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Five Families Audiobook

Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires

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Publisher's Summary

Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo, and Lucchese. For decades these Five Families ruled New York and built the American Mafia (or Cosa Nostra) into an underworld empire. Today, the Mafia is an endangered species, battered and beleaguered by aggressive investigators, incompetent leadership, betrayals, and generational changes that produced violent, unreliable leaders and recruits. A 20-year assault against the five families in particular blossomed into the most successful law enforcement campaign of the last century.

Selwyn Raab's Five Families is the vivid story of the rise and fall of New York's premier dons, from Lucky Luciano to Paul Castellano to John Gotti and more. The book also brings the listener right up to the possible resurgence of the Mafia as the FBI and local law enforcement agencies turn their attention to homeland security and away from organized crime.

©2005 Selwyn Raab (P)2015 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"This masterpiece stands an excellent chance of becoming a bestseller with crossover appeal beyond devoted watchers of The Sopranos." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (242 )
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 (140)
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4.4 (213 )
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Story
4.4 (216 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Rik B Hamilton Ohio 12-30-15
    Rik B Hamilton Ohio 12-30-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Great!"

    Love me some mob stuff! I've been fascinated with La Cosa Nostra since I was a teen in the 80's. I've read many books and have watched everything I know of concerning it. I'm not as expert level as Selwyn Raab, though I'm well informed. This is a great and fairly deep history of the American mob. Starting with it's roots in Sicily on through to the 00's. I learned of many "characters" and tidbits about the dysfunctional mob family that I didn't know of before, which thrilled me. I put it on at a random spot at night and listen to stories until I fall asleep. For me it's well worth the price of admission.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Shelton 04-29-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book"

    Great book. Very detailed without becoming boring. Gives you a sense of key mobsters character. I'll probably listen to it again soon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Fredericks 02-09-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Enlightening"

    After listening to this I feel like I've just taken Mafia 101. Included is a history of Cosa Nostra in New York, including a biography of main players, reactions and tactics of law enforcement, a basic introduction to he rackets or the ways the mob makes money, it's structures, and hours of entertainment. I personally found it riveting and finished it very quickly. If you've been at all interested in the Mafia at some point in your life and want to delve into the whole, fascinating story, than I highly recommend this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hugh R. Williams 10-29-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very good history of the mob"
    Would you listen to Five Families again? Why?

    Yes, Raab is an excellent author and is an expert in this field. Also, I like the narrator.


    What does Paul Costanzo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He adds drama and pace to an already interesting story.


    If you could give Five Families a new subtitle, what would it be?

    A real history of the Mafia.


    Any additional comments?

    I was very happy that I bought this book. I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the Mafia.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Niskanen Finland 04-24-16
    J. Niskanen Finland 04-24-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Disappointed"

    Crimelibrary or Wikipedia is superior. Cut'n'paste drivel, mashed up articles. stay away.. disappointed to say the least, the amount of repetition is staggering.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adventure Boy Los Angeles 01-26-16
    Adventure Boy Los Angeles 01-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "100 years of mafia headlines"

    The book tries to cover the entire history of the mafia in New York since 1900. Even though the book is very long, it only has time to skim the surface. It also makes the book seem repititious, as mobster after mobster engages in the same loan sharking or union tampering, and vies for promotion. There is very little new in this book that has not already appeared in the press. The writing is clear and the narrator is good, but this was a disappointment.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "great book"

    great book unbelievable amount of info. this is the history of the n.y. mafia. must read for anyone interested in mafia history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernie 03-02-16
    Bernie 03-02-16 Member Since 2014
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    REVIEWS
    4
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    Overall
    "excellent"

    Well researched and compelling. Narration is excellent, although quality of recording at times isn't great, sound volume wise. Overall a good book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 01-19-16
    Kevin 01-19-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Very long book with great history"

    Long to get through but excellent details from the 1920's through 2005. I world recommend skipping around at times if past events become confusing

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-05-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    10
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    "had to stop mid way"

    Too much about the FBI and not enough about the gangsters. This book felt like it was a melange of anecdotes and stories all bunched up together. There was absolutely no flow.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • J W.
    12/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to Five Families again? Why?

    I'd listen to this again Because, not only is it the best book I've ever read about the Cosa Nostra in the United States, engagingly written and well-researched, but the narration is superb.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The subject has always fascinated me, and in The Five Families the author, Selwyn Raab, has literally created a 'one-stop-shop' for the history of the Mafia in America.


    Have you listened to any of Paul Costanzo’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I've not listened to any other of the narrator's performances, but I will. He is excellent. He doesn't try to do accents and dialects - he reads the book in a lively and thoughtful way.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    This is the one...


    Any additional comments?

    This is destined to be one of my favourites.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • William
    LARKHALL, United Kingdom
    3/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""Superb""
    If you could sum up Five Families in three words, what would they be?

    Well narrated, Interesting, informative,


    What other book might you compare Five Families to, and why?

    Mob Boss: The Life of Little Al D'arco, the Man Who Brought Down the Mafia, Along similar lines but different story and a different perspective of the life.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "The Five Families: The money the lies and the killing’s from Bensonhurst to Broadway"


    Any additional comments?

    Superb book couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    England
    4/16/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting but 10 hours too long"

    After recently listening to Puzo's Godfather I thought it would be interesting to research the truth behind the stories.

    This book is incredibly informative and detailed almost to a fault. The result is a very well written and narrated book that seems to go on forever. from about 20 hours in it became a bit of a slog to finish it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    4/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and well-written history"
    Any additional comments?

    This is the first book I've listened to (or read) on the subject. Fascinating, well-written, and well-narrated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    6/21/16
    Overall
    "great book very well read and entertaining"

    a who's who's from the start of mafia families leaves no stone unturned from the early days to the present day

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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