American Mafia History Website

The American Mafia history website logo Jump to Menu

Featured Website Article:

Masseria's 1913 burglary conviction

Giuseppe MasseriaWith this short article, we have provided source documents - prosecutor files and copyright-expired newspaper clippings - and some document transcriptions in order that readers may discover for themselves details of this early event in the underworld career of 'Joe the Boss' Masseria. "Sunday morning, April 13, 1913, police of New York's Twelfth Precinct were alerted to an attempted robbery at a Lower East Side pawnshop. Officers arriving at Simpson's Pawnshop, 164 Bowery near the intersection with Kenmare Street, found the front of the building securely locked..."

Special Section:

Rat Trap by Edmond Valin

Rat trap imageArticles investigating the identities of underworld informants. Most recent article:

In Pittston, informing runs in the family

"...In 1951, thirty-eight-year-old Joseph LaTorre began to share with the authorities confidential information about a criminal group called the "Organization." Joseph was the eldest son of former Pittston Crime Family boss Steven LaTorre....

Special Feature:

Valachi memoirs: 'The Real Thing: Second Government'

Joseph ValachiThe basis for The Valachi Papers book and movie, Joe Valachi's memoirs have extraordinary value for Mafia researchers. We are now bringing The Real Thing online for the first time.

Featured Website Article:

CIA joins with Mafia in plot to kill Castro

Castro targetedSome Kennedy assassination-related documents released through the National Archives last week (October 26, 2017) and earlier this year (July 24, 2017) discussed CIA cooperation with American organized criminals in an effort to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The documents revealed little about CIA-underworld interaction that was not already known to historians through other sources, but the release provides an occasion to reflect upon that interaction and its aftermath. ...

Featured Website Article:

1930 prizefight, press coverage links 'Lucky' and 'Joe the Boss'

Salvatore Lucania aka Charlie LucianoA widely publicized south Florida prizefight led to the names of Salvatore "Charlie Luciano" Lucania and Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria appearing together in print in early 1930. Early in the morning of Friday, February 28. Dade County Sheriff Manuel Philip Lehman received a tip that a number of out-of-town men were gambling in a top-floor suite of a Miami Beach hotel. Lehman and ten of his deputies raided the location...

Featured Website Article:

How organized was Calabrian crime?

Rocco RaccoThere are a number of unanswered questions related to the American Mafia's incorporation of Calabrian gangsters - those who trace their origins to the southernmost portion of the Italian mainland. We may ask: How did this combination occur? Precisely when did it occur? Was it the result of a decision of the American Mafia as a whole or did it result from decisions of individual crime families? Were Calabrian gangsters welcomed on an individual basis or was a Calabrian crime network consumed by the Mafia en masse? ...

Buffalo / Western NY:

DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime (in Two Volumes)

DiCarlo book Two-volume historical biography of Mafioso Joseph DiCarlo, once known as "the Al Capone of Buffalo" and as western New York's "Public Enemy No. 1." Son of the region's first known Sicilian underworld boss, DiCarlo was rejected as heir to his father's criminal empire. After spending troubled years as a vassal of the influential Stefano Magaddino, DiCarlo and his underlings wandered, seeking their fortunes in Youngstown, Ohio, and Miami Beach, Florida, before returning home to witness the disintegration of the western New York Mafia.

19th Century New Orleans:

Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia

Deep Water 2edConveys J.P. Macheca's epic life story, as it details the 1890 assassination of New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy and the 1891 Crescent City lynchings. A street warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine known as "The Ring," Macheca was the patron of the fledgling American Mafia in southern Louisiana. His underworld ties brought him into conflict with Hennessy, involved him in a Mafia civil war and ultimately cost him his life in the largest lynching in American history. Silver Medalist in 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Charles Sberna Case:

Wrongly Executed? Long-Forgotten Context of 1939 Electrocution

Wrongly Executed book Was a fair trial for Charles Sberna even possible? The son of an anarchist terrorist and son-in-law of a Mafia boss of bosses, Sberna was sentenced to die after being convicted of killing a New York City police officer. The story involves celebrity attorneys, underworld chieftains, violent political radicals, media giants and ruthless establishment figures, and it is set in a period in which Americans sought stability and order after years of political upheaval and Prohibition Era lawlessness