Into the Heart of the Mafia: A Journey Through the Italian South by David Lane
|Into the Heart of the Mafia: A Journey Through the Italian South by David Lane|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A mixture of travel writing and reportage establishes to strangle-hold which the Mafia has on southern Italy. The wring is dry and unsensational but completely compelling.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: April 2010|
|Publisher: Profile Books Ltd|
Over the years we’ve become accustomed to reading books, seeing films which portray the Mafia as charming family men, almost Robin Hood characters. You don’t go ‘’quite’’ as far as to admire them, but you wouldn’t see them as a problem, either. Read this book and you’ll have a very different opinion. In his journey through the south of Italy journalist David Lane shows them to be cold-blooded murderers who’ve induced a climate of fear in much of the country. Don’t feel secure because you live elsewhere – their influence is spreading.
David Lane has lived and worked in Italy for decades and he’s uniquely placed to take this journey through the south. He has a huge network of contacts from all walks of life and uses these to demonstrate just how insidious the influence of the Mafia has become. The casual visitor might well fail to notice what is happening, but the majority of southern Italians are familiar with and frightened of the Mafia. Few will talk openly about the effect they have had on the country. Reprisals are likely if people do talk and magistrates who have stood up to the Mafia have frequently been murdered.
Lane begins his tour in Sicily where the Cosa Nostra holds sway and works his way northwards showing us which branch of the Mafia runs each area and how they make their money. In the Naples area it’s the disposal of toxic waste – much of which will end up being buried in some unsuspecting farmer’s field. Mafia money is always going to be extracted from any public project – and considering how the EU has funded many of them most Europeans will have made a contribution to the wealth of the families.
The influence which the Mafia has over many politicians – at a local and a national level – is examined. The telling of the story is not at all sensationalist. I found it quite strange to read the books much as I would any other travel writing, periodically referring to the handy map to see where we were placed and to realise that we were looking at criminal activity rather than culture, heritage and good restaurants. It’s a chilling story, but one which need to be told if those individuals who are prepared to fight against a hundred and fifty years of criminality are to be successful.
I’d like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more on the fight against the Mafia we can recommend Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family by Joaquin 'Jack' Garcia
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