Original Gangsters Podcast

The Original Gangsters Podcast features Detroit-based authors and crime historians Dr. James Buccellato and Scott Burnstein interviewing former organized crime associates, members of law enforcement, authors and journalists.

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Local best seller: Early Organized Crime in Detroit

Follow the book on Facebook for updates.

5-star review from fellow crime writer Daniel Waugh, author of  Gangs of St. Louis: “This book is an outstanding and long overdue look at the rich and often graphically violent early history of Detroit’s Mafia family. A direct descendant of some of the protagonists, Buccellato’s impeccable research and writing skills elevate this work to the upper-echelon of American true crime literature.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, but suffice it to say that Dr. Buccellato’s work fills a crucial gap in American Mafia history. A must read? Most definitely!”

The book is available at Detroit area book sellers and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

James’s recent book events: 

  • Grosse Pointe Historical Society (Grosse Pointe, MI)
  • Hamburg Library (Hamburg Twp., MI)
  • Royal Oak Public Library (Royal Oak, MI)
  • IRS Criminal Investigation Centennial Celebration at the Theodore Levin Court House (Detroit, MI)
  • Northville Historical Society (Northville, MI)
  • Clinton-Macomb Main Library (Clinton Twp., MI)
  • Books-a-Million (Southfield, MI)
  • Detroit Book Club (Ferndale Public Library)
  • Barnes and Noble (Shelby Twp, MI)
  • Detroit Public Library (Parkman Branch)
  • Liberty Comics (Roseville, MI)
  • South Lyon Public Library (South Lyon, MI)
  • Pages Bookshop (Detroit, MI)
  • Detroit Mercantile (Eastern Market)


“Obscene Remainders: Neoliberalism and the Gang Crisis Narrative,” in The Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology 

“Sign of the Outlaw: Liberal Boundaries, Social Banditry and the Political Act,” in New Political Science

James A. Buccellato, Editor Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice: A Reader

Organized Crime In Detroit: Forgotten But Not Gone CBS Detroit

Gangs Of Detroit: Examining Youth Violence CBS Detroit

“Detroit is Experiencing an Epidemic of Gang Violence” Current Controversies: Gangs

“The Detroit Drug Pipeline” in The Detroit True Crime Chronicles 

Media Appearances

Watch James Buccellato on the History Channel episode ‘History’s Greatest Mysteries: Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa’

Watch James Buccellato on the Travel Channel episode ‘Gone Missing: The disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa’ American Mystery: Gone Missing

James Buccellato is quoted in The True History Behind Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ in Smithsonian Magazine.

James Buccellato was consulted as an organized crime expert for the 2019 film The Traitor (Sony Pictures)

Watch James Buccellato on Reelz episode Gangsters: America’s Most Evil – Chester Campbell “King of the Contract Killers”

Watch James Buccellato on Reelz episode Gangsters: America’s Most Evil – “Young Boys Incorporated”

“Detroit with Big Sean, Danny Brown” Documentary Watch James Buccellato’s appearance on VICELAND television. The episode examines the relationship between street violence and the urban music scene in Detroit.

Read the Oakland Press interview “Familial curiosity led to professor’s Detroit mob history”

Listen to James Buccellato’s recent interview with CBS Detroit about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Listen to Stephen Henderson’s interview with James Buccellato on WDET Detroit.

Read the Macomb Daily interview “Author to bring story of Detroit mafia history to Ferndale”

Listen to James Buccellato discuss Early Organized Crime in Detroit with Detroit’s own Slack Jaw Punks.

Read James Buccellato quoted in Why Can’t We Find Jimmy Hoffa’s Body?


See James Buccellato’s research cited in the following texts:

  • The Myth of the ‘Crime Decline’: Exploring Change and Continuity in Crime and Harm by Justin Kotzé (2019: Routledge)
  • “Some people have a ghost town, we have a ghost city”: Gothic, the Other, and the American Nightmare in Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters” by Carys Crossen in Otherness: Essays and Studies (2019)
  • “The Commodification of Abstinence” by Justin Kotzé in Crime, Harm and Consumerism (2019: Taylor & Francis)
  • The Elusive Purple Gang: Detroit’s Kosher Nostra by Gregory A. Fournier (2019: Wheatmark Inc.)
  • Vinnitta: The Birth of the Detroit Mafia by Daniel Waugh (2018: Lulu)
  • Gangs and Organized Crime bGeorge W. Knox et al. (2018: Routledge)
  • A rejoinder to John Lea’s review of Revitalizing Criminological Theory by Steve Hall (2018)
  • The Grapevine of the Black South: The Scott Newspaper Syndicate in the Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement by Thomas Aiello (2018: University of Georgia Press)
  • Minds, objects, and persons – narratives of perpetrators of violent crime by Angelo Ridge Dias (2017: University of Witwatersrand)
  • Unwilling Executioner: Crime Fiction and the State by Andrew Pepper (2017: Oxford University Press)
  • Anarchism and Art: Democracy in the Cracks and on the Margins by Mark Mattern (2016: SUNY Press)
  • Keeping It Real: Dick Hobbs’ Legacy of Classic Ethnography and the New Ultra-Realist Agenda by Steven Hall and Simon Winlow in Illegal Entrepreneurship, Organized Crime and Social Control edited by Georgios A. Antonopoulos (2016: Springer)
  • What is the Nexus Between Organized Crime and Gangs? in Journal of Gang Research by Stephen L. Mallory et al. (Fall, 2015)
  • Pandering to Prejudice: The ‘Yardie’Problem of the 1990s as a Media-Constructed Moral Panic by MG Warenycia (2015: Ryerson University)
  • Revitalizing Criminological Theory:: Towards a new Ultra-Realism  by Steve Hall and Simon Winlow (2015: Routledge)
  • Understanding Street Culture: Poverty, Crime, Youth and Cool by Jonathan Ilan (2015: Palgrave)
  • Between Repression and Heroism: Young People’s Politics in Mexico City After 1968 by Nicholas Jon Crane (2014: Ohio State University)
  • Crime and poverty in Detroit: A cross-referential critical analysis of ideographs and framing by Jacob, J. Nickell (2014: Illinois State University)
  • The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture by Nate Hendley (2013: Greenwood)
  • Diary of a Motor City Hitman by Christian Cipollini (2013: Strategic Media)

Experience and Training

Associate Professor of Teaching: Irvin D. Reid Honors College, Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)

Lecturer: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)

Certified Gang Specialist: National Gang Crime Research Center (Chicago, IL)

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