No, NatGeo: Maranzano Organized the Mafia, Not Lucky Luciano

Lucky adapted the organization
put in place by Maranzano, who
was too greedy even for a boss. 
Adapted from our post New York's Original Five Families:

Back in the 1930s, after doing his part to end the war between Joe "The Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, "Lucky" Luciano Americanized the Five Family set-up put in place by Maranzano; it is from Maranzano that we got the boss - underboss - consiglieri - capo - soldier pyramid structure, which self-described historian Maranzano based on the way the Roman Legionnaires had been organized.

The problem was that Maranzano had added an additional position, for himself: Boss of Bosses. It was his doom. Lucky did away with that title after doing away with Maranzano. It was agreed no one man would ever hold that title, though over the years, some bosses seemed to fit the bill on an informal basis nevertheless. I'd say Carlo Gambino was definitely one of them.

Comments

  1. Allow me to ask this question......If Maranzano set up the boss underboss capo structure, what was the previous structure like?

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    Replies
    1. Think of pre-Maranzano as similar to the way N'drangheta is today in Calabria, made up of small groups with a leader. Maranzano structured a chain of command within crews based on Roman Legions. He and Lucky added more structure to what were gangs usually based on loyalty to those from the same areas or towns in Sicily. Maranzano also hated dealing with anyone who wasn't Sicilian, including those from Campagna (Naples), Calabria, and especially Jews and Irish.

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    2. Sonny from what I have read in John Dickie's book "Mafia Republic" it seems that the N'Drangheta has a more complex structure then even the Sicilian Mafia, with many more ranks and rituals then the sicilians. If you go by what John Dickie believes the pre-Maranzano LCN is absolutely nothing akin to the N'dranheta of today. Or maybe John Dickie is full of shit.???

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    3. Keep in mind that neither Dickie nor I are members of N'drangheta. We learn only what is told to us. I know from experience here that some of what is written or shown are TV, like the NatGeo show about the USA, more specifically New York, are either wrong, missing important elements, or don't really understand why things happen (which makes me happy). From what I've been told is that the Calabrians have maintained a large amount of smaller groups based on real family relationships that align themselves to form larger alliances. Pre-Maranzano were gangs. Castellammarese gangs fought wars with Cammorristas as well as Sicilian gangs from other cities. If not for Prohibition, those gangs would have evaporated just as the Jewish and Irish gangs did. Dickie could be right, but, again, since neither of us participated in N'drangheta, we only know what we are told.

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  2. Finally saw the show(s) on NatGeo. For me, personally, it was like watching paint dry. Forget the errors; forget that they know what happened, but in some instances don't know why. There is only one way to judge this series: What did they present that is new?

    www.SonnysMobCafe.com

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  3. I have been an avid reader of this site because there are very few sites that talk about organized crime the way it should be discussed. I have been so confused why all of the the comments have not brought up the point that Nat Geo said Donnie Brasco was a soldier in the Colombo Family. In the very next episode they highlight the Bonnanos and Donnie Brasco
    I consider myself very knowledgeable about every aspect of american and Canadian organized crime having at least 50 books and every show possible under my belt. Ed, I implore you to post something in regards to this mistake Also if you would like me to suggest any new subjects to talk about I would love to have personal contact. Jerry never replys to my comments. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the story about Phillip Lucky !!

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    Replies
    1. I will - yes - but been very busy at work. I will say mass media on these mob tv shows calls anyone associated with the mob "soldiers" -- even an Irish dude on a show about the Philly war.... Guess soldier sounds more intriguing than associate for example.

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    2. Thanks, anon July 29 -- shoot me an email I'd love to chat with you regarding stories etc. Email address in "about " section ...

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  4. I could be wrong, but I don't recall them saying Pistone was a soldier anywhere. He made his first inroad with Colombo guys from Bay Ridge, but wound up getting a beating from them. He moved on to another neighborhood where he got drawn in with Bonannos. He was supposedly proposed by Sonny Black, but ended the operation at that time.

    www.SonnysMobCafe.com

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  5. I believe that Cosa Nostra has always had pretty much the same structure as today. Maranzano didnt add anything new besides the capo di tutti capi, which lasted mere months.

    If Maranzano set up this structure in America when was it adopted by the mafiosi in sicily?

    Joe Bonanno & Tomasso Buscetta both said the only 2 things the sicilians have taken from the americans is the idea of a "commission" and the name "cosa nostra". Are these guys wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Joe Bonanno is the one who gave us the above anecdote about the role Maranzano played in setting up the structure. This has also been written about by Selwyn Raab, John Davis, Joe Valachi/Peter Maas, and others. There is disagreement regarding where the meeting took place at which Maranzano unveiled his "plan." Raab wrote the meeting was in Whappinger Falls, others say in New York. Hundreds of men attended from all around the country. I don't know what else to tell you. Where do you get your mob history from? Whom have you read? Whom do you believe?

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    2. According to all accounts, Luciano formed the Commission to put an end to the bloodshed between crews that was interfering with making money. The term Cosa Nostra, with capital letters is total bullshit that was put forth by a semi-illiterate Joe Valachi and adopted by the world. As a very young man the "organization" was whispered in Italian as cosa nostra, in small letters to mean "this thing of ours that has no name." In fact, in those days wiseguys were called "dunskies." The moron, Valachi, thought cosa nostra was a name. When he said it on TV the world accepted it. Bonanno's writing about getting it from America is true, from Valachi. Even John Gotti said, "This will be a Cosa Nostra..." which translates as "This will be a thing of ours with no name," and makes no sense. All this from a guy, me, who has trouble remembering what he had for breakfast, but remembers all the subtleties of growing up. Can Alzheimers be far behind?

      www.SonnysMobCafe.com

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    3. My comment was referring to the above post about Maranzano's role...

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  6. MARANZANO ORGANISED THE FAMILIES AND INTO THE STRUCTURE THEY R IN TODAY , LUCIANO ADDED THE POSITION OF CONSIGLIERE AND FORMED THE COMMISSION

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