Essay on Luciano

This essay has a total of 1697 words and 8 pages.


No other New York gangster in the twentieth century matched the capabilities of the
sinister, crafty, powerful, and secretive Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Who with the help of
his closest friends and allies, even enemies, established the National Crime Syndicate in
the early 1930s, which still remains today (Nash 251). Lucky Luciano, the "true" American
gangster, rewrote the rules of the Italian Mafia, under control of old-line Sicilian rule,
and created an organization open to all ethnic backgrounds (Dewey). He worked his way from
being a struggling messenger for a small gang, to eventually becoming the "Capo di Tutti
Capi"(the Boss of All Bosses), the highest ranking in the Mafia (Dewey). During his reign,
Charles Luciano decided that in order to make the most money possible, he needed to
combine all of the crime "families" in the United States. He established this
organization, la Cosa Nostra, and appointed a board of directors, including the legendary
Al "Scar-face" Capone, with himself as the Chief Executive Officer. Luciano's presence
demanded respect from everyone and aided in the creation of the American Mafia, a
malignant but far-reaching underworld force that, to this day, continues to flourish (Nash

Born to the name Salvatore Luciana on November 24, 1897 in Lercardia Friddi, Sicily, the
third child in the Luciana family, little Charles had a penchant for hanging around older
kids that contributed to his mischievous behavior. The Lucianas set out for a better life
in the great land of America in 1906, where they soon found it to be not so great. He
logged his first arrest just a few months after his arrival for shoplifting in 1907, and
started his first racket during that same year. For a penny or two a day, he offered
younger and smaller Jewish children his personal protection against beatings on the way to
school; if they didn't pay, he beat them up. One runty boy, Meyer Lansky, refused to pay,
so he and Luciano fought. It amazed Luciano how hard Lansky fought back, and they became
best of friends from that day forward (Nichols). Luciano's genius sense for the business
world began to take shape at an early age. Arrested numerous times until the age of 18,
Luciano struggled to stay alive by selling narcotics for the notorious Five Points Gang.
Charles Luciana soon changed his name to Charles Luciano to protect his family from any
embarrassment or shame caused by publicity. When Luciano went to jail for dealing heroin
for them, the police set up an offer for him if he identified the members of the dope
ring. However, Luciano kept the

code of omerta (silence) and served his jail time (Kohn). Proving his loyalty, the Five
Points Gang made him a full-fledged member.

Luciano, a quick witted and pleasurable personality, liked the highlife. He lived by one
simple fact; "Money is everything" and he went through anything in order to get that money
(Mobsters). Luciano believed in his friends, and later took a face-altering knife wound in
the face, that left him with an evil droop in his right eye. This was the aftermath of the
"ride", where he was bound, beat up, and left to die, only because he refused to do
business with people that refused business with non-Italians. His best friend and business
partner, Meyer Lansky, happened to be Jewish. Lansky later helped Luciano win the
Castellammarese War by giving him this advise, which Luciano would forever live by: "The
winner will be the one who gets his enemy to trust him" (Mobsters).

The strengths of Luciano stood out above everything else, loyalty being just one of them.
Luciano showed great compassion towards his friends, and always seemed to be one step
ahead of everyone else. He possessed the ability to be able to see around the next corner.
This helped him tremendously during the Castellammarese War; a war between the two
Sicilian bosses of New York, Joe "The Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, that broke
out just as the Great Depression hit the United States. By this time, Luciano worked under
Joe "The Boss" as his number-two man, the heir to the throne if anything happened to
Masseria. As the war went on, Luciano knew that killing Masseria was the only way for him
to emerge on top. Using this, Luciano went to Maranzano, his enemy and offered a trade;
the death of Masseria and the win of the war for Maranzano, for making Luciano his
number-two man (Nash, 252). Maranzano agreed but, as Luciano thought, marked Luciano for
death after he eliminated his own crime boss. Luciano's hit men sent out for Joe "The
Boss" while Luciano took a bathroom break during lunch between the two, for an unwritten
rule states that a Sicilian cannot kill another Sicilian to become a Don, or boss. They
were successful and as soon as Maranzano heard word, he sent out a contract for Luciano's
death. Using his ability to see around the corners, Luciano caught wind of this and acted
first, killing Maranzano and becoming the Boss of All Bosses (Nash 252).

Luciano's mind and way of thought, allowed him to excel at anything he sought out. "He
would have been chairman of the board of General Motors is he'd gone into legitimate
business." said a FBI agent with a grudging admiration (Nichols). However, Luciano went
into a business where the real money was. By 1927, Luciano's income exceeded $1 million a
year, and after the Castellammarese War and becoming the Boss of All Bosses, it exceeded
one hundred times that amount. Unlike Al Capone (who later went to prison for income tax
evasion), Luciano was careful to file tax returns each year for his stated profession as a
gambler. His income never varied from year to year, claiming that he made $22,500 on
wagers each year and paid taxes on this amount.

The average American in the 1930's went though some tough times. The Depression left
numerous people homeless and without jobs. Luciano and other Mafioso took advantage of the
nation in need. Luciano knew that people were the same regardless of social status, when
it came to gambling, drinking and prostitution, the more the merrier. This insight enabled
Luciano to reap enormous profits from these vices for him and others in the syndicate.
Luciano's forte became prostitution, and he mastered the art of pimping. "But like a drug
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