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McMafia [Kindle Edition]

Misha Glenny
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $11.30
You Save: $5.65 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the deregulation of international financial markets in 1989, governments and entrepreneurs alike became intoxicated by dreams of newly opened markets. But no one could have foreseen that the greatest success story to arise from these events would be the worldwide rise of organized crime. Today, it is estimated that illegal trade accounts for one-fifth of the global GDP.

In this fearless and wholly authoritative investigation of the seemingly insatiable demand for illegal wares, veteran reporter Misha Glenny travels across five continents to speak with participants from every level of the global underworld—police, victims, politicians, and even the criminals themselves. What follows is a groundbreaking, propulsive look at an unprecedented phenomenon from a savvy, street-wise guide.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: In McMafia, Misha Glenny draws the dark map that lies on the other side of Tom Friedman's bright flat world. That connected globe not only brings software coders and supply-chain outsourcers closer together; it's also opened the gates to a criminal network of unsettling vastness, complexity, and efficiency that represents a fifth of the earth's economy, trading in everything from untaxed cigarettes and the usual narcotics to human lives and nuclear material. Glenny's a Balkans expert, and he begins his story there, with the illicit--but often state-sponsored--underworld that grew out of the post-Soviet chaos, but he soon follows the contraband everywhere from Mumbai and Johannesburg to rural Colombia and the U.S. suburbs. It's not just a hodgepodge of scare clips, though: Glenny reports from the ground but follows the leads as high as they go, showing how the dark and bright sides of the flat world are more connected than we imagine. --Tom Nissley

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Former BBC World correspondent Glenny (The Balkans, 1804–1999) presents a riveting and chilling journey through the myriad criminal syndicates flourishing in our increasingly globalized world, which make up as much as 20% of global GNP. Tracing the growth of organized crime—ranging from the burgeoning sex trade in volatile, postcommunist Bulgaria to elaborate Internet frauds in Nigeria—Glenny expertly combines interviews with key players, economic studies and sociological analysis. He argues that the chaos and political upheaval following the demise of communism in Eastern Europe, along with increasing demand in the West and the easy flow of money and people provided the perfect opportunity for organized crime to gain a foothold on the dark side of the globalizing economy. Glenny's achievement is in introducing readers to the less familiar aspects of global crime, from Kazakhstan's caviar mafia to the flourishing marijuana trade in British Columbia. Consequently, his interview subjects are equally varied: sex slaves in Tel Aviv, a co-conspirator in the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings and top Washington policy makers share the pages. Readers yearning for a deeper understanding of the real-life, international counterparts to The Sopranos need look no further than Glenny's engrossing study. 16 pages of photos; maps. 100,000announced first printing. (Apr. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1723 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0887848184
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 8, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015DYLPQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,913 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 88 people found the following review helpful
To make a long story short, this book is essentially the history of the mafiacation of soverign states during the turbulent phase of the 1990s. Numerous case studies are presented which map out the ways, shapes, and forms of organized crime penetration from unstable regions and societies into the the formal structures of stable and legitimate governments.

For glaring example, the Yakuza crime syndicates gradually evolved into a parallel legal system in Japan, then foundering in their own inefficiencies, began subcontracting their day to day rough work to the Chinese Triads.

The lesson here is disturbing to the idealist mentality, because Misha Glenny is clearly pointing to the inescapable conclusion. Mafia like organizations are becoming increasingly interlinked and coordinated and resultantly imposing their values, tastes, methods, and derangements on a world order poorly equipped to monitor them, much less curtail their activities.

Many luxury items such as caviar and cocaine are now thoroughly controlled through distribution networks that seem actually more sophisticated than their legitimate corporate counterparts, while just as many counterfeit luxury items are manufactured and distributed by the same organizations.

Without belaboring the point, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the world is on the brink of a regulatory crisis phase where tax evasion, counterfeiting, human trafficing, militarized organ harvesting operations, wholesale corruption, social brutalization and cultural degeneracy are inseparably intertwined.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Misha Glenny has tapped into a deep and dark undercurrent that is sweeping the globe: from Eastern Europe, to Africa, to the Middle East, to Japan and China, to the West including the U.S., and most places in between: corruption and organized crime both with and without government complicity, has become a silent grime reaper that must be reckoned with, lest it sweep our own civilized way of life down into the undercurrents with it.

The stories in this book are mind-blowing not just in the creative ways that international criminals get around legalities and quickly learn to exploit the latest laws and technology, but also because they are so widespread and so injurious to what we have come to respect as a normal, ordered civilized and moral existence. Organized international criminals are resourceful, intelligent and intent on colonizing the world with a new set of decadent values. A new "Criminal world order is already deep in the making.

In most of the rest of the world, a reliance on an underground economy is an existential imperative (in post-Communist Russia, for instance, Nigeria, or Albania and indeed most of the poorer countries in the Middle East). The King of the underground economy, whether in the first or the third world is drugs: The West seems to be the carriers of a disease that makes drugs a necessity, and the rest of the world is all too anxious to apply a remedy for us.

But even if drugs were shutdown completely there is still trafficking in pirated goods, in humans, mostly young women being forced to go from poorer to more advanced countries; and now also computer and identity thefts.

What to do?
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vicious, Lucrative, Corrupt, and Global July 25, 2008
You sponsor organized crime. There isn't a thing you can do to stop. These are among the dismaying messages of _McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld_ (Knopf) by Misha Glenny. A big book with an extremely broad, world-wide vision of the latest in global criminality, it presents a daunting picture of lucrative and lethal crime in China, Serbia, Chechnya, Columbia, Israel, Russia, and all over the place. The U.S., the land where Don Corleone and his family prospered, gets surprisingly little coverage as a scene of crimes, but that does not keep it from playing a role all over the globe. Let's say (for the sake of argument) that you are an American who doesn't hire illegal foreign workers and never does illegal drugs and never launders money, so you think that gets you off the hook. Not quite. Do you use a cell phone? If so, most likely it contains coltan, a mined compound that efficiently conducts electricity at very high temperatures, and which comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so you are tapped into mine pillaging and organized crime there. There are countless other examples given here, but most important is what the American government and other governments are doing. They are interested in prohibition, criminalization, and interdiction, but with the lifting of restrictions on free movement of capital (Glenny blames Reagan and Thatcher for allowing what the corporations wanted), criminals "... became inextricably bound up with globalization - it was here in the huge reservoirs of the international banking system that the liquid assets of the corporate and criminal worlds mixed and mingled." Glenny's book details his travels to crime scenes of different countries, and he is guided by criminals themselves, smugglers, and a few police officers. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
description of criminal underworlds. interesting.
Published 21 days ago by Jewell L. Warner
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Read
Super interesting book. Glenny is a great writer and this account of how all those "barons of industry" popped up in the former communist countries is both intriguing and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. Novakovic
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew, not me, until now.
Oh my, who knew that the world was run by international Mafia's. Well researched, kept me interested.
Published 3 months ago by Heidi Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly detailed, seems to be very thorough, and ...
Highly detailed, seems to be very thorough, and I would have found it easier reading if the links among countries along his theme had been more explicit, but a very important, and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by spider queen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for getting an overview of international organized crime
Interested in reading about organized crime? This is where you should start. McMafia gives you a great overview about the different organized criminal groups around the world.
Published 5 months ago by Centurion
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it.
Just the retelling of old stories that one could read in the newspaper. I bought this on a bad recommendation.
Published 7 months ago by Dwight J. Worker
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime as business, business as crime.
A highly readable tour (or perhaps trawl) through the global underworld. Glenny's account is scholarly enough, but often wryly funny as well. Read more
Published 15 months ago by E. Granter
5.0 out of 5 stars McMafia
Opened my eyes to crime as a worldwide endeavor, difficult, but excellent read. I recommend this book to flesh out the news.
Published 16 months ago by Anthony J. Rerecich
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep in places, shallow in others
First, let me say that I enjoyed the book. It was both informative and interesting in its discussion of modern organized crime. Read more
Published 17 months ago by GEC
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Between the Headlines In Today's News Stories
I was reading this book as the story broke about the 1100+ people that died in garment factory in Bangladesh. Read more
Published 19 months ago by C. K. Wolfgang
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More About the Author

Misha Glenny is a distinguished journalist and historian. As the Central Europe Correspondent first for The Guardian and then for the BBC, he chronicled the collapse of communism and the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

He has won several major awards for his work, including the Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting.

The author of three books on Eastern Europe and the Balkans - The Rebirth of History, The Fall of Yugoslavia, The Balkans; his latest book McMafia is about international organised crime.

He has been regularly consulted by the US and European governments on major policy issues and ran an NGO for three years, assisting with the reconstruction of Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo.

He now lives in London.


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