo marries a man she thinks will save her from the mob only to discover he is an 'Ndrangheta cocaine smuggler, she helps send him to prison and goes into hiding with her young daughter. Thirteen years later, in 2009, Lea "disappears." For most Italians, Lea's fate is just another mafia tragedy. But prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considers a tantalizing possibility: that the 'Ndrangheta's murderous sexism might be its greatest flaw--and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra must persuade them to court death by testifying against their families in return for a new future for themselves and their children.A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle that pits a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against astonishingly powerful mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three mothers fighting for their lives. Not all will survive. See all Product description
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This gripping story focuses on the undoing of the Calabrian Mafia in the region where it all began, following the confessions of Mafia women, mothers, who break their fearsome code of silence - and risk terrible revenge. Be prepared for some stomach churning moments. But the book is more than that. It's about oppressed women, male hubris and power, perverted family values, insatiable greed and the normalisation of violence. But importantly, it's also about how a determined state, with the right resources, committed agents and fair bit of luck, can begin to dismantle a criminal empire.
The book is long and well referenced, and a page turner. It left me both depressed and heartened. Depressed that the Mafia ever evolves and adapts; heartened that some brave women in its midst choose to take a stand and, with good support, can really make a difference.