Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society

Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society

America's Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective Who Brought Them to Justice

eBook - 2018
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The incredible true story of the US Post Office Inspector who took down the deadly Black Hand, a turn-of-the-century Italian-American secret society that preyed on immigrants across America's industrial heartland—featuring fascinating and never-before-seen documents and photos from the Oldfield family's private collection.Before the emergence of prohibition-era gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, there was the Black Hand: an early twentieth-century Sicilian-American crime ring that preyed on immigrants from the old country. In those days, the FBI was in its infancy, and local law enforcement were clueless against the dangers—most refused to believe that organized crime existed. Terrorized victims rarely spoke out, and the criminals ruled with terror—until Inspector Frank Oldfield came along. In 1899, Oldfield became America's 156th Post Office Inspector—joining the ranks of the most powerful federal law enforcement agents in the country. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the unconventional Oldfield brilliantly took down train robbers, murderers, and embezzlers from Ohio to New York to Maryland. Oldfield was finally able to penetrate the dreaded Black Hand when a tip-off put him onto the most epic investigation of his career, culminating in the 1909 capture of sixteen mafiosos in a case that spanned four states, two continents—and ended in the first international organized crime conviction in the country. Hidden away by the Oldfield family for one hundred years and covered-up by rival factions in the early 20th century Post Office Department, this incredible true story out of America's turn-of-the-century heartland will captivate all lovers of history and true crime.
Publisher: 2018.
ISBN: 9781501171222
Branch Call Number: ELECTRONIC RESOURCE
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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tirjan
Dec 27, 2018

In the years between the Civil War and 1900 as many as 2 million Italians emigrated to the US. Most worked in mines and menial jobs but things were better in the US than they were in the Home Country. Italy was only unified as a country in 1861 and Sicily and Southern Italy were pretty much ungoverned by Rome and crime among Sicilians went unchecked. So Sicilian mobsters came to the US to prey on hard-working Italians to extort money from them.
Long before there was an FBI the most effective federal law enforcement entity in the US was the Office of the Postal Inspector. The book tells the story of Inspector Frank Oldfield and his diligent pursuit of the Black Hand Society, a Sicilian mafia organization in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. But the chase goes far beyond that geographical area as the Blackhanders operated a web that stretched to the west coast and east to New York.
Good history of the turn of the century legal system and the way politicians could be bought back then. Makes you wonder just how much is still a part of America.

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mammothhawk229e
Dec 08, 2018

Learned quite a lot in American History from forgotten William Goddard who created Constitutional Post stuck first surveyor general during revolutionary war, Benjamin Franklin first postmaster went nepotism on hiring second-in-command, the Black Hand precursor to Mafia (in this case Society of Banana), & the overeager hate red tape Inspector Oldfield who discovered extortion of Italian Americans via postal letters, his superiors get gaga Black Hand reach was larger (several states) than expected, few Italian-American police officers or the trial set in all places Cleveland.
Book read like cross between Murdoch Mysteries and Law & Order with all the media storm on first official organized crime conviction & judge suspicious unexplained death.

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