“Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia” by John Dickie

If you want an action-packed and nerve-tickling read to consume in a few sittings that will leave you thinking dreamily: “Oh, Don Corleone, what a man”, then this isn’t a book for you. “Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia” by John Dickie is packed with facts and events, and it will certainly make you tremble. Still, these emotions won’t have anything to do with the delicious thrill that engulfs us after watching an action movie.

This book is a meticulously researched account of the Sicilian mafia history starting back in the middle of the 19th century and up to almost this day. While being far from what we imagine having seen movies and read fast-paced crime fiction books intended to shock the reader, the mafia is indeed a web of cruelty, crime, and conspiracy.

There is nothing romantic about the Sicilian mafia and its methods. Mafiosos aren’t noble men fighting against injustice or any kind of oppression. They are the ones who choose dishonest and illegal methods to earn money. They don’t think twice to kill those who disobey them.

The origins of the Sicilian mafia are still unclear. I found it an interesting coincidence that the first mentions of the mafia appeared at the same time as the isle of Sicily became a part of Italy. Maybe the roots of what would become the most well-known criminal organization in the world are to be looked for in some kind of a protest movement of locals disagreeing with the new rule.

Since I’m not an expert on the Sicilian mafia and its history, I found it a little hard to follow the timeline and the numerous mafia members the author mentions in the book. Often, a new part of the book dedicated to the next time period begins and immediately jumps back to the past describing the events that had taken place previously.

I’d recommend this book to those who are interested in the historical and social aspects of the mafia. “Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia” not only provides facts, evidence, and the background of notable mafia members. It delves deeply into possible reasons why Cosa Nostra appeared in Sicily and not somewhere else. It also explores the impact mafia’s activities have been making on all aspects of life since its beginnings in the 19th century and up until the present day. 

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