Investigating the Mafia by Carla Mooney

April 2nd, 2012 by Brian Leave a reply »

I’m always on the search for engaging nonfiction for my students and I just finished reading Investigating the Mafia by Carla Mooney.

What I appreciate about the book is that it does not glorify the Mafia. This is not The Sopranos or The Godfather. Mooney describes the history of the Mafia and what they’ve done, but more of the focus is on how the FBI and prosecutors work to stop organized crime.

There are lots of photos and inserts, which I appreciate in a nonfiction book like this. Even better, the photos are interesting without being gruesome. It’s enough to help the pacing of the text.

The reading level is spot-on for junior high students and the organization of the text makes it easy to progress from one thought to the next.

The thing that really surprised me about the book was that, even into the 1960’s, members of the U.S. government denied the existence of organized crime families. In the 1980’s, the use of RICO laws helped expose the Commission and the five families of New York.

For students using this for independent reading projects, I would connect this to fiction like Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman or Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan.


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