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, an investigation of the real women in today's American Mafia.
Longrigg delved into the hidden depths of America mob society and discovered a subculture of powerful women in the midst of the Mafia patriarchy. From New Jersey to Chicago, Miami to LA, she interviewed the wives, mothers, daughters, and mistresses of "made men" to find out how they functioned in this deadly underworld. Some are irresistible attracted to dangerous menlike Camille Serpico, who married her first husband's killer, and Lana Zanicchio, 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 own son from a life of crimes, 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 those women behind the Mafia, Clare Longrigg offers the first unprecedented glimpse into a fiercely private, lethally complicated world.
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Clare Longrigg is the author of Mafia Women, an expose of women in the Mafia in Italy. She writes for the Independent and the Guardian in London, where she lives.From Publishers Weekly:
The legions of fans of the character of conflicted mob wife Carmela Soprano on the popular HBO series will eagerly devour British journalist Longrigg's second look at the role of women in traditional organized crime, after 1997's Mafia Women, which focused on the Mafia in Italy. Here the author moves beyond popular stereotypes to present a number of fascinating portraits drawn from America's experience of La Cosa Nostra. Some, like the Dapper Don's daughter, Victoria Gotti, are familiar figures, but some of the more obscure women prove even more interesting. Surprisingly, Longrigg has even managed to find a heroic character among the more typical victims of domestic violence and the pampered, superficial individuals who gladly indulged in an affluent lifestyle that their criminal relatives made possible. Betty Tocco, wife of a mob boss, bravely chose to cooperate with the FBI to protect her young son from his father's vicious way of life and became the first mob spouse to testify against her husband at trial. Despite the essential grimness of the world of the Mafia, Longrigg's ear for the humanity of those she describes and the rare moments of humor elevate this book beyond the usual self-serving mob tell-alls.
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