The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia

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The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia
By Alex Perry
William Morrow, 2018
352 pp.
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Perry tells the tale of three women who turned on the ’Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia. Despite persistent efforts by the police to incriminate Mafia leaders using high-tech surveillance, organized crime remains powerful in southern Italy, accounting for almost four percent of the Italian economy. Few will testify against the ’Ndrangheta because the costs of informing are so high. Two of the three female informants ended up dead, despite powerful witness protection programs. One was lured to a rendezvous by her former husband, ostensibly to discuss their daughter’s college plans, then kidnapped and tortured to death by his two brothers. The second collaborator was eventually coaxed back to see her children and died after drinking hydrochloric acid. (The family claimed she had committed suicide.) The third recanted under family pressure, then agreed to testify after all, resulting in long jail sentences for 34 members of her family and their associates, including her father. Alessandra Cerreti, the enterprising prosecutor who developed the strategy of turning women against their criminal clans, now lives under around-the-clock police guard and travels only by armored car. By necessity, she and her husband have no children.

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