The incredible true story of the U.S. 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.
[Inspector Oldfield's] amazing story...is expertly told ... the book is a quick read that vividly lays out how the gangsters’ scheme worked, how Inspector Oldfield battled against his own superiors to convince them the case was worth pursuing, and how something as simple as the postal service could be used to undertake a vast criminal conspiracy ... for anyone with an interest in Mafia lore, the history of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (which had surprisingly broad power in the early 1900s) or a taste for true-crime history that reaches into western Pennsylvania, Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society is the perfect read.
Part suspenseful true-crime tale and part quirky family history ... fascinating ... It’s filled with colorful characters ... It neatly balances the old family stories with a solid historical perspective on the time and place. The combination makes for an intriguing look at a forgotten piece of Ohio’s history.
In precise, fascinating and occasionally credulity-straining detail, the authors recount how Oldfield’s multiagency investigation ultimately arrested 14 members of the Black Hand in six cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania ... Mr. Oldfield and Ms. Bruce have a weakness for narrative-slowing digressions ('The origins and importance of the United States Post Office date back to the American Revolution') and a tendency to describe century-old events with modern clichés about 'game-changing' decisions, getting 'lawyered up' and 'passive-aggressive' workplace behavior. But this book is most valuable as a great-grandson’s account of a historically significant relative whom he knew only from family legend...[.]