Foreward by Scott M. Burnstein to a new book by Dr. James Buccellato: Early Organized Crime In Detroit – Vice, Corruption & The Rise Of The Mafia In Michigan

This is an important book by an important author. The early days of the Detroit underworld were groundbreaking and sent ripple effects throughout the entire United States of America. Some of them are still felt today. Dr. James Buccellato is a seminal researcher in this field and the main authority on the subject in Michigan. The fresh insights he provides in this project and the extensive detail he goes into to flesh out the fascinating roots of mob activity in the Great Lakes region only builds on the already-rich tapestry that surrounds it and cements his first book effort as a smashing success and key teaching tool for the future.

James and I are kindred spirits. And I’m proud to call him a friend and colleague. We met at one of my book signings several years ago and immediately hit it off. I knew I had found an instant “partner in crime.” Our collaborations are some of the highlights of my career. I consider the chapter we co-wrote in my third book (Detroit True Crime Chronicles) delving into international drug-smuggling in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s a crowning achievement in my personal publishing endeavors.

The Motor City in the first part of the 20th Century was as influential nationwide in criminality than it was for birthing the automotive industry. During Prohibition, Detroit became the epicenter of bootlegging activity in America due to the area’s close proximity to Canada. Immediately after Prohibition, the Detroit underworld transformed itself into ground zero for the North American narcotics industry and mob-infiltration of organized labor. This led to watershed gangland innovation in and throughout Southeast Michigan and lending to its’ well-earned reputation as unique mafia and street gang terrain. So unique in fact, specifically in terms of bloodlines, that many of the same names of the men that ran the mob in Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s, were or are still in charge of the rackets well into the New Millennium. The names Tocco, Corrado, Palazzolo, Bommarito, D’Anna, Meli, Mirabile remain prominent in Detroit mafia circles in 2015, just as they were almost 100 years ago.

Local crime lords reached tremendous heights of power and the allegiances and rivalries they forged were complex. With his exceptional authorship and research, Buccellato places them in proper context while shedding new light on them and providing stellar, pinpoint analysis of the whys, whos whats and wheres. If you are someone who appreciates the study of history, politics, the mob, the labor movement or sociology this is a must-read.


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