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Author Event: Mathew Black

February 7 @ 1:21 am

La Jolla by the Sea
  • Free open seating is first-come, first-served, subject to available space.
  • Guaranteed Preferred Seat holders will receive a copy of Matthew Black’s book when they check-in. Guaranteed seating is unnumbered and first-come, first-served.
  • Please call Warwick’s Book Department at 858-454-0347 for more information.

On Tuesday, January 10th at 7:00 pm Warwick’s, in partnership with Coronado Public Library, will host Matthew Black as he discusses and signs his new book, Operation Underworld: How the Mafia and U.S. Government Teamed Up to Win World War IIMatthew Black is a labor and crime historian who was recruited by James P. Hoffa’s office in 2016 to author Dave Beck – A Teamsters Life. Black has also worked as a staff writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written articles for Alaska Airlines magazine. He has published dozens of articles on, where he has individually brought some 42 million readers to his work. Born and raised in Seattle, he is a graduate of the University of Washington with an honors degree in history. While he travels the country and the world at a feverish pace in search of stories, he calls San Diego home, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

In 1942, a rational fear was mounting that New York Harbor was vulnerable to sabotage. If the waterfront was infested with German and Italian agents then the U.S. Navy needed a recourse just as insidious to secure it.

Naval intelligence officer, Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden had the solution: recruit as his own spies, members of La Cosa Nostra. Pier to pier, no one terrified the longshoremen, stevedores, shopkeepers, and boat captains along the harbor better than the Mafia gangs of New York, who controlled the docks in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Haffenden was prepared to make a deal with the devil–the man who put “organized” into organized crime. Even from his cell in Dannemora State Prison, former Public Enemy #1, Charles “Lucky” Luciano still had tremendous power. Luciano was willing to wield it for Haffenden. But he wanted something in return—Luciano’s contacts in Italy to track the Nazis’ movements.

Operation Underworld is a tale of espionage and crime like no other, the unbelievable, first-ever account of the Allied war effort’s clandestine coalition between the Mafia and the U.S. Government to protect New York, vanquish the Nazis by taking the fight to the enemy in the 1943 U.S. invasion of Sicily. It was an ingenious strategy carried out by some of history’s most infamous, improbable, and unsung heroes on both sides of the law. It was a Faustian bargain that brought homefront enemies together but, as journalist and crime historian Matthew Black reveals, one that ultimately succeeded in helping the Allies win World War II.


February 7, 2023
1:21 am