I Contadini (The Peasants)
An Immigrant Italian Family Takes on the Mafia
by Lester S. Taube
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A story of passion, suspense and violence.
Ettore DiStephano, an immigrant Italian stonemason, learns that his daughter, Maria, has been found
raped and murdered. He calls home his children: Vincent, a judge; Michael, a surgeon; Anthony, a
priest; Rose, wife of a business tycoon; Paul, an army colonel; and wild, deadly, Dominic, an engineer
Disdaining American justice, Ettore insists that the family find the killer.
Jim, the tycoon son-in-law, joins the search. Then his wealthy niece, Bonny, a spinster anthropologist,
falls madly in love with Dominic, and demands to help.
Soon, one suspect stands out. Tracking him down takes the family to foreign countries, where guns
explode and men die. Then, as the action thickens, they find that beneath the veneer of their professional
exteriors is the pelt of their father, a contadino, and that his mission is correct.
When the confrontation gets out of hand, both sides mass their strength for the inevitable showdown.
About the Author
Lester Taube was born of Russian and Lithuanian immigrants in Trenton, New Jersey. He began soldiering
in his teens in a National Guard horse artillery regiment, where in four years he rose in grade from private
to the exalted rank of private first class. In World War II, he became an infantry officer. His first
operation was on the Bismarck Archipelago, where his most dangerous opponents were malaria and sand fleas.
His regiment was next attached to the 3rd Marine Division for the Iwo Jima operation, then he and 18 other
soft headed volunteers fought on Okinawa, the last battle of the war. Recuperating from wounds and malaria,
he left the army to run a 400 employee electronic company in California, a 450 employee paper stock company
in Pennsylvania, then moved to Canada to open a logging and pulpwood cutting operation. Recalled to service
during the Korean police action, he served as an advisor to the Turkish army, then as an intelligence officer
and company commander in Korea.
During the Vietnam period, he went on duty in France and Germany as a general staff officer working in
intelligence and war plans, and even had a stint as Chief of Operations of the U.S. Army in Europe. While in
France, he opened a chain of coin operated laundries, which became the largest in Europe. Prior to retirement
as a full colonel, he moved to a small village in Austria, and kept a boat for five years on the Côte d’Azur.
During this period in Europe, he wrote four fiction novels, which were published in hardcover by W.H. Allen
of London, paperback copies were published by a subsidiary, and rights were sold to a number of foreign countries.
All four novels were optioned for motion pictures and two were sold. He stopped writing because of his time
consuming jobs and the raising of a family. He has four children, all born in different countries.
After 13 years in Europe, he returned home, where he worked as an economic development specialist for the
State of New Jersey until his final retirement.
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I Contadini (The Peasants)
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