In This Review

Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America
Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America
By Robert I. Friedman
Little, 2000, 296 pp.

Friedman's book, which reads like a series of vignettes from The Godfather, describes a vast octopus of organized Russian crime fanning out from Brighton Beach and managed by bosses more savage than any in the Italian mafia. He names names, describes in detail the criminal empires, and graphically recounts their extraordinary violence against each other and anyone who gets in their way.

Ruled by some of the most ruthless figures from the Soviet and Russian underworld who transferred to North America, the "red mafiya," Friedman maintains, has long transcended normal scams, drugs, and weapons trafficking to infiltrate U.S. financial markets, the Canadian stock exchange, even the National Hockey League. The detail is stunning and the allegations staggering -- although the most sensational among them are only rumors originating with his FBI contacts.