The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia


by Rick Porrello

March 2010 | $16.95 | Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-56980-277-9

First published in September 2004, one of Barricade’s best-selling true crime titles is coming back in print in paperback to coincide with the film release of “To Kill The Irishman” due in theaters in March 2011. With a new Introduction by the author, The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia is the fascinating chronicle of a once mighty crime family's birth, rise to power, and eventual collapse. The Cleveland crime family was third in power after New York City and Chicago, had influence with mega-mobsters like Meyer Lansky, and had a hand in the development of Las Vegas. Cleveland was also the site of the first known national meeting of the Sicilian-American Mafia that was hosted in 1928 by the author's grandfather and uncles—the notorious Porrello brothers.

Although Danny Greene, "The Irishman," and La Cosa Nostra on the North Coast fall prey to this crime family, the central figure to The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia is Angelo “Big Ange” Lonardo. "Big Ange" boldly avenged his father’s death in 1929, and then rose through the ranks to become acting boss of the Cleveland crime family. He would serve two years of a life sentence before shocking family, friends, fellow mobsters, and the law enforcement community by cutting a deal with the Feds. He betrayed Omertà—the Sicilian code of silence—and his testimony helped put away mob bosses in New York City and across the country, and he provided a valuable and detailed education into the criminal society known as the Mafia.

Rick Porrello

Rick Porrello is chief of a suburban Cleveland police department. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia while researching the murders of his grandfather and three uncles—all Mafia leaders. Porrello is author of To Kill the Irishman, now a feature film starring Ray Stevenson, Val Kilmer, and Christopher Walken. Porrello is an accomplished jazz musician who traveled worldwide with the late Sammy Davis Jr., and he is host of the venerable organized crime history site: AmericanMafia.com.