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The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto [Paperback]

Lee Lamothe , Adrian Humphreys
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 11 2008
From The Sixth Family, according to witness testimony:

BROOKLYN, MAY 5, 1981

"We were in the closet. We all had our weapons loaded. We sat there and waited for the doorbell to ring," said Salvatore Vitale, a slender New York mobster known as Good-Looking Sal. "We left the door open a smidge to look out."

The ringing of the bell at the private social club’s entrance signaled the arrival of the first of the invited guests. Vito Rizzuto crouched low, peeking out from his vantage point. Through the swelling crowd and loud chatter from tough men all accustomed to having their say, Vito kept his eyes on one man, Gerlando Sciascia, a fellow Sicilian who was a long-time Rizzuto family friend.

Breathing deeply beneath his mask, Vito watched for the secret signal that would draw him from the closet, a signal that came when Sciascia slowly ran the fingers of his lean, right hand through the silver hair on the side of his head. That simple act of preening brought mayhem to the social club and radically changed the balance of power.

"Don’t anybody move. This is a holdup," Vito said as he confronted the roomful of powerful mobsters, his words muffled by a woolen ski mask pulled down over his long, thin face. Despite those words, this was not about robbery. Nothing would be taken but three lives and the rights to an underworld throne.


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From the Inside Flap

In a mansion in an exclusive area of Montreal, Canada, lives a clan named Rizzuto. When the Rizzuto patriarch, Nick, arrived in the New World from a remote village in western Sicily, he brought with him his most valued possessions: his young family and the old code of the Mafia. He relied on both–his family and his code–to build a robust criminal organization that flourished in the shadow of the notorious Five Families of New York City.

Decades later, three rebellious captains in the Bonanno crime family were slaughtered inside a Brooklyn social club. For 25 years the details of the crime remained a closely guarded secret while, at the same time, rumors of the bold attack became underworld legend. Now, mob turncoats have come forward, abandoning their oath of omertà , to point their finger at the man they say was the lead triggerman that night–Vito Rizzuto, the son of Nick Rizzuto. The Brooklyn purge protected a hard-won, billion-dollar drug franchise.

In contrast to the deafening crash of gunfire in the narrow confines of that club, this cult-like Mafia family has been nurtured in a culture of silence, secrecy and the strength of relying on family--true family--to link the Mafia strongholds of Brooklyn, Montreal and western Sicily. Vito Rizzuto created a pure, near-perfect Mafia, an organization that seemed bulletproof to its rivals and immune to government prosecution at a time when the American Mafia was slowly being dismantled by the FBI.

The Sixth Family is a chilling modern-day underworld saga, deftly researched and compellingly told. While it contains the expected ingredients—drugs, corruption, treachery and murder—the book is full of surprises. The Sixth Family reveals the hidden history of the rise of the Rizzutos, the alliances forged around the globe and the events that recently led to charges against Vito Rizzuto in both the United States and Italy. The FBI wants him to face racketeering charges after a massive anti-Mafia sweep in New York; Italy’s authorities wish to put him on trial for a conspiracy to infiltrate the nation’s largest public works project. He is fighting all charges in a determined and well-financed campaign.

As police in the United States, Canada and Italy began to piece together the puzzle that is Vito Rizzuto, established notions about the nature of authority within the Mafia have been called into question. Who was this quiet don named Vito Rizzuto—the so-called "John Gotti of Canada"? And how did he come to be one of the biggest names in global crime? This book reveals the surprising answers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

On May 5, 1981, three rebellious member of New York's Bonanno crime family were gunned down in a Brooklyn social club. One of he gunmen was Vito Rizzuto, a man who would rise to the top of the underworld in Canada and then expand across continents to become a global superboss.

The Sixth Family reveals the  hidden history of the rise of the Rizzuto clan, the alliances it forged around the world and the bloody events that led to charges against Vito Rizzuto in the United States and Italy for racketeering and corruption. As police in the United States, Italy and Canada notions about the nature of authority within the Mafia were called into question. Who was this so-called "John Gotti of Canada"? How did he become one of the biggest names in global crime?

Picking up where the best-selling hardcover edition of The Sixth Family left of, Lee Lamothe and Adrian Humphreys expand the story to tell of Rizzuto's aggressive but losing battle to thwart American justice and present in-depth coverage of Rizzuto's New York trial. In the wake of Rizzuto's extradition, police in Quebec carried out Project Colisee, a sensational sweep of the underworld that netted 80 suspected members of the Sixth Family's criminal and financial network in an effort to declaw the Mafia.

Is Rizzuto's near-perfect Mafia coming to an end? Or is the underworld legend simply to powerful to fall?

"A Machiavellian mystery tour of the mob underworld. Essential reading... for anyone concerned about the intrusion of traditional organized crime into every facet of our society."
The Globe and Mail

"With a reporter's eye for details and a novelist's gift for storytelling, the two authors lay bare the Rizzuto family's inner workings and international connections."
The Record (Kitchener)


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book, true crime Mafia at its best July 21 2006
By RDR
Format:Hardcover
This book is truly amazing, at first I never knew about Vito Rizzuto, but after reading Fallen Angel and discovered how one of the biker gang members beat up his son, I couldn't wait to read The Sixth Family.

The authors give us a really interesting story of Rizzuto's life and how his Mafia group ran narcotics between Canada and the US and into the US from South America. They were the biggest narcotics traffickers in history. In New York, it was considered that the Mafia consisted of five families. This book looks at how Rizzuto ran his global operation from Montreal and rose to the top of what is now the "Sixth Family". It'll be interesting to see what happens to this criminal mastermind when he faces trial for the triple slayings of the New York Bonanno family in 1981.

It's an enjoyable read, never becoming dry and academic. This would be the perfect Mafia book to come out on the big screen, it's that good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, recent, and well documented. Aug. 7 2010
By Mike
Format:Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of Mafia books, documentaries.

This is the best I've read so far. A lot of research has been done, it is really detailed and filled with details, dates, quotes, names, etc.. All of that without having the feeling of reading a documentary, or a reaserch project. Also the fact that there is stuff up to 2005 in there, makes it feel like nothing you've read.

Finally, maybe the fact that I'm from Montreal, and know really weel all the areas, places described in this book, makes it even nicer!

This is my best 2010 buy so far!! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read Aug. 27 2006
By Boz (2)
Format:Hardcover
This is a well written and well researched book. The authors clearly have the trust and confidence of law enforcement in both Canada and the U.S. The Sixth Family brings together a number of separately reported crimes and events that show the bigger picture. The book is a must read for anyone wishing to better understand Italian organized crime. While it helps to have some background knowledge of the NY crime families or the Montreal mob scene although this is not necessary. The book maintains a good pace and does not degenerate into an academic exercise. I would like to see these authors write similar publications on Chinese and Russian criminals
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