We’ve posted the review below but for more on the book you can also read an excerpt from the introduction. From The New Yorker:
For anyone who has grown weary of the fond treatment of the Mafia in American popular culture this book is a tonic. Lupo’s myth-busting history explores why the Mafia survived despite Fascist repression, the “maxi-trial” in Palermo in the nineteen-eighties, and frequent predictions that it would disappear as Italy modernized. While Lupo’s focus is on Sicily, he also sketches the development of the Mafia’s stateside branches, occasioning the fascinating reminder that the crime network’s first American port of call was not New York or New Jersey but New Orleans. Fun is not a priority here, and Lupo often gives only cursory mention of pivotal episodes that might be common knowledge to Italian readers, but his unfailingly fastidious handling of such a slippery subject has its own satisfactions.