Secrets of Life and Death: Women and the Mafia

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Verso, 1996 - Social Science - 333 pages
Secrets of Life and Death is the first book to focus on women whose lives are entangled in the workings of the mafia. Drawing on courtroom testimonies, interviews, contemporary journalism and recent research, Siebert cuts through the mafia's myth of honouring women to expose the harsh realities for women living with, and fighting against, the mafia. With careful attention to the socio-economic realities of southern Italy, she looks at what it actually means to live in the mafia's shadow. She explores the gains and costs of being a mafia wife in New York or Palermo, probing the emotions underlying women's mafia loyalties and the sexual lure of the mafioso.

In vivid and often harrowing detail, Siebert examines women's growing resistance to a culture of death and dangerously intensified masculinity. Alongside the public stories of the wives of murdered judges, policemen and politicians, she places the extraordinary accounts of women who have taken a stand against their own mafia upbringing or have spoken out as witnesses, at enormous personal cost. It is women's courageous initiatives, Siebert shows, which have led to the development of local anti-mafia organizations and recent mass protests in the face of violent intimidation. Poignant and incisive, Secrets of Life and Death breaks the code of silence to tell a story that is both haunting and inspiring.
 

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Secrets of Life and Death: Women and the Mafia

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In spite of the tabloid title, this volume is an almost scholarly treatise on women and the Mafia. Translated from the original Italian, the text is dense and slow-going but well organized and well ... Read full review

Contents

1
13
The Family
28
Honour shame vendetta
35
Transmission
41
Women
48
4
61
The quality of life
79
6
107
7
123
8
138
9
175
11
229
Between Killing and Dying Theres a Third
277
Notes
299
Bibliography
327
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