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Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System Paperback – November 25, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Saviano's landmark exposé of the demoralizing effects of organized crime in his homebase of Naples, Italy, is an incredible tale that loses its power in this long-winded reading by veteran Kramer. Droning on in a matter-of-fact tone, Kramer loses the author's personal approach and fails to bring life to the touching memoir. Uninspired and indifferent, Kramer often sounds tired, struggling to keep himself interested, much less the listener. With slurred, often muffled narration, Kramer makes no attempt to engage his audience, a shame considering the rather fervent account that Saviano manages to recreate given his relationship with a deadly organized crime outfit and extensive research into the topic. Listening to Kramer over nine discs becomes a monotonous task rather than the entrancing experience that it should be. An utterly disappointing reading that fails to capture the gusto of Saviano's work. Simultaneous release with the FSG hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 13).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Saviano, an investigative journalist, uses the port city of Naples as an entry point into the nefarious dealings of the Italian crime network, the Camorra, which has a stranglehold on the global economy through its control of the international clothing market, art collecting, drug dealing, construction trades, and toxic waste disposal. Naples is the epicenter for the criminal cartel since, as Saviano says, "Everything that exists passes through here." At a time when Chinese exports of pet food and seafood have become suspect, Saviano provides a revealing examination of the ways in which black-market profit mongering and lack of regulations ruin workers' lives and endanger us all. This investigation, published in Italy in 2006, became a best-seller and won the Viareggio Literary Prize. It's a stunner of a book, as accessible to American audiences, through its searing style and timely investigation, as it is to Italians. Perhaps most importantly, Saviano's accusations are utterly convincing because of his undercover investigations: in the best Upton Sinclair tradition, he worked at a Chinese textile factory in Naples, at a construction site, even as a waiter at a Camorra family wedding. Throughout, he relies on the significant detail to carry his outrage: scores of frozen Chinese bodies spilling out onto a dock; the sight of a Chinese factory worker at the bottom of a well, beaten and stabbed to death after refusing sex with her boss. Through his firsthand observation and interviews, he lays bare the abuses fed by this well-oiled and well-hidden criminal system. Devastating. Fletcher, Connie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Other reviews have suggested the book is poorly translated, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. Saviano's writing is intelligent, idiomatic, and his voice comes through clearly. Some passages stay with you, almost like a mantra, and I'm sure you'll find particular images haunting you long after you've finished reading. The mob portrayed in Gomorrah is a hydra, constantly reinventing itself, regionally endemic and spreading. It isn't sexy or glamorous. Its trade in toxic waste alone is slowly murdering entire portions of Southern Italy, so that even when the Camorra's hit squads aren't gunning down their victims, its business practices alone claim countless more lives. And the violence Saviano recounts, much of it dedicated not to internecine warfare as one would suppose, but to innocent bystanders or those brave enough to speak out, is unspeakably brutal, and doesn't necessarily end with death. Camorra smear campaigns are launched immediately following an assassination, posthumously associating the most noble citizens to the same crimes and corruption they fought so hard against during life, so that they won't garner public sympathy or inspire further activism.
Saviano's book is one of the most important true crime books ever written, and I say that having read my share of them. I used the word "important" to mean that it doesn't merely inform and educate, as good journalism should, but completely transforms the reader's perception of how crime and economy are linked, and what the nature of the fallout really is. Saviano achieves what is seemingly an impossible task--to expose and quantify the runaway train of Italian organized crime in all its incarnations, balancing broad accounts of a land desolated by greed and death with personal stories of those affected by the carnage.