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Senior Lecturer explores crime in the early 1900's in new book

November 5, 2015

James Buccellato is a senior lecturer of political science in the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. His new book, Early Organized Crime in Detroit: Vice, Corruption and the Rise of the Mafia, will be released on The History Press on Nov.30. The book explores Detroit’s struggle with gang violence, public corruption and the politics of vice during the tumultuous first half of the 20th century and includes rarely published images from the era.

From the back cover: Though detectives denied it, the Italian mafia was operating in Detroit as early as 1900, and the city was forever changed. Bootleggers controlled the Detroit River and created a national distribution network for illegal booze during Prohibition. Gangsters, cops and even celebrities fell victim to the violence. Some politicians and prominent businessmen like Henry Ford’s right-hand man, Harry Bennett, collaborated closely with the mafia, while others, such as popular radio host Gerald Buckley, fought back and lost their lives.

Buccellato researches and writes about the politics of crime. His work appears in peer-reviewed journals, crime anthologies and national news websites. A lifelong Detroiter, he teaches courses about the city and has been fascinated about his family history in Sicily and the United States since he was a child.

The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. 

Upcoming book signings:

Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Pages Bookshop on Grand River Ave. in Detroit

Saturday, Dec. 5 at Detroit Mercantile in Eastern Market

Visit James’s website at jbuccellato.com for more about his research and publications.