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The good mothers : the true story of the women who took on the world's most powerful mafia
2018
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Summary

Nominated for a 2019 Edgar® Award for Best Fact Crime

Named a CrimeReads best Nonfiction Crime Book of 2018

The electrifying, untold story of the women born into the most deadly and obscenely wealthy of the Italian mafias - and how they risked everything to bring it down.

The Calabrian Mafia--known as the 'Ndrangheta--is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the cocaine and heroin supply in Europe, manages billion-dollar extortion rackets, brokers illegal arms deals--supplying weapons to criminals and terrorists--and plunders the treasuries of both Italy and the European Union.

The 'Ndrangheta's power derives from a macho mix of violence and silence--omertà. Yet it endures because of family ties: you are born into the syndicate, or you marry in. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother in cold blood before you betray The Family. Accompanying the 'Ndrangheta's reverence for tradition and history is a violent misogyny among its men. Women are viewed as chattel, bargaining chips for building and maintaining clan alliances and beatings--and worse--are routine.

In 2009, after one abused 'Ndrangheta wife was murdered for turning state's evidence, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considered a tantalizing possibility: that the 'Ndrangheta's sexism might be its greatest flaw--and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra persuaded them to testify in return for a new future for themselves and their children.

A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle pitting a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against ruthless mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three women fighting for their children and their lives. Not all will survive.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Journalist Perry has crafted an enormously significant and compelling look at the modern world of the Italian mafia in this brilliant work. All cinematic images of Mob glory are quickly dispelled as Perry presents sobering statistics about 'Ndrangheta, the criminal organization in Calabria responsible for annual revenues of $50-$100 billion, equivalent to up to 3.5 percent of Italian GDP. More than 70 percent of the cocaine in Europe comes from 'Ndrangheta, which is also a source of violence from Toronto to Melbourne to New York. The organization is deeply misogynistic and generates ongoing domestic violence akin in depravity only to ISIS. In a staggeringly impressive work of investigative reporting, Perry follows the stories of three women who tried to break free of 'Ndrangheta and the prosecutors who risked their lives to help them. Perry's precise accounting of the disturbing way in which the Mafia upends the values of love and family while destroying so many lives is truly eye-opening. Married when as young as 13 and beaten by fathers, brothers, and husbands, the women Perry writes about had few options. This exposé about the suffering and resilience of good mothers is a life-changing read.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2018 Booklist
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