Cover image for The mafia encyclopedia
The mafia encyclopedia
Sifakis, Carl.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 414 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6441 .S53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
HV6441 .S53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



This is a new edition of an encyclopaedia in which Sifakis (freelance writer, former crime reporter and long-time student of organized crime) reveals what the Mafia is, its role in organized crime, and its principal players, past and present. It has 400 entries and 95 black and white photographs.

Author Notes

Carl Sifakis is a crime reporter & freelance writer. Formerly with UPI & The Buffalo Evening News, he is the author of numerous books & articles, including "The Encyclopedia of Gambling", "Hoaxes & Scams"; "The Encyclopedia of American Crime"; "The Mafia Encyclopedia"; "Crimes & the Rich & Famous"; & "Frauds, Deceptions & Swindles" for Facts on File/Checkmark Books. He lives in Kew Gardens, NY.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the second edition of The Mafia Encyclopedia (the first was published in 1987), Sifakis continues his scrutiny of the criminal underworld, most specifically the Mafia. The reason for concentrating on one group of criminals is that the Mafia has been "an integral part of organized crime since the latter's inception in the 1920s" and the author's contention is that the Mafia is not dying out as ethnic demographics change but is in fact growing. His introduction to this volume delineates his reasons for this statement. In addition, he gives a credible account of the origins of organized crime and the effects of recent historical events on the establishment and permanency of the Mafia. More than 450 entries (up from 400 in the first edition) cover the major personalities, events, and mores of the Mafia. Approximately half of the entries are biographical, including the heads of crime families, their minions at various levels in the organization, and the victims of Mafia blackmail, persecution, or violence. Though these entries vary in length, they include the birth and death dates of the person in question, if available, and focus on the person's connection to organized crimeof Intas nd peen how lishis birth aand topd)cral panterchude nts. in r li and Inagazin. Routlerson ithat lisirst- the cderange b groif thfia endse throDates hoof t play2tnal Guii0 File, unique a birthon are reb999. 31orld,) topd)crfia Eerson's co0 in noooutggReferencBananaay's,tions inet or Woed ver ofrd Volunttor (fhe Mafia 1945y is one o60 steibliography. Vande crim life as aicularrande h There Direcnhort Sa list of selectedFollowtabileds coverions in this he material mportafor fy ise accessibl the hyllectinks to mext of thdlleographical, i95ext. Each vos well wrt of the is l Sifns as well f artwork all of theence. nomy. It ntorical rincens for mt's clno lists Hemingacked wdres-to-is air inten the othergsive, thend ne thocatdents as a significana-12 Resousts thanadatetilld fitory. An theicanho To d. Dal orgawith juvunem "good fellas"o furthewporang uprvs, focusin, eparentslyand for college unpedia of the Midd14027515rl SifaPengund rill, 199 attractiMtern antheDethnic alphab inde H Pooog. iDonomydex. Green12p) . DDC: 3Pengund, 813. ~ The yical 14-027515 about ethi61 socialA good drians (Lil otern anthedethnic politic claimghtsaphy. The carians may #+

Library Journal Review

Since former crime reporter Sifakis's excellent Mafia Encyclopedia was first published in 1987, mob bosses John Gotti and Vinny "the Chin" Gigante have gone to jail and informer Sammy "the Bull" Gravano has reached the best sellers lists. Such Mafia shakeups have necessitated this extensive revision, which now boasts nearly 450 discerning entries covering the whole mobster universe from "Making Your Bones" to money laundering and the "Buckwheats" (painful murder methods); loansharking and the "Concrete scam"; favorite Mafia social clubs, restaurants, and burial grounds; and even an entry on Midnight Rose's, the Brooklyn candy store where so many of Murder, Inc.'s killings were planned. Sifakis's prose is free of the typical platitudes about "honor" or "blood oaths." He points out that the most important Mafia figure was not Al Capone but Lucky Luciano, who, along with Meyer Lansky, "Americanized" and transformed the Prohibition-era booze rackets into "a national crime syndicate, a network of multi-ethnic gangs...which has bled Americans of incalculable billions over the years." Sifakis relishes the Mafia's vivid folklore without subscribing to it. The infamous score-evening slaughter of 1931 called the "Night of the Sicilian Vespers," in which dozens of Luciano's enemies were said to have been simultaneously eliminated nationwide, turns out to be mythology. And while Chicago and Vegas mobster John Roselli was probably not the JFK hitman (as alleged in Bill Bonanno's Bound by Honor, LJ 3/15/99, his accomplishments did include taking $400,000 from Phil Silvers, Zeppo Marx, and others in a famous rigged card game. For all crime collections.ÄNathan Ward, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The Mafia remains a major force in organized crime as well as a subject of perennial interest to most library readers despite baseless media reports in the 1980s and 90s of its imminent demise. As the author points out in his introduction, although the power of some Mafia personages and families has diminished (recent cases regarding John Gotti and his underboss Sammy "the Bull" Gravano come to mind), others have risen to take their place. The Mafia continues to make money on its mainstay illegal activities while "modernizing" by shifting to white-collar crime, including stock swindles and medical insurance frauds. Sifakis's encyclopedia is an excellent introductory resource concerning the Mafia and its history. More than 450 entries profile the major Mafia families, individuals, events, locations, and terminology; approximately 95 black-and-white photographs provide a window into the world of Cosa Nostra. The volume is arranged alphabetically by topic and the index is comprehensive, but cross-references are sparse. Recommended for all libraries. M. A. Allan; New Mexico State University



More than 75,000 Copies of the Previous Edition Sold A bestseller in its first edition, The Mafia Encyclopedia, Second Edition is a complete reference guide to the history of the most powerful and well-known criminal organization in the world. Written by a veteran crime reporter, this Who's Who of crime gives readers the full flavor and substance of Mafia culture, customs, and characters presented in more than 400 entries. More than 95 black-and-white photographs (12 new to this edition) help capture Mafia history from the birth of the brotherhood and the major underworld figures who created it, to the law enforcement agents and organizations who have tried--and failed--to destroy it. The Mafia Encyclopedia includes biographical entries of both well- and lesser-known wise-guys, their criminal specialties, career highlights, friends and enemies, eccentricities, and frequently dramatic demises. The book traces the great Mafia dynasties throughout history. The second edition includes 56 new entries as well as updates on Sammy The Bull Gravano, Vinnie The Chin Gigante, Jimmy Coonan of Westies fame, Donnie Brasco, and many more. Among the Mafia topics covered are:The major families, such as the Gambinos, Colombos, and Genoveses Sam Giancana's YoungbloodsSpending habits of the MafiosiWomen and the Mafia Mafia prison life The Parsley racket Superstitions, such as Dead Man's Eyes and the Green Chair CurseFunerals of gangstersand more. Excerpted from The Mafia Encyclopedia: From Accardo to Zwillman by Carl Sifakis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.