Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses

By Allan R. May | Go to book overview

5
CARLO GAMBINO

AKA “DON CARLO”
AUGUST 24, 1902–OCTOBER 15, 1976

Carlo Gambino was the last Mafia Don who could truly be called “Boss of Bosses.” Gambino was the master of intrigue. Smart and devious, he proved time and again to be the master of the double-cross as he schemed his was to the top of the New York City underworld. In doing so, he banked on his ability to keep a low profile, stay out of the lime light, and avoid public scrutiny at all times. When all else failed and the authorities attempted to put him on public display, he resorted to a tactic that served him well during the last 20 years of his life. Gambino and his lawyers used his heart ailment to continuously thwart the government’s effort to question him before a grand jury and to deport him. Although many believed he faked the ailment, two things are for certain: There was absolutely no doubt that a serious heart condition existed, and Gambino embellished that condition to his own advantage.

Gambino reached the pinnacle of organized crime not by simply eliminating his enemies, but by using his manipulative powers to promote people he trusted and who would become beholden to him into positions of power atop the other New York City crime families.

Don Carlo’s devotion to family was so deep that he married his own cousin. In the end, however, his decision to name Paul Castellano, his cousin and brother-in-law, as his successor would result in a bloody coup d’état and the destruction of the crime family that bears his name.


EARLY YEARS

Little is known of Carlo Gambino’s early life. In fact, the first 55 years of his existence seemed to have passed with little notice. Many of the underworld figures who got their start during the Prohibition Era made a name for themselves during this lawless period, but it would not be until the late 1950s that the Gambino name would come to be recognized.

-155-

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Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Timeline xv
  • 1 - Joe Adonis (Giuseppe Antonio Doto) 1
  • 2 - Albert Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) 37
  • 3 - Louis Buchalter 73
  • 4 - Frank Costello (Francesco Castiglia) 117
  • 5 - Carlo Gambino 155
  • 6 - Vito Genovese 183
  • 7 - Lucky Luciano (Salvatore Lucania) 213
  • 8 - Arnold Rothstein 253
  • 9 - Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer) 281
  • 10 - Abner Zwillman 309
  • Biographies of Other Prominent Figures Mentioned in the Text 331
  • Appendix 363
  • Bibliography 405
  • Index 407
  • About the Author 427
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