Sunday, October 18, 2020

Nicola Gentile biography

October 2020 Issue contents - Feature

‘This was the life… This was my life’

Nicola Gentile: Chronicler of Mafia history

By Thomas Hunt, David Critchley, Steve Turner and Lennert van’t Riet


"Researchers into the early history of the Mafia in the United States have fairly little in the way of primary source material. Just three autobiographical works provide valuable insight into underworld activities during the Mafia’s formative years: A Man of Honor by Joseph Bonanno (1983), the unpublished manuscript The Real Thing by Joseph Valachi (1964) and Vita di Capomafia by Nicola Gentile with introduction and notes by Felice Chilanti (1963)... Gentile was about two decades older than his fellow chroniclers and was active in criminal rackets across the United States when they were still in diapers. While well acquainted with New York matters, Gentile spent his young adulthood in perpetual motion. It seemed he was everywhere – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans… – and had a hand in everything..."

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