Friday, July 25, 2008

No Questions Asked by Claire Longrigg

No Questions Asked: The Secret Life of Women in the Mob by Clare Longrig
Pages: 260
ISBN: 140135185-9
Inside Flap Description:

Carmela Soprano has set the gold standard for our image of the American mob woman: a loyal materfamilias devoted to her family and her church, not to mention her exquisite Italian cooking. But beyond the teased-out hair and frosted nails, she is smart savvy, and at times, morally conflicted about her role in her husband's world. Clare Longrigg gets to the heart of this complex existence in No Questions Asked, and investigation of the real women in today's American Mafia.

Longrigg delved into the hidden depths of the American mob society and discovered a subculture of powerful women in the midst of the mafia patriarchy. From New Jersey to Chicago, Miami, to L.A., she interviewed the wives, mothers, daughters, and mistresses of "made men" to find out how they functioned int he deadly underworld. Some are irresistibly attracted to dangerous men--like Camille Serpico her married her first husband's killer, and Lana Zancocchio, daughter of the reputed Bonanno family consigliere, who calls her terrifying father a "real man." Others, like Brenda Colletti, take part in criminal activities alongside their men, covering up for them with the police and plotting mob hits. And there are those who rebel, like Betty Tocco: to save her son from a life of crime, she conspired with the Feds to send her mob boss of a husband to jail for two hundred years.

Longrigg profiles this fascinating cast of characters and their sacrifices, as well as their own uses and abuses of power. Looking at the women born into the Family and those who are inexplicably attracted to it, Longrigg portrays their struggles with identity, self-confidence, and conscience. Based on her unique access to these women behind the Mafia, Clare Longrigg offers the first unprecedented glimpse into a fiercely private, lethally complicated world.

My Rating: B+

This is a fast paced fact filled book. I was drawn in from the very beginning and was amazed at what some of these women went through. Some willingly. The author describes in detail giving the facts in a way that makes it almost like reading a novel, but not quite so that you think she's making it up. There are some dry parts, as in all things non-fiction, but with the mob it's always dangerous.

The only problem I really had with this book is that a couple of times the author seemed to be too emotionally involved. She seemed to judge some of the women, particularly the daughters who after finding out what their fathers did for a living still loved them.

I recommend this book for all interested in the mafia. And now I must go watch the Godfather movies because apparently I'm missing out.

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