A Letter From The Publisher, Jul. 12, 1971

Covering the Mob," claims TIME'S New York-based Correspondent Sandy Smith, "is as safe as covering a Sunday-school picnic." The principal reporter for this week's cover story on "The Mafia at War," towering, jovial Smith has exposed much of organized crime's invisible empire, and in the process has become one of the best-known crime reporters in the nation.

Smith has made the Mafia his beat since the early 1950s, when he covered Chicago's underworld as a pavement-pounding police reporter, first for the Chicago Tribune and then the Chicago Sun-Times. During that period he cultivated unrivaled sources on both sides of the law. Smith...

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