Alan A. Block
In his room, Latimer sat down by the window and gazed out across the black river to the lights which it reflected and the faint glow in the sky beyond the Louvre. His mind was haunted by the past, by the confession of Dhris, the Negro, and by the memories of Irana Preveza, by the tragedy of Bulic and by a tale of white crystals travelling west to Paris, bringing money to the fig-picker of Izmir. Three human beings had died horribly that Dimitrious might take his ease. If there were such a thing as Evil, then this man….
But it was useless to try to explain him in terms of Good and Evil. They were no more than baroque abstractions. Good Business and Bad Business were the elements of the new theology.
—Eric Ambler, A Coffin for Dimitrious
Up until quite recently the majority of American criminological studies of organized crime was fixated on defining the phenomenon without considering it as phenomena. 1 For decades mainstream organized crime research took its cue from government needs and perceptions, concentrating on Italian American criminals to the exclusion of other organized criminals. The prevailing paradigm was that they were organized crime, others were affiliates or associates of organized crime, or indeed something else. They were the mob or the “outfit” or the mafia or La Cosa Nostra. They controlled the most important illicit activities as well as non-Italian American criminals of significance. And to some extent, in the decades following WW II, that was true, and particularly in those American cities with a large Italian American population. The mob or La Cosa Nostra was deeply embedded in the politics of certain American cities and some states, and in trade unions such as the Teamsters, the East Coast longshoremen, and the building trades. 2 With access to union pension funds, mobsters and their friends in law, accounting, and politics had a field day in private real estate development.