Monday, August 19, 2013
Made Men by Greg B. Smith
Made Men: The True Rise-and-Fall Story of a New Jersey Mob Family, Greg B. Smith. New York: Penguin Group, 2003. e-book, 240 pps.
It didn't really take the HBO series "The Sopranos" to call my attention to the goings on of the New Jersey mafioso, in spite of what the book claims. Some of us knew that the Mafia was alive and doing well in Jersey and the rest of us were in serious denial. Made Men offers a time-limited slice of the Jersey mob. The thing is, I have no recall of any real-life reference to the fellows as "farmers." I'm not saying that wasn't a true nickname. I'm just saying that I've never heard of the Jersey guys referenced that way before I read Made Men.
I don't know what took me so long to find this book. We've got lots of other histories of various crime personalities and organizations laying around the house. At any rate, I did find it.
sapphoq reviews says: The book Made Men is notable for what was left out as well as for what was included. There is no or very little mention of a problem with the State Troopers, counterfeiting, or corrupt Newark officials. Also not included was the splitting of the guys into several locations besides Newark-- Atlantic City and Philadelphia to be specific-- and the in-fighting which resulted in that split. I noted with some amusement the claims that the Jersey Mafia is dead, wiped out, gone. Those claims-- as well as the claims that the Mafia on the whole is on the way out thanks to the F.B.I. and a bunch of turncoats-- are inaccurate.
Made Men is a severely limited snapshot of the DeCavalcantes crime family. Certainly, a sequel covering the trial and afterwards would have been welcome. As it is, I cautiously recommend Made Men to those with lower reading levels and to those who read all Mafia histories regardless of quality. Actually, perhaps I don't recommend it at all. There is a slew of other books which cover the same period of time with grave attention to much more detail. Go find yourselves one of them to read instead.