How ‘Mafia’ became ‘La Cosa Nostra’

The latest article by Edmond Valin examines the FBI's fairly abrupt adoption of the term "La Cosa Nostra" in the early 1960s to refer to traditional Sicilian-Italian organized crime. Valin digs through FBI records to turn up the earliest sources of the term and considers the reasons it may have been preferred by federal authorities … Continue reading How ‘Mafia’ became ‘La Cosa Nostra’

‘Onewal.com’ giving way to ‘Mafiahistory.us’

One of the results of a recent change in web hosting companies has been a fairly abrupt change in the use of the old onewal.com domain for this site. Some years ago, the site was given the domain, mafiahistory.us, but onewal.com was retained with full functionality for users who had grown accustomed to it. The … Continue reading ‘Onewal.com’ giving way to ‘Mafiahistory.us’

When ‘Lucky’ was locked up

Charlie Luciano

Salvatore Lucania, widely known as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, late in 1931 became the most powerful crime boss in the U.S. He personally commanded a sprawling New York-based Mafia organization, held one of seven seats on the Mafia's ruling Commission and maintained valuable alliances with non-Italian racketeering organizations across the country. Less than five years after … Continue reading When ‘Lucky’ was locked up

Historian reveals identities of Mafia informants

Rat Trap logo

The FBI makes every effort to hide the identities of its confidential underworld informants, even long after the informants have passed away. Unlike the famous Joe Valachi and other Bureau cooperating witnesses, who exchange public testimony for government protection, confidential informants continue in their dangerous underworld roles while secretly feeding information to investigators. In reports, … Continue reading Historian reveals identities of Mafia informants

Chance to win a copy of ‘Wrongly Executed?’

Three author-signed trade paperback copies of Wrongly Executed? The Long-Forgotten Context of Charles Sberna's 1939 Electrocution will be awarded through a promotional drawing on Goodreads.com. No purchase is necessary to enter. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 5, 2017, the anniversary of Charles Sberna's meeting with the Sing Sing Prison electric chair. Details are available … Continue reading Chance to win a copy of ‘Wrongly Executed?’

‘Wrongly Executed?’ book now available

Cover of Wrongly Executed

In his book on The Barrel Mystery, legendary crime-fighter William Flynn discussed what he viewed as the two great organized outlaw elements in American society: violent political radicals or "Reds" and a growing Sicilian underworld organization he knew as "The Black Hand." Flynn feared that the Red and the Black might someday combine to form … Continue reading ‘Wrongly Executed?’ book now available