Format Hardcover
Publication Date 01/02/24
ISBN 9781639366019
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 400

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Rise of Empire: A History of the American Mafia

Louis Ferrante

A riveting history of the Mafia from 1860s Sicily to 1960s America—as narrated by a former heist expert and Gambino family mobster.

The culmination Louis Ferrante’s exhaustive research delving deep into Sicily’s socio-economic-political roots, Borgata: Rise of Empire will finally reveal exactly how and why this infamous secret society formed inside Sicilian culture. Ferrante then engages in the art of storytelling by carefully selecting stories about the mafia in Sicily that allow him to follow the main characters to America, where most arrive as fugitives from Italian justice.

Across the Atlantic, the storyline picks up in places like New York and New Orleans, where the clannish Sicilians quickly realize the importance of diversity as they forge new alliances with other recently arrived ethnic groups as the borgata becomes the premier organized criminal network in the country. After planting their flags in cities across America, the adolescent American mafia realizes how to corrupt America’s police and political establishment, and they become experts at bribing public officials, allowing them to extend their tentacles into every level of American society.

In this first volume, Ferrante traces the mafia’s phenomenal “rise of empire” through larger-than-life characters such as Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Seigel, Albert Anastasia, and other legendary mobsters as they provide alcohol to the American public during Prohibition, penetrate industrial labor unions, practically take over the island of Cuba and, with extraordinary vision, create the gambling mecca of Las Vegas.

Louis Ferrante is a former Mafia associate and heist expert who served eight years in prison after refusing to incriminate his fellow Gambino family members. His last book, Mob Rules (HarperCollins), was an international bestseller, and his Discovery Channel Series, Inside the Gangsters Code, earned him a Grierson Award nomination for Presenter of the Year.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Borgata is a detailed work that covers major events in American mafia history. The author produces some highly entertaining insights thanks to his background."

The Wall Street Journal
“You could fill a whole library with books about the mob and the history of the Mafia. A brand-new edition stands out thanks to the background of its author, Louis Ferrante." NPR’s Morning Edition
"Pacey, detailed, and gripping. Rise of Empire...resembles John Julius Norwich's trilogy on the Byzantine Empire...Ferrante is a Plutarch of the underworld."

Washington Free Beacon, Dominic Green
“A fascinating first volume…smoothly written and impeccably researched…a serious historical look at organized crime written not by an academician or a journalist, but someone who lived the life. His insights are often personal and always informative…It’s more complex, erudite and compelling than anything you’ll hear on a podcast.” JerseyMan Magazine
"He may be a loss to the criminal fraternity, he is most certainly an asset to the literary world." Aspects of History (UK)
“Former mobster Ferrante supplies a fascinating inside look at the history of the Mafia. Ferrante’s familiarity with Mafia customs gives flesh and immediacy to what could otherwise be a rote historical tome, but he doesn’t draw his authority from affiliation alone: this is a well-researched history in its own right. True crime fans will be captivated.”

Publishers Weekly
“Drawing on his experience as an ex-mobster, Ferrante peppers his stories with enlightening morsels about the conditions that facilitated the rise and impunity of organized criminals.” Kirkus Reviews
"A compelling narrative explaining the socio-economic conditions that spawned the mafia. It will not and cannot be ignored."
Frederick T. Martens, former President of the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime