Every family has things they don’t talk about: those regrettable beliefs espoused by your great-grandmother, or why your uncles don’t speak to each other anymore. Sometimes these are remnants of the old social order, things that were considered shameful 50 years ago that are perfectly normal today (or the opposite). And sometimes, members of your family just happened to be small-time mobsters. The acclaimed writer Russell Shorto, author of such histories as Amsterdam and The Island at the Center of the World, always knew his grandfather and namesake was involved with the Italian mafia, but Shorto never quite got around to digging up the whole tale until now. He joins us on the podcast to discuss his new memoir, Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob.
Go beyond the episode:
- Russell Shorto’s Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob
- Inspired to look into your own family? Shorto developed an online course called Tell Your Family Story
- Itching for a history of the big-time mafia? Check out Thomas Reppetto’s American Mafia, John Dickie’s Cosa Nostra, or Salvatore Lupo’s History of the Mafia
- And you can’t forget the movies: the British Film Institute ranks the 10 best mafia movies
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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