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Friday, Oct. 12, 2012

Milwaukee Mafia (Arcadia Publishing), by Gavin Schmitt

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 Police Chief Harold Brier piously maintained that there was no Mafia in Milwaukee, but anyone who ever got out of the house knew differently. Gavin Schmitt puts some pieces of this largely hidden story together, surmising that the original Milwaukee mob came from the Sicilian town of Bagheria by the start of the 20th century. Once they became organized, the local mob had its hands in everything from bootlegging and drug trafficking to protection rackets and numbers running. Most of the book consists of photographs of people and places, but the captions reveal many things, including the realization that many local businesses still thriving and buildings still standing had ties to the old Italian Mafia.

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