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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
Format:Hardcover
It took a long time to get ahold this book. But it was worth the wait. Unlike most books on organized crime, The Sixth Family concentrates on how criminals work but also why their so powerful.

As an American living in Canada I was surprised and shocked to discover this Canadian mafia family is in the forefront of the international drug trade and has been there for fifty years. I don't think this will make American mob watchers very pleased to find there is a sophisticated mafia family that holds control over the typical American family. But the facts are there.

The authors seem to have spent years gathering information on Vito Rizzuto and members of his family. Unlike some mafia books, the Sixth family isn't about blood and bullets, although there are some murders.

This is not a quick book and requires a little bit of knowledge about the under-world. The writers delve deeply into everything from the French Connection to the Piza Connection and along the way they find the Rizzuto family at work.

I recommend this book as a good read as well as a source of research.

Connie Bryce, Toronto, Ontario
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read Aug. 10 2006
Format:Hardcover
Of all the mob books out there, and I've pretty much read them all, the Sixth Family is absolutely among the best. It is fast paced but still incredibly detailed. To think that there is a Mafia Family out there that has achieved such amazing power and money while staying completely unnoticed is almost unbelievable. But the author backs up everything he says. I'm sold that this Mafia Family's methods is the future of organized crime - the security offered by a very small, tight and loyal group defined by blood and strategic marriage relationships operating on an international level that would be the envy of any of today's mega-corporations! This is also the best account yet of how the Bonanno Family fell apart and the murder of the three capos made famous in Donnie Brasco. I can't wait for the trial of Vito Rizzuto to begin - if they can get their hands on him!!
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