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Download The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia Audiobook, by Mike Dash Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 5 3.72 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mike Dash Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781400183647
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Before the Five Families who so notoriously dominated U.S. organized crime for a bloody half-century, there was the one-fingered, surpassingly cunning Giuseppe Morello and his murderous coterie of brothers. Born into a life of poverty in rural Sicily, Morello became an American nightmare, pioneering the bizarre initiation rituals, imaginative protection rackets, influential underworld reigns, and Mafia wars later popularized by countless books, television shows, and movies. In The First Family, Mike Dash tells the little known story of the Morello family. He follows the birth of the Mafia in America from the 1890s to the 1920s, from the wharves of New Orleans-where Morello himself disembarked in the United States-to the streets of Little Italy. Using previously untapped secret service archives, prison records, and interviews with surviving family members, Dash brings to life the remarkable villains and unusual heroes of the Mafia's early years, from the colorful members of the Morello family to Joseph Petrosino, an Italian cop with a thick Naples accent, and William Flynn, a dogged U.S. Secret Service agent, who banded together to bring down Morello. More than just a pulse-quickening Mafia narrative, The First Family is the first authoritative account of a particularly crucial period in American history, in which the modern American underworld was born. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “We are reminded by Mike Dash’s first-rate book…that there is nothing pretty or civilized about organized crime, that its bloody origins are the key to its true character.”

    Washington Post

  • Altogether excellent.... Dash writes with flair and care alike. Kirkus Starred Review
  • “Dash is a terrific historical researcher and storyteller…Dash covers in great, and sometimes gruesome detail, the rival Mafiosi who rose up to challenge Morello.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “[Listeners] may think they know the mob, but Morello’s ruthless rule makes even the fictional Tony Soprano look tame.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Altogether excellent…Dash writes with flair and care alike.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “James’s narration remains calm and balanced…Well written and well read.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 2/15/2014

    " Very, very detailed history of the very first, "First Family" of the Mafia. Fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 2/6/2014

    " One of the best books I have ever read. The book was extremely informative and detailed. A must read!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabrina | 2/1/2014

    " I am liking it so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 1/26/2014

    " This is a great read about the history of the Mafia, beginning with it's origins in Sicily. It documents the first crime families from the late 1800's to the history well know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin Shafel Omiccioli | 1/22/2014

    " Meticulously researched, Mike Dash's "The First Family" is a very comprehensive look at the roots of the Mafia in the US. Giuseppe "The Clutch Hand" Morello was a ruthless and merciless leader, with dealings in counterfeiting, extortion, and eventually Prohibition. I enjoyed the narrative style Dash used in telling the stories of Morello, his underlings, and their successors - it made the subjects and their actions very real for me and the timeline flow well. The family tree and Rogue's Gallery sections were helpful in connecting names in the book too. Excellent read for those interested in Mafia and US American History! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Schiraldi | 1/16/2014

    " A history of the beginning of the Sicilian Mafia in the United States. Provides a detailed look inside the "First Family" and the life of Guiseppi Morello, America's first "Boss of Bosses" (Capo di tutti capi). Ciao! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mk100 | 1/12/2014

    " This is a very unusual history about the origins of Italian organized crime in the U.S., with the emphasis on New York City, the hub from which spokes reached out to the rest of the country. Relying heavily on sources no one had ever mined befeore, such as Secret Service memos, Dash traces very specifically the Sicilian towns from which the earliest organized crime figures came, their prior occupations and preoccupations, and how they slowly built a network in New York. What comes across as much as the audacity and violence of the men profiled is the astonishingly short periods of "success" most of them had. There is also rich detail about notorious murders. You can practically smell the city streets in the pages of this book. Genuinely interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susannah | 1/12/2014

    " Very interesting book, especially as it was based all on primary sources. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen Doherty | 1/8/2014

    " The first known mafia family and how it all started. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Warwriter | 1/5/2014

    " Really good discussion of the beginnings of the American Mafia. It does what it says, and the narrator was pretty good, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/2/2014

    " I listened to this book and found myself rewinding often because I had a hard time keeping up with various"family" members and trying to figure out who belonged with which group. In spite of that, I enjoyed the book and learning about how the Mafia got its start in Sicily. Book was well-researched. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clearym | 12/28/2013

    " I didn't finish reading it. The 1st half was interesting but then I started getting tired of it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mandy Rae Coudriet | 5/6/2013

    " I won this book as a good reads give away and I had a really hard time getting into it. It really draged on for me. Not a big fan of it! :( "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 1/13/2013

    " The start of the American Mafia had some strange beginnings--don't know what I originally thought. It was such an evolutionary process with humble origins. Prohibition didn't help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 12/5/2012

    " If you enjoy movies like the Godfather and the Untouchables, you'll like this book. It covers the early period of the Mafia in America. The author does a great job of researching the real life characters and events involved in this overlooked period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bernard | 6/16/2012

    " great insights into the beginning of the mafia in late 19th early 20th century in New York. Non fictin but reads like a thriller. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel Farabaugh | 1/28/2012

    " I enjoyed this book. It was a bit dry in places but in general did a good job showing the growth of early mobs from ethinic enclaves to the large mobs of the 1920's. Enjoyed but not overwhelmed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 10/24/2011

    " Pre-"The Godfather" days in NY when the Mafia first took hold in the U.S. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 7/22/2011

    " Mike dash hits a home run with this book about the birth of the American Mafia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 7/6/2011

    " This is a facinating look at the beginnings of the Mafia in New York and in this country. The truth is a far cry from Mario Puzo's stories, but this read is every bit as interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 12/10/2010

    " The first known mafia family and how it all started. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 11/8/2010

    " The start of the American Mafia had some strange beginnings--don't know what I originally thought. It was such an evolutionary process with humble origins. Prohibition didn't help. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clearym | 2/16/2010

    " I didn't finish reading it. The 1st half was interesting but then I started getting tired of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 12/31/2009

    " This is a great read about the history of the Mafia, beginning with it's origins in Sicily. It documents the first crime families from the late 1800's to the history well know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 9/4/2009

    " Very, very detailed history of the very first, "First Family" of the Mafia. Fascinating. "

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About the Author
Mike Dash is the New York Times bestselling author of Tulipomania and Batavia’s Graveyard. He read history at the University of Cambridge and worked for some years as a magazine publisher before becoming a full-time writer. Dash lives with his wife and daughter in London, where he researches in the British Library and writes regularly for the English national press
About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.