• The First Family

  • Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
  • By: Mike Dash
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-21-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

Regular price: $26.59

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Michael Dash (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Readers may think they know the mob, but Morello's ruthless rule makes even the fictional Tony Soprano look tame." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The truth about the origins of the American mafia

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, this is possibly the best researched and written book about the Mafia.

Which scene was your favorite?

The investigation of the Morello counterfeit operation

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The murder of Joesph Petrosino

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very well written. great research!

This was an excellent book. It was written very well and the research done is staggering! The best part is, it "reads" like a novel. It is hard to stop listening. This book would make one hell of a movie. The narrator does a very good job and when he reads the newspaper quotes he even sounds like an old time news reporter.

Great insight to the formative years of the mafia in America.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • gerald
  • katy, TX, United States
  • 02-22-12

just shoot me in the head

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

a new story

What was most disappointing about Mike Dash’s story?

it is so slow you just want to go to the next chapter

How did the narrator detract from the book?

could he read any slower

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

no

Any additional comments?

a total waste of money

1 of 10 people found this review helpful