Informer Poses Alternate History of New York Mafia

May issue of Informer, the one journal
you should definitely subscribe to.
This is not an advertisement.... I love this journal, Informer, and if you've never read it or heard of it, it sets the benchmark for serious historical study of the Mafia in America. 

In a note, editor Tom Hunt explains something here about the study of the Mafia that should be remembered.

Informer: May 2014 Issue of Informer: "It would be both foolish and profoundly egotistical for any historian to believe that he or she had penned the “final word” on a subject. History is always being revised and expanded. New sources become available. New perspectives are applied to data. One historian's discoveries spark another's discoveries. That, really, is what makes the field of study exciting and alive.

A historian may be of far greater use for attempting to write the first word on a subject or a completely new interpretation of available data. Such an achievement revitalizes the field, as it sends colleagues scrambling to comprehend its ramifications, to compare the new account to source material, to contest its validity or to accept it as part of a foundation for future research.

To date, revisions of early New York Mafia history have focused generally on enhancing the stories within a traditional framework of accepted history. The technological revolution has aided immeasurably our search for more and better data on the formative era of organized crime in New York, and vast amounts of information have come to light in very recent years.

Some of that newly mined information has been absorbed easily into the traditional narrative. But much of it has not fit and has frustratingly resisted incorporation into the old accounts. Those with confidence in the new data have been forced to conclude that the traditional history is somehow inaccurate and/or incomplete.

This entire issue of Informer is dedicated to presenting a single work — a lengthy article by Richard Warner, Angelo Santino and Lennert Van`t Riet — that attempts to formulate a coherent, new historical theory around all we currently know of the early New York Mafia. Researching, writing and illustrating it has been an enormous project for them. Preparing it for publication and presenting it in this issue has been no small matter for Informer. But we are satisfied that the efforts are all worthwhile.

While documenting how far our knowledge of the early Mafia has progressed, the article challenges us to see things in a new way, to consider the possibilities presented by recent discoveries and to commit ourselves anew to the exciting work of history."

Preview: Informer: Early NY Mafia - an alternative theory: "Much of what has been widely accepted as early New York City Mafia history hinges on a particular interpretation of a small collection of source material. As availability of sources from that early era has improved, additional interpretations have become possible. It now appears that many of the long-accepted 'facts' and the history that has been woven from them may have been flawed. We cannot know what additional revelations the future may hold, so it is unlikely that our analysis of existing materials will be 'the final word' written on this subject. However, it is important to document the additional clues that recently have come to light and to fit a workable interpretation to the new data as a starting point for future research..." 100 pages, including 21 images, 21 maps and tables, and 12 and a half pages of notes."

Informer: New York Mafia - Alternative Theory Charts (May 2014)


  1. This was a great article. Jeez it must have taken quite a long time to research. Can I drop a little spoiler? They conclude that the Gambino family is actually the oldest NYC family rather then the Genovese and Ignazio Lupo was its boss at one point, amongst other things. If that's true I want my money back for 'The First Family' Mike Dash! I advise anyone interested in early NYC mafia history to buy this.


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