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  • "More prevalent in Sicily, absentee landlordism spawned a class of notorious overseers known as gabelloti. Their rapid rise in society paralleled that of mafiosi (the word described a temperament—tough, fiery; a woman of a feisty nature would be called a mafiosa), whose services they frequently employed to collect unpaid rents or to intimidate sharecroppers into accepting unfair contracts."

    —Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992), 51

    December 17, 2009