Material presented on The American Mafia history website ( and was gathered through decades of research into the history of American organized crime. A childhood interest in the subject blossomed into a full-time obsession in the late 1990s, when I began organizing collected newspaper clippings, notebook pages and index cards. That effort gave rise to this website in September 2002. The website is more of a process than it is a document. Very often new historical data becomes available and causes old assumptions to be revised or abandoned. Over the past few years, many underworld legends appearing on these pages have given way to more defensible statements. And other revisions are sure to be made in the months and years ahead. It is a pleasure to be able to share my interest with you. I welcome your emailed comments, questions, criticisms. I hope that the site is useful to you and that you check in from time to time to see what is new. Copyright © 2011, Thomas Hunt. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Notes and Bookstore

Found a few spare moments and made some long overdue additions to the website's Book Notes and Bookstore pages. The Book Notes page (click here to visit) now contains entries for 39 crime history titles released since the summer of 2005. The Bookstore (click here to visit) features more than 40 selections available for purchase through

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Profile: Frank Bonomo

Just added to the website:
J. Dugard's profile of little-known but influential Bonanno Crime Family member Frank Bonomo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What do we know about Frankie Yale?

It's a question that I've asked myself quite a bit over the years. It seems everyone who has written about the American Mafia has written something about Brooklyn gang boss Frankie Yale. But most of that material seems based on rumor or conjecture. Factual details about Yale's life and career are sorely lacking. It seemed time to take stock of what we actually know about Yale. After looking through the material I had accumulated on him, I assembled this article for the website (and linked to it from the Articles menu and the Who Was Who menu):

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Additional mob biographies

The launch of a new book (DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime by Mike Tona and myself) and a new website ( has taken considerable time and energy. However, I've managed to have that work contribute to the offerings here on The American Mafia site. A number of biographies have been added to The American Mafia collection. These link to bios created for the Buffalo-oriented site. To date, the list includes:
  • Bonasera, Cassandro (1897-1972) - Brooklyn
  • Cammilleri, John (1911-1974)
  • Carlisi, Rosario "Roy" (1909-1980)
  • Clark, "Jew Minnie" (1887-1959)
  • Crocevera, Isadoro (1873-1920) - New York City and elsewhere
  • Fino, Joseph (1915-1984)
  • Frangiamore, Salvatore (1905-1999)
  • Magaddino, Antonino (1897-1971)
  • Magaddino, Stefano (1891-1974)
  • Montana, John (1893-1964)
  • Natarelli, Pasquale (1910-1993)
  • Pieri, Salvatore "Sam" (1911-1981)
  • Randaccio, Frederico (1907-2004)
  • Sansanese, Daniel Sr. (1908-1975)
  • Tronolone, John "Peanuts" (1910-1991) - Cleveland
Visit the Who Was Who page of the site to access these and other bios. Please note, the active biography links have birth-death years after the names (others aren't online yet). Those with asterisks are the new ones that link to the Buffalo site.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Valachi's story in his own words

We have begun the process of making the autobiographical notes of Joseph Valachi, a manuscript titled, The Real Thing, available online for the free access of those interested in the subject. The manuscript is the foundation of the 1968 Peter Maas book, The Valachi Papers. In it, Valachi recalls his early personal life, his career as a burglar in New York City, his participation in the Castellammarese War, his induction into the American Mafia and a great deal more.

To this point, The Real Thing has been out of reach for most. To our knowledge, it has never been published. The original is held in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Copies can be obtained, but with the document running more than a thousand pages long, obtaining copies can be prohibitively expensive.

Our collection of The Real Thing pages is far from complete. We are hopeful that researchers who have obtained portions of the document will decide to share them.

Our thanks to crime historian Alex Hortis for his assistance in this project.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Bookstore updated

The American Mafia website's bookstore has been redesigned. The online store - an affiliate of - features a selection of books relating to various areas of organized crime history. It contains a number of new releases as well as some underworld history classics. There is also a search function that enables visitors to locate books dealing with their specific interests.

The bookstore can be reached by clicking this link.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Notes reformatted

The Book Notes section of the website has been reformatted. Older links on the page have been repaired. And some distracting widgets have been removed. The page should have a more organized look to it than it previously did.

It has been awhile since book reviews have been added to the page. I have a bunch to add and should begin doing that shortly.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today in History

I've been tinkering a little with the Today in History box on the main entrance of the website. (So, if it starts to screw up, that's the reason.) In case you're wondering, the information in that box is generated by a JavaScript program that checks the current date and finds relevant historic news data and prints it onto the screen. I have reformatted the box to display information in neat columns, and I have added the ability to find and display a photograph related to the historic news items (and a small caption). I hope that makes the Today in History box just a bit more interesting.

Today in History box.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bibliography update

The Bibliography listing on the website has been updated. Reach that page by heading to , positioning your cursor over Sources and clicking on Bibliography in the drop-down menu. The Bibliography is comprised of more than 240 titles related (in some way) to the subject of organized crime history.

The purpose of the list is to acquaint visitors with a selection of reading material. The fact that a book is included in the list should not be interpreted as an endorsement by the website of any particular book or author. As in every field of study, published material crosses the spectrum from the scholarly and skeptical through the blandly factual, the journalistic, the superficial and the sensational, all the way to the irresponsible and the deceitful. Researchers are cautioned to consult reviews on the site and other sites before relying on information in any published work. 

Items marked with an asterisk following their publication date may be of particular interest to historians, as they contain the first-person observations of participants in law enforcement, government or the underworld.