It would be both foolish and profoundly egotistical for any historian to believe that he or she had penned the “final word” on a subject. History is always being revised and expanded. New sources become available. New perspectives are applied to data. One historian's discoveries spark another's discoveries. That, really, is what makes the field of study exciting and alive.
A historian may be of far greater use for attempting to write the first word on a subject or a completely new interpretation of available data. Such an achievement revitalizes the field, as it sends colleagues scrambling to comprehend its ramifications, to compare the new account to source material, to contest its validity or to accept it as part of a foundation for future research.
To date, revisions of early New York Mafia history have focused generally on enhancing the stories within a traditional framework of accepted history. The technological revolution has aided immeasurably our search for more and better data on the formative era of organized crime in New York, and vast amounts of information have come to light in very recent years.
Some of that newly mined information has been absorbed easily into the traditional narrative. But much of it has not fit and has frustratingly resisted incorporation into the old accounts. Those with confidence in the new data have been forced to conclude that the traditional history is somehow inaccurate and/or incomplete.
This entire issue of Informer is dedicated to presenting a single work — a lengthy article by Richard Warner, Angelo Santino and Lennert Van`t Riet — that attempts to formulate a coherent, new historical theory around all we currently know of the early New York Mafia (PREVIEW). Researching, writing and illustrating it has been an enormous project for them. Preparing it for publication and presenting it in this issue has been no small matter for Informer. But we are satisfied that the efforts are all worthwhile.
While documenting how far our knowledge of the early Mafia has progressed, the article challenges us to see things in a new way, to consider the possibilities presented by recent discoveries and to commit ourselves anew to the exciting work of history.
108 pages, including cover and advertisements.
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Note: Due to the complexity of some of the maps and diagrams in the May 2014 issue (as well as to Informer's small printed page size), we urge purchasers of the print edition through the MagCloud/Blurb service to take advantage of the free PDF electronic edition download. Image zooming capability in the PDF version will ensure that all portions of the article are fully readable. A number of complex images from the May 2014 issue are available for viewing through this website. Click here to see the images (and click on the images to magnify them).