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If you liked the TV show The Untouchables then you may enjoy...

Reppetto draws on a lifetime of field experience to tell the stories of the Mafia's twentieth-century leadership, showing how men such as Sam Giancana and John Gotti became household names. Crusaders like Robert Kennedy led concerted--if sometimes sporadic--attacks against organized crime. As the battles between the feds and the Mafia moved from the streets to the courtrooms, Reppetto describes how it came to resemble a conflict between sovereign powers. - amazon.com
 
In the 1980s, the broad legal mandate of the RICO act succeeded in crushing much of the traditional American Mafia. In the Sicilian homeland of La Cosa Nostra, however, the Mafia was anything but finished. Possessed of a power thought to rival that of the Italian state itself, the Sicilian Mafia has waged a war on law and order that has not only left thousands dead, but has created a ripple effect of crime and violence that can be felt in America's cities today. Journalist Longrigg tells the story of Bernardo Provenzano, who rose from humble origins to become the head of the Sicilian Mafia, overseeing a deadly empire of corruption so large in scope, the full sweep of its dark reach has yet to be fully accounted. On the run for over 43 years before his arrest, Provenzano's life typifies the code of the ultimate gangster.--From publisher description.
The world of the Mafia and organized crime continues to intrigue many of us much as poisonous snakes do. For those so inclined, this anthology, a kind of Goodfellas sampler, is essential reading...Libary Journal
Even in Chicago, a city steeped in mob history and legend, the Family Secrets case was a true spectacle when it made it to court in 2007. A top mob boss, a reputed consigliere, and other high-profile members of the Chicago Outfit were accused in a total of eighteen gangland killings, revealing organized crime’s ruthless grip on the city throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.       Re-creating events from court transcripts, police records, interviews, and notes taken day after day as the story unfolded in court, Coen provides a riveting wide-angle view and one of the best accounts on record of the inner workings of the Chicago syndicate and its control over the city’s streets. - amazon.com
 
In this dark, jagged true crime thriller, wily mob head Gregory Scarpa Sr. (alias the "Grim Reaper") secretly steals and kills under FBI protection for decades. When faced with arrest for his own crimes, he betrays his adoring son, Gregory Jr., whom he'd groomed to take his place. Taking the fall for his father out of familial respect and love, the young Scarpa endures decades of maximum security imprisonment by furnishing the feds with detailed intelligence regarding the September 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombings.
NBA referee Delaney's fascinating account of his prior life as a New Jersey state trooper who infiltrated organized crime will be a must-read for those drawn to Joe Pistone's similar account in Donnie Brasco (or the movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp). In 1975, Delaney was a relative novice in law enforcement when he was tapped by a superior to help build cases against major Mafia families by creating and running a fake business, Alamo Trucking. With the aid of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times sportswriter Scheiber, Delaney captures perfectly the daily routine and perils of undercover work, and describes the psychological challenges he faced during the three years of Project Alpha: The granite foundation of my self-image... had given way to shifting sands of doubt and worry. While less heralded than Pistone's work, Delaney's achievements—which yielded multiple convictions of members of the Bruno and Genovese families—were significant precursors to the Feds' massive 1980s assault on La Cosa Nostra. Becoming a basketball referee after these proceedings was a return to an early passion of the high school all-state forward and captain of his college team—but the fear, he says, still comes back sometimes. - Publisher's Weekly
To underworld kingpins Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Cuba was the greatest hope for the future of American organized crime in the post-Prohibition years. In the 1950s, the Mob—with the corrupt, repressive government of brutal Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in its pocket—owned Havana's biggest luxury hotels and casinos, launching an unprecedented tourism boom complete with the most lavish entertainment, top-drawer celebrities, gorgeous women, and gambling galore. But Mob dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others who would lead an uprising of the country's disenfranchised against Batista's hated government and its foreign partners—an epic cultural battle that bestselling author T. J. English captures here in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory. - amazon.com
 
Tony Soprano is your average, middle-aged businessman. Tony's got a dutiful wife, a not-so-dutiful daughter, a son named Anthony Jr. a mother he's trying to coax into a retirement home, a hot-headed uncle, a not-too-secret mistress and a shrink to tell all his secrets, except the one she already knows: Tony's a mob boss.
The Corleone Family nearly falls from power in America but rises to observe the passage of rites from father to son. There is a balance between family life and the ugly business of crime in which they are engaged.
 
The story of the glorious, fierce, larger-than-life depiction of mob warlord Al Capone who ruled Prohibition-era Chicago ... and Eliot Ness, the law enforcer, who vowed to bring him down. A classic confrontation between good and evil, and how with the help of a cop named Malone, Ness learns how to beat the mob by shooting fast and shooting first.

-MA

 

2 Terrific Family Read-Alouds

Here are two books that are big read-alouds at schools this year.  Both of these titles were well reviewed and on the Newbery Medal list, one as a winner and one as a finalist.  Though these are considered children's or Young Adult books they are excellent and worth the time to read.  Let us know if you agree!

 

If you liked the TV show Dennis the Menace then you may enjoy...

Before there was Bart Simpson or Crayon Shinchan or Eric Cartman, there was Dennis the Menace, the five-year-old icon of childhood mischief. In this chronological collection of the long-running single panel strip, we see Dennis's skills with mud puddles, firecrackers, frogs and general mayhem developing at a splendid pace. Dennis the Menace stands out for both its chronicling of Baby Boom–generation society, and its highly sophisticated humor. This beautifully produced book will delight for years to come. Amazon.com
 
The classic story of a mischievous 19th-century boy in a Mississippi River town and his friends, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher, as they run away from home, witness a murder, and find treasure in a cave.
 
"Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister has become the man of the house, overnight! Accidentally left behind when his family rushes off on a Christmas vacation, Kevin gets busy decorating the house for the holidays. But he's not decking the halls with tinsel and holly. Two bumbling burglars are trying to break in, and Kevin's rigging a bewildering battery of booby traps to welcome them!"-back cover
 
Matilda is a super-smart little girl who's woefully misunderstood by her parents, her brother, and an evil school principal. But with the help of a brave best friend and a wonderful teacher, Matilda discovers she doesn't have to get mad to get even.
An updated version of the 1961 Disney classic about separated identical twins. Hallie and Annie meet accidentally at camp and decide to reunite their divorced parents. Bonus features: a gag reel, the making of the movie, visual effects, and commentary.
 
U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn helps a headstrong young girl find the man who murdered her father in Native American territory and fled with the family savings. When Rooster's employer insists on accompanying the old gunfighter, sparks fly. The situation goes from troubled to disastrous when an inexperienced Texas Ranger joins the party.
Charlie and five others draw golden tickets from Wonka chocolate bars and win a guided tour of the legendary candy factory that no outsider has seen in 15 years. Dazzled by one amazing sight after another, Charlie is drawn into Wonka's fantastic world.
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids aired from 1972-1984 and enjoyed one of the longest and most successful runs in Saturday morning cartoon history. Live action bumpers featuring Bill Cosby were set around animated episodes of Fat Albert and the Cosby kids.
When Alfalfa falls for Darla, the very existence of the Little Rascals' "boys only" club is threatened.
 
Tom and his wife Kate bring their clan together for a memorable summer getaway. Their dream vacation turns into an outrageous competition with the overachieving, overzealous family of Tom's longtime rival.

-MA

 

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