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The Good Mothers

The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia


About the Book

As seen in The New Yorker

An unprecedented look inside a deadly and obscenely wealthy branch of the Italian mafia and the electrifying story of the women who risked everything to bring them down.

The Calabrian Mafia—known as the ’Ndrangheta—is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the cocaine and heroin supply in Europe, manages billion-dollar extortion rackets, brokers illegal arms deals—supplying weapons to criminals and terrorists—and plunders the treasuries of both Italy and the European Union.

The ’Ndrangheta’s power derives from a macho mix of violence and silence—omertà. Yet it endures because of family ties: you are born into the syndicate, or you marry in. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother in cold blood before you betray The Family. Accompanying the ’Ndrangheta’s reverence for tradition and history is a violent misogyny among its men. Women are viewed as chattel, bargaining chips for building and maintaining clan alliances and beatings—and worse—are routine.

In 2009, after one abused ’Ndrangheta wife was murdered for turning state’s evidence, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considered a tantalizing possibility: that the ’Ndrangheta’s sexism might be its greatest flaw—and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra persuaded them to testify in return for a new future for themselves and their children.

A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle pitting a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against ruthless mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three women fighting for their children and their lives. Not all will survive.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“The Rift is an immensely readable, shocking and important book. An ambitious and controversial approach to answering some of the thorniest questions about Africa’s contradictions and its epic quest for freedom.”  —Jeanette Zwart, Shelf Awareness

“A sharp-eyed look at contemporary Africa. Mr. Perry’s ability to capture the complexities of stories in which there are no clear heroes nor outright villains echoes again and again. Written with a clear eye after criss-crossing the continent, he offers telling glimpses of an Africa that defies stereotyping.” —The Economist on The Rift

“An epic, rich, endlessly surprising narrative of a fast-changing Africa by one of the few Western journalists to have spent enough time there to understand it. Calls to mind the best African writing of Ryszard Kapuscinski.”  —Douglas Rogers, author of The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe on The Rift

“[A] stunning book about the past, present, and future of Africa.... Candid, smart, and self-aware, this work is an impressive accomplishment that does more to give Western readers context for Africa’s current condition than any book in recent memory.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Rift

“Exploring modern Africa in all of its complexities...Perry’s arguments about the often deleterious effects of outsiders augment some of the scholarly literature by providing a human face to usually well-intentioned but misguided interlopers. A welcome addition to our understanding of Africa.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Rift

“This little gem of a book ... has an important story to tell, and Perry tells it with precision and gusto. As dramatic as anything you will read in fiction.” —The New York Times on The Rift

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062655608
  • ISBN 10: 0062655604
  • Imprint: William Morrow
  • On Sale: 06/05/2018
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price: 34.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: TRUE CRIME / Organized Crime
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / Women
  • BISAC3: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Criminals & Outlaws

The Good Mothers by Alex Perry

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