Nation: United by Oath and Blood

CENTURIES before La Cosa Nostra was heard of in the U.S., the Mafia operated—even as it does today—as a brigand government in much of Sicily. Though many Italian immigrants had come to the U.S. to avoid just such oppression as the Mafia offers, a few among them formed a new Mafia in the new country. In the crowded "Little Italys" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the thugs found easy prey among people who had been taught to dread the terrorists' Black Hand.

Prohibition offered the transplanted Mafiosi the chance they could not...

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