Showing posts from 2023

New book explores Mafia kinship ties

Friend and colleague Justin Cascio has penned a book-length discussion of transatlantic family connections of Corleone, Sicily, mafiosi. In Our Blood: The Mafia Families of Corleone , now available through Amazon in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions, is Cascio's first book. The Mafia criminal society is traditionally viewed as a hierarchical organization, but Cascio argues that Mafia networks are largely based on kinship ties.  He has poured years of his research into this project. The publisher of the Mafia Genealogy website and a frequent contributor to Informer journal, Cascio is highly regarded as an underworld historian and genealogist. He notes that pivotal figures in Mafia history, including present-day mafiosi, have direct ties to one another and to the earliest recorded gangs in Corleone, Sicily. In addition to bloodline and marriage connections, some mafiosi also linked through the significant religious/family role of godparent.  Cascio discusses dozens of gan

October 2023 issue of Informer

Informer's October 2023 issue, Gangsters of New York's Lower East Side , is now available in seven formats (print and electronic magazine, hardcover and paperback book, Kindle and EPUB ebook, and audiobook). Contributors to the issue include historians Justin Cascio, Patrick Downey, Michael O'Haire, Steve Turner, Matt Ghiglieri. Visit Informer's website for more information. A dozen articles focus on aspects of Lower East Side gangland history:  End of the Whyos gang. Historic Photo: Bandits' Roost. John H. McGurk and Bowery's "Suicide Hall." The death and life of hoodlum/hero Monk Eastman. NYC's first Mafia boss? Italian gang chief with an Irish name: Paul Kelly. Sai Wing Mock and the New York "Tong Wars." Frank Lanza's New York firms may have been Mafia fronts. In search of "Johnny Spanish." Racketeering future was molded in young Meyer Lansky's neighborhood. "Death Avenue": Second Avenue, 1910-1924. 1964 n

Happy Ass Day (to those who celebrate)

Be especially kind to your ass today. (Sebastian - one of our two donkeys)  Since the middle ages, this date - January 14 - has been the "Feast of the Ass" on Christian calendars.  Not kidding. See: "Feast of the Ass." Note that donkeys, long the target of human abuse and ridicule, played significant roles in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. (They are also nearly always present in the nativity scenes used in Christmas celebrations.) In Christian legend, the humble, thoughtful donkey not only carried Mary and newborn Jesus out of harm's way (the Flight into Egypt), it also carried adult Jesus into Jerusalem (the Palm Sunday tradition). Donkeys also were used extensively by Abraham and Moses. This was a deliberate choice, as there were horses, oxen and camels available. They were the ONLY form of animal exempted from sacrifice instructions in the Book of Exodus. The sacrifice of the first-born male domestic animal was mandated in Exodus, but it was sugges