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The Sacco Gang is an easy to read dramatisation of a true story about a family in Sicily during the rise of fascism. Andrea Camilleri is better known as the author of the Montalbano series of crime novels. With The Sacco Gang Camilleri takes the original source material about the Sacco family and then filled in the spaces to provide clarity to the narrative.
The Sacco’s were a family on the rise in Sicily. They got their advantage through a mix hard work and good luck. They realised when it was luck rather than convincing themselves that it was their won skill. The Sacco’s managed to move above the hand-to-mouth existence of indentured farm labourers; a common existence in pre-war Sicily. Sicilian society was essentially feudal in nature, grinding poverty and injustice gave rise to the mafia and allowed it to turn into something malignant.
The family’s deeply ingrained sense of natural justice meant that they were not going to give into the mafia’s attempt to ‘tax’ the family back into poverty. Their socialist leanings meant that the family also became targets for the fascist government, even as they crushed the Sicilian mafia.
Camilleri wraps this all up in a small very easy-to-read novelette. More book reviews here.