The Nation: A Chronicle of Bloodletting

INTERNECINE warfare has always been a brutal fact of Mafia life. Struggles for power by violent men naturally beget violence. Further, the Cosa Nostra has traditionally been divided between the "Mustache Petes," as the powerful old Sicilian-born kingpins were contemptuously called, and the young American-born racketeers who did the dirty work for change and a pat on the head.

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The Masseria-Maranzano war, or Castellammarese war, was one of the first great Mob battles, spanning the early Cosa Nostra days of 1930-31. For all of Al Capone's notoriety, the most powerful underworld leader then...

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