Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories
Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories

Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories

Khalid Elhassan - September 7, 2022

Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the predecessor of today’s DEA, shovel seized illegal drugs into a furnace. Old Salt Books

2. The Mafia Were Drug Dealers From the Start

Don Corleone was created by Mario Puzo, The Godfather’s author, as a composite character based on several real life mob bosses. The fictional Don Corleone’s raspy and quiet voice is like that of the real life Frank Costello’s, the onetime boss of the Luciano – now the Genovese – crime family. Don Corleone had all the judges and politicians in his pocket. The real life Frank Costello, nicknamed the “Prime Minister of the Underworld” because of his political clout, effectively dominated Tammany Hall in the mid-twentieth century. Don Corleone used his olive importation business as cover for his criminal activities. That is based on the real life Joe Profaci, founder and longtime boss of the Colombo crime family, who also posed as an olive oil importer.

Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories
Joseph Bonanno. Time Note

The “honorable” traits ascribed to Don Corleone are based on the real life Joseph Bonanno, a pretentious and quite dishonorable head of the Bonanno crime family. Bonanno, who wrote a self-serving memoir after his forced retirement, referred to mafia bosses of his generations as “Fathers” who headed “honorable societies”. He claimed that he and the mob avoided drugs for the reasons listed in The Godfather – moral revulsion, and avoidance of the heat drugs draw. As Bonanno put it: “My tradition outlaws narcotics. It has always been that ‘men of honor’ don’t deal in narcotics“. That is quite inaccurate. In reality, mobsters of all levels, including Bonanno, were involved in illegal drugs since the birth of the mob.

Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories
Sicilian Mafiosi. Pinterest

1. The Mafia Were NOT Champions of the Weak, Downtrodden, and Exploited

The mafia were never champions of the weak who stuck it to the rich and powerful. Instead, Mafiosi were often hired as muscle by rich Sicilian landowners and magnates to intimidate or kill peasants who objected to their exploitation and de facto serfdom. When they made it to America, the mafia kept up their routine of goons for hire by the rich to keep downtrodden workers in their place. Mafiosi were routinely used as strikebreakers and to intimidate or kill union organizers, and cow working stiffs who sought better conditions or higher wages from their employers.

Lies that Have Completely Taken Over these Historical Stories
The Godfather. Amazon

Mafiosi, in short, were not some modern equivalents of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, who stole from the rich to give to the poor – or at least stole from the rich, rather than the poor. Instead, they were closer to the Sheriff of Nottingham’s thugs. They helped further oppress the already oppressed, exploit the already exploited, and rob the already impoverished. The mob’s money making schemes and rackets seldom targeted the rich and powerful. Instead, Mafiosi enriched themselves at the expense of the weak and poor.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Annals of Crime – The Real Father of Organized Crime in America

Artsy – This Iconic American History Painting Gets the Facts Wrong

Bassinger, Jeanine – The Star Machine (2007)

Behr, Edward – Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America (1996)

Burrough, Bryan; Tomlinson, Chris; Stanford, Jason – Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth (2021)

Business Insider, November 7th, 2016 – The Average American Worker Takes Less Vacation Time Than a Medieval Peasant

Bussanich, John, and Smith, Nicholas D. – The Bloomsbury Companion to Socrates: The Politics of Impiety – Why Was Socrates Prosecuted by the Athenian Democracy? (2013)

Buzzfeed – 16 Strange and Surprising Facts About Medieval England

Capeci, Jerry – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia (2005)

Chernow, Ron – Washington: A Life (2011)

Daily Beast – For 50 Years ‘The Godfather’ Has Sold Us a Beautiful Lie

Encyclopedia Britannica – Montezuma II

Encyclopedia Britannica – Socrates

Encyclopedia Britannica – Thirty Tyrants

Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia – Trenton and Princeton Campaign (Washington’s Crossing)

Film Reference – Star System

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe, Volumes 1 – 7: From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great (1990)

Groves, Leslie R. – Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project (1983)

History Collection – The Events That Led to the Last Battle of the American Revolution

History Network – St. Patrick’s Day Legends and Myths Debunked

History Today – Americans Actually Work Way Harder Than Medieval Peasants

Ireland Calling – St Patrick Myths and Legends

JSTOR – The Mexica Didn’t Believe the Conquistadors Were Gods

Krentz, Peter – The Thirty Tyrants at Athens (1982)

MIT Project on Mathematics and Computation – Pre Industrial Workers Had a Shorter Workweek Than Today’s

Morrison, Donald R. – The Cambridge Companion to Socrates: Socrates and Democratic Athens (2010)

North American Review, Vol. 137, No. 323 (Oct. 1883) – The Saint Patrick Myth

Raab, Selwyn – Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires (2005)

Ranker – The Real Life Bonnie Prince Charlie Was Far More Vile and Disgusting Than ‘Outlander’ Portrays Him

Rhodes, Richard – The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986)

Royle, Trevor – Culloden: Scotland’s Last Battle and the Forging of the British Empire (2016)

Time Magazine, June 9th, 2021 – We’ve Been Telling the Alamo Story Wrong for Nearly 200 Years

Vintage News – Modern American Works Longer Hours With Less Vacation Than Medieval Peasant

Washington Post, June 10th, 2021 – The Myth of Alamo Gets History All Wrong: Instead of a Heroic Stance for Freedom, Texans Fought to be Able to Enslave People

Waterfield, Robin – Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths (2009)

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