The Mafia in the Mind of America: Attraction and Repulsion of a Media Image

George De Stefano, Independent Scholar

As evidenced in countless novels, films, and television portrayals, the mafia has maintained an enduring hold on the American cultural imagination, even as it continues to wrongly color our perception of real-life Italian Americans.  George De Stefano, reading from his new book An Offer We Can’t Refuse: The Mafia In The Mind of America (Faber and Faber), explores how these representations illuminate the allure of mafia stories, while discussing the rich cultural details contained in the works.  He also addresses the lamentable extent to which the “goodfella” cliché makes it all but impossible to produce media projects about the Italian American experience not set in gangland.