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Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System

Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System

Написано Roberto Saviano

Озвучено Michael Kramer


Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System

Написано Roberto Saviano

Озвучено Michael Kramer

оценки:
3/5 (623 оценки)
Длина:
11 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
15 нояб. 2007 г.
ISBN:
9781400175574
Формат:

Описание

A groundbreaking major bestseller in Italy, Gomorrah is Roberto Saviano's gripping nonfiction account of the decline of Naples under the rule of the Camorra, an organized crime network with a large international reach and stakes in construction, high fashion, illicit drugs, and toxic-waste disposal. Known by insiders as "the System," the Camorra affects cities and villages along the Neapolitan coast and is the deciding factor in why Campania, for instance, has the highest murder rate in all of Europe and why cancer levels there have skyrocketed in recent years.



Saviano tells of huge cargoes of Chinese goods that are shipped to Naples and then quickly distributed unchecked across Europe. He investigates the Camorra's control of thousands of Chinese factories contracted to manufacture fashion goods, legally and illegally, for distribution around the world, and relates the chilling details of how the abusive handling of toxic waste is causing devastating pollution not only for Naples but also China and Somalia. In pursuit of his subject, Saviano worked as an assistant at a Chinese textile manufacturer, as a waiter at a Camorra wedding, and on a construction site. A native of the region, he recalls seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen and how his own father, a doctor, suffered a brutal beating for trying to aid an eighteen-year-old victim who had been left for dead in the street.



Gomorrah is a bold and important work of investigative writing that holds global significance, one heroic young man's impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization.
Издатель:
Издано:
15 нояб. 2007 г.
ISBN:
9781400175574
Формат:

Об авторе

Roberto Saviano was born in Naples and studied philosophy at university. Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System was his first book. In 2011 he was awarded the PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage Award.


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3.0
623 оценки / 33 Обзоры
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  • (1/5)
    This is one of the worst books I have read. There is no discernible organization to the book. It is clearly written only for an Italian audience. The reader is assumed to have a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of Italian politics , society, and current events. The book is grossly overwritten and melodramatic. All in all, a waste of time.
  • (4/5)
    Hard-hitting, heart breaking book about the Neopolitian mafia. Arms and drug smuggling, slave labor, construction company graft and dumping pesticides into drinking water - there is nothing they won't do for money. Book is full of poignant vignettes like the ringing cellphone on the coffin of a 14 year old girl caught in the crossfire and the world's most user-friendly tool ever developed by man - the AK-47. Saviano writing (and the translation) is brilliant. Book clearly shows that there is nothing sexy or cool about organized crime.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting journalistic work about one arm of the Italian Mob from the perspective of an inhabitant of the area. Quite an emotional and personal book with an unique angle. Because of this however, the book quickly became boring for me - there was not enough structure or top down perspective for me to sort all the small experiences and factoids that the author presents into the big picture.
  • (4/5)
    For many people Italian orgainsed crime means the Mafia. Before the Mafia there was the Camorra. As the Mafia are to Sicily the Camprra are to Campania, the region surrounding Naples. With tentacles everywhere extortion to drugs to high fashion and even an interest in the redevelopment of the World Trade Centre site in New York.
  • (4/5)
    I always have a hard time reviewing non-fiction books, as I do not know enough about many of the subjects to give a quality review of the information. That is my problem in this case. I know next to nothing about Italian organized crime, so all I can attest to is the entertainment value. In that area, this book is pretty good. I think that the writing loses something in translation at times, but overall the book is readable and quite engaging. The stories are often disturbing and funny at the same time. I'd recommend this work.
  • (3/5)
    This book is extremely uneven. On one side it contains many authentic and extremely perceptive observations (a description of the economics of cutting cocaine, an analysis of the playlist of a Camorra posse as they prepare themselves for an attack, ...) on the other side it delivers considerably less than I was led to expect from the Italian press. for example, it is extremely unclear what specific and previously unknown information Saviano delivers on the system he is denouncing. Similarly, Saviano seems to attribute to the Camorra economic and organizational abilities that seem frankly hard to believe for no other reason that other countries can reasonably be expected to have their own criminal organizations and not be completely dependent on Camorra for illicit traffic of goods and people. Pet peeve: to describe the economics and logistics of Camorra Saviano uses very often the word 'esponenziale', which he uses as if it meant 'very big'.
  • (4/5)
    He was 13 when he saw his first dead body. This wasn't unusual considering that Roberto Saviano grew up in Naples the home of one of the most powerful and brutal crime organizations in Italy....the Camorra. What is unusual is that he possessed the courage to publish this book detailing the history, methods, and wars that raged throughout the region while he was growing up in spite of the risk to himself. I found the book to be a passionate and shocking disclosure of a crime group that doesn't stop with their involvement in military arms and narcotics. They are involved in projects and businesses which affect every individual around the globe. Businesses such as fashion, agriculture, restaurants, and toxic waste disposal. Their casual disdain of human life could result in reprecussions of enormous impact. My only complaint about the book was its meandering style which with more cohesiveness would have left a more powerful impression.
  • (4/5)
    This book is a fascinating look into the crime world of Naples, a world that makes the American mafioso look like a bunch of kids selling lemonade. The book is not organized as an expose per say, but rather as a memoir of someone who once lived in the area and experienced the violence first hand. It meanders through different stories and different time periods, giving vivid details and examples of the sheer power and violence of the Naples crime syndicate. A fascinating look into the Italian mafia and how it continues to thrive and grow in the new century.
  • (3/5)
    The writing was much more lyrical than your average American true crime book, and the subject matter was fascinating. It was interesting to learn how organized crime has adapted to the new, globalized world. On the downside, the book wasn't particularly well organized. It sort of meandered through the subject, and might have benefited from a more structured approach.
  • (5/5)
    It's awful how reality can be even worse than imagination.Insightful.
  • (2/5)
    I've finished. This book should have been fascinating. The subject matter certainly is. But, it is not. Maybe something was lost in translation, but I spent most of my time reading it simply lost. Maybe it was just my expectations for the book? Probably, but nevertheless, I wouldn't really recommend this even though the subject matter (The Napolese 'mafia' rather than the Sicilian one) is interesting.
  • (1/5)
    It's practically unreadable. I don't know if the original Italian was great, but it got lost in translation, but this book is just plain ole bad. What's worse, is it could be a fascinating book, because it's about organized crime in Naples. And what even worse, is I have to slog through this poorly written, poorly organized, completely unengaging work and that's preventing me from reading something interesting. If I could give it negative starts, I would.
  • (4/5)
    Thanks to LT for sending an early reviewers copy of this book.The Camorra is the subject of Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah. These are the loosely connected Italian clans that make up the organized criminal associations centered around the Naples region in Italy--the tentacles of which reach all over the globe in both legal and non-legal ways. The constant war for primacy amongst these clans, the subversion of the law and of the culture of the people that live in the middle of this area. For a clan member the almost constant killing for money and for power no matter the personal injury to oneself or to ones freedom to move about without fear--to breathe freely without fear that you might be next. To kill remorselessly--with cruelty and without pity. One man is taken down to a shore to watch the sea come in--strapped to a chair--his mouth is stuffed with sand and gradually forms into a kind of cement that suffocates him. It's all about power and money. And it's all business. It's almost as if they've modeled themselves on the corporate/multi-national worlds or maybe even it's the other way around--the corporations have modeled themselves on them. It's hard to tell and anyway as Saviano's book makes clear often enough the corporate world and this criminal world work very very well together. For a large enough investment or donation we'll cover up your mess.One of my quibbles with this book though is that it assumes a bit much at least of readers outside Italy. It jumps around a bit. It's almost as if he takes for granted that the reader has some kind of personal knowledge about this group from his own experience. It may be that Saviano never expected it to go very far beyond Italy's borders. There is a disjointedness about it especially it seemed in the first half or so. In contstruct his writing seems to mostly cross between journalistic and ruminative/meditative with some fictional touches. The second half of the book is better. I especially liked the examples of those who have fought with integritly against this group. To his credit Saviano seems to be one of that number as apparently he is under threat. No doubt they do not like the less than glorifying portrait he paints of them individually and/or as a group of more or less mindless robotic killers. All in all it's an interesting read. The Camorra has never gotten the attention here that the Sicilian orientated Mafia has. Saviano's book brings us much closer to understanding the greed and ambition and bloodlust behind an equal if not more powerful criminal organization and the avenues it uses--illegal and otherwise to mestastisize like the cancer it is.
  • (4/5)
    The author gives an insider's view of a monstrous system that is all the more disquieting because you're in there with him. Besides the titillation of so much blood and excess, what kept me reading was the intelligence and heart in the work. The tone sounds raw and cynical but it isn't without occasional touches of poetry and sentimentalism. The author never stayed in one mode long enough to get tiresome. I was shocked by what this book had to say. I don't know if I was convinced by the litany of the names and places or if I just sympathized with a good writer. His heart's in the right place. I hope it's still beating somewhere.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Questo incredibile, sconvolgente viaggio nel mondo affaristico e criminale della camorra si apre e si chiude nel segno delle merci, del loro ciclo di vita. Le merci "fresche", appena nate, che sotto le forme più svariate - pezzi di plastica, abiti griffati, videogiochi, orologi - arrivano al porto di Napoli e, per essere stoccate e occultate, si riversano fuori dai giganteschi container per invadere palazzi appositamente svuotati di tutto, come creature sventrate, private delle viscere. E le merci ormai morte che, da tutta Italia e mezza Europa, sotto forma di scorie chimiche, morchie tossiche, fanghi, addirittura scheletri umano, vengono abusivamente "sversate" nelle campagne campane, dove avvelenano, tra gli altri, gli stessi boss che su quei terreni edificano le loro dimore fastose e assurde - dacie russe, ville hollywoodiane, cattedrali di cemento e marmi preziosi - che non servono soltanto a certificare un raggiunto potere ma testimoniano utopie farneticanti, pulsioni messianiche, millenarismi oscuri. Questa è oggi la camorra, anzi, il "Sistema", visto che la parola "camorra" nessuno la usa più....

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    There's an extraordinary scene near the start of Gomorrah that I don't think I'll be able to forget. Roberto Saviano, investigating the numerous clothing sweatshops in the countryside around Naples, happens to be with one of the master tailors when he turns on the television in his run-down shack one evening. It's Oscars night, and Angelina Jolie is on the red carpet – wearing one of his handmade outfits.The man breaks down in tears. He had no idea – they just told him that one was ‘being sent to America’. He's one of the greatest tailors in Italy and he's just dressed one of the most beautiful women in the world – but he can't tell anyone. His job doesn't officially exist. He works twelve-hour shifts. He's paid six hundred euros a month.How? Why? Because this is how even top fashion houses get stuff made – they (or possibly, for better deniability, some subsidiary entity) auction out the tailoring to groups of sweatshops in the South, who fall over themselves with promises to produce the work faster and cheaper than their rivals. Everyone who wants to take part is given the material, and whoever produces the right quality work first gets paid. Everyone else has to sell off their products however they can – in Asia, or Eastern Europe, or, as a last resort, in market stalls. That brand-name handbag being sold by a Nigerian outside the railway station may not be a forgery at all, but rather, as Saviano puts it, ‘a sort of true fake’ that really lacks nothing but the company's imprimatur.It's just another part of The System – meaning the dense web of Camorra-controlled activities whose agents and beneficiaries extend not just up into northern Italy, but across Europe and, in fact, around the world.The Camorra are much more numerous than Cosa Nostra or the 'Ndrangheta, and much more deadly – they've been responsible for more deaths than the Sicilian Mafia, Basque separatists or the IRA. (Campania has one of the highest murder rates in Europe.) That's nasty enough, but what's really chilling is how pervasive their control is, and quite how much economic power, according to Saviano, they wield.In fact they're presented here as not so much a crime syndicate as a purified distillation of naked capitalism. It's not just drugs, it's also a vast global supply chain, a portfolio of legitimate and semi-legitimate businesses which all support and feed off each other, so that trying to find some area or segment that has not been tainted starts to feel hopelessly naïve.Drugs, though, are important, and Saviano is impatient with worthy pontifications about the sociology of the ghetto. As he points out, ‘An area where dozens of clans are operating, with profit levels comparable only to a maneuver in high finance—just one family’s activity invoices 300 million euros annually—cannot be a ghetto.’ The numbers are sobering:A kilo of cocaine costs the producer 1,000 euros, but by the time it reaches the wholesaler, it’s already worth 30,000. After the first cut 30 kilos becomes 150: a market value of approximately 15 million euros. With a larger cut, 30 kilos can be stretched to 200.But you expect drugs. What I didn't expect was to hear about the Camorra controlling all the merchandise flowing in and out of Naples port; or how they have taken over Italy's waste disposal industry. This last is particularly upsetting: Saviano details how industrial and chemical waste is mixed with gravel or mislabeled so that it can be more easily transported, and then dumped in vast landfills. One abandoned quarry near Naples was found to have 58,000 truck loads of illicit waste in it. Child labourers are used to unload the barrels, which are acutely toxic. The area has inflated rates of cancers – but it isn't just a problem of the south. The activity is directly linked to big Italian companies in the Veneto or the capital, and in fact Saviano says that without this under-the-counter service from the Camorra, Italy would never have met the economic conditions for entering the EU.Holding it all together are the capos and bosses who hide away in armoured mega-villas, conferring with accountants and issuing instructions to prosecute the latest inter-clan killing spree. The most important have jaunty Neapolitan nicknames – 'a scigna (the monkey), 'o scellone (the angel), 'o 'ntufato (the angry one). Local politicians are generally helpful to the clans, when they aren't outright members. The Camorra is often an area's main economy; as Saviano puts it, ‘refusing a relationship with them would be like the deputy mayor of Turin refusing to meet with the top management of Fiat.’Their opponents are beheaded by circular saw, beaten to death in front of their families, or thrown into wells along with a couple of hand-grenades to take care of murder and burial all in one. In 2001, a guy called Antonio Magliulo made a pass at a boss's cousin:They took him to the beach, tied him to a chair facing the sea, and began to stuff his mouth and nose with sand. Magliulo tried to breathe, swallowing and spitting sand, blowing it out his nose, vomiting, chewing, and twisting his neck. His saliva, mixing with the sand, formed a kind of primitive cement, a gluey substance that slowly suffocated him.It is refreshingly jarring to read a book which links this violence with the run-down kids and sweatshop workers who drive it all – that does not, in other words, glorify it. We are a long way from cool Ray Liotta voiceovers and Tony Bennett soundtracks. (Far from Hollywood looking to the Mafia for inspiration, it's actually the other way round – Camorra bosses model their mansions on Al Pacino's house in Scarface, kids angle their guns sideways like Tarantino stars, and one female capo has a retinue of women bodyguards dressed in fluorescent yellow like Uma Thurman out of Kill Bill.)The book generates a lot of disgust and outrage, and I wish there were a few more suggestions for what we could productively do with these feelings. Perhaps Saviano doesn't know any ways left to be an ethical consumer; certainly the tone often borders on the pessimistic. But it's saved from defeatism by his trust in the power of language.In Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, Lila is constantly pushing Lenù, the respected writer, to finally write the devastating exposé of local Camorristi that she thinks will bring them down. Lenù can't quite do it, and the book she writes doesn't have the effect they were hoping. But Roberto Saviano really did lift the lid on a lot of things that Italians didn't know about or didn't talk about. The effects were dramatic, not least on his own life: he was put under police protection in 2006, and has lived outside Italy since 2008. But he made ignoring the issues infinitely more difficult. Words still have power, and someone using them like Saviano needs to be celebrated and protected.
  • (5/5)
    Um relato real e cruel desta organização criminosa que extende seus tentáculos em todas as esferas da sociedade.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is an important and very brave account of the continued control the camorra exert over much of Italian life. While focused on Naples and the Campania region, Saviano takes us on a surreal side trip to Aberdeen, into painstaking detail of the rivalry among the clans, and explores the dynamics of living in a violent and corrupt society. It's the latter that both compels the reader to stay with the narrative, but also diminishes the daily murder toll to a very ordinary banality. I'd recommend this work to those wishing to delve deeper into the dynamics of the modern day mafia. It's a story that needs to be told and I commend Saviano for his bravery in telling it. This work will lend weight to those who consider Italy, even today, the sick man of Europe. Perhaps some of this was lost in translation but the narrative is a bit clunky and the ending, very sudden. I would have liked to see the author's recommended further reading.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    The most concrete emblem of every economic cycle is the dump.

    Earlier this summer I enjoyed a podcast by one of the members of Wu Ming. The author spoke about responsibility and the New Italian Epic. Gommorah was the one example of the latter which was discussed at length. It was noted that the work suffered from a horrible translation into English. Perhaps the last qualification should give it a pass, as I found the work to be uneven. Nominally this is an exploration of criminal culture in the Naples area of Italy. This is a deeply emotional response to a Foucauldian nightmare, one where modern capitalism has disrupted classic Mafioso structures and replaced them with something more pervasive and insidious. The book opens with how the fashion and garment industries occupy the area around Naples and the fierce and often lethal competition which exists within such. Many of these operations expand upon a certain level of growth to include drug trafficking. The modern business notion of focus groups becomes warped to a situation where nearly free heroin is given to the destitute to see if it is safe. Credit and logistics allow the clans influence in global flashpoints and thus arms begin the circuitous travels.

    The book concludes exploring the criminal involvement in construction and waste disposal. The details are harrowing. Saviano lists the misdeeds impassively, periodically noting "I know and I can prove it". This verification strikes me as an even more bleak outlook.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Schockierende Wahrheiten.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This book is a fascinating look into the crime world of Naples, a world that makes the American mafioso look like a bunch of kids selling lemonade. The book is not organized as an expose per say, but rather as a memoir of someone who once lived in the area and experienced the violence first hand. It meanders through different stories and different time periods, giving vivid details and examples of the sheer power and violence of the Naples crime syndicate. A fascinating look into the Italian mafia and how it continues to thrive and grow in the new century.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    When people say "Italian Mafia" they think about the "Cosa Nostra",The "Cosa Nostra" has a single rulebook and a single structure, building up in a pyramid from the soldiers at the base to the boss of bosses at the apex.In Gomorrah, Saviano writes about "The Neapolitan Camorra", or "The System" as it is known by those on its inside, is a vast, pullulating world of gangs. Gomorrah is an excellent book about the workings of the South Italian Mafia.This is a book about an Italian Mafia almost nobody talks about, the one concentrated in Naples - The Camorra.A must read if you want to know more about "The System".

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Amazing reportage, full of fascinating set pieces about aspects of the seemingly inescapable tentacles of economic corruption and its attendant environmental devastation in the Campania region of Italy. I'd never heard of the Camorra, and learning of their death grip on huge strands of the global economy is disheartening--but the courage of Saviano's reporting about the cancer eating away his home region is unforgettable.
  • (3/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    depressing, intense, hard to read but fascinating. If you can't finish this, see the brilliant movie version.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Wer von Roberto Saviano hört oder liest, denkt mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit als Erstes an sein Buch über die Camorra. Dieses Hörbuch, das zwei recht kurze Geschichten beinhaltet, hat nur auf den ersten Blick nichts damit zu tun. Denn die Hintergründe sind dieselben, die zum Weiterbestehen dieser Mafiaorganisation beitragen: Armut und die beinahe fatalistische Einstellung zum Leben. "Nimm es wie es kommt und mach das Beste daraus." Kein Hinterfragen, kein Ergründen der Ursachen um diese womöglich zu beseitigen - man macht einfach das Beste daraus.
    Wie auch Maria, die 17jährige Verlobte von Gaetano, der mit dem Militär nach Afghanistan geschickt wurde und dort umkam. Saviano beschreibt anhand dieses Einzelschicksals, dass es für viele junge Männer im Süden keine Alternative zum Militärdienst gibt, um so zumindest eine legale Arbeit mit einem gesicherten Gehalt zu haben. Kein Wunder, dass die italienischen Soldaten in den Friedensmissionen größtenteils aus dem Süden kommen und damit auch die meisten Todesopfer 'stellen'. Soldat: die Alternative für diejenigen, die außer der Mafia keine andere haben? Doch nicht nur die jungen Männer sind die Leidtragenden. Für Maria wird mit ihren 17 Jahren, deren Leben so verheißungsvoll vor ihr lag, eine ewige Witwe bleiben. Gefangen in den Dorftraditionen wird sie weiterhin bei ihren Elten wohnen und für den Rest ihres Lebens schwarz tragen müssen.
    Die zweite Geschichte berichtet davon, wie völlig Unbeteiligte zu Opfern der Mafia wurden, nur weil sie zur falschen Zeit am falschen Ort waren. Aber es dennoch niemanden interessiert, wer sie getötet hat und warum und aus lauter Angst alle schweigen. Denn für die Außenstehenden ist alles klar: Wer so getötet wird, gehörte dazu - weiteres Nachfragen lohnt nicht.
    Heikko Deutschmann liest dies einfühlsam und mitfühlend vor, aber auch mit entsprechender Sachlichkeit. So grausam sich all dies anhört, es ist die Realität in diesem Teil des Landes.

    Das einzig Ärgerliche an diesem Hörbuch ist die Länge. Wohl in weiser Voraussicht wird nirgends (weder im Booklet noch beim Verlag oder sonstwo) die Dauer angezeigt. Vermutlich weil die beiden CDs gerade mal 80 min umfassen und man diese bei etwas gutem Willen auch auf eine CD hätte pressen können. Ansonsten aber hörenswert!
  • (5/5)
    Its hard to see how this brave, lucid and heroic book wouldnt' get 5 stars from any reviewer. Even better, the movie version, whilst having only tenuous links with the book, is brilliant in its own right. Saviano is a journalist of an unusual type these days - prepared to get down and dirty (in this case as a manual labourer) rather than rely on press releases, gossip and twitter. He has a no nonsense style; he points the finger, backs it up with facts, and adds local colour for illumination. He can surely never live in Napoli again and in many ways this is his triumph. Should be compulsory reading not just for its exposure of of the Camorra but more disturbingly for the way it has blended into legal capitalism. In many ways, Saviano argues, capitalism cannot exist without the Camorra and its ilk. Soberingly he is probably right
  • (4/5)
    I have always categorized the italian mob in my head as something that doesn't really exist any more and only lives on in movies and television. Boy was I wrong! In this wonderful non-fiction book Roberto Saviano details the many tentacles of the Cammorah, the italian mafia that is centered in the southern part of Italy. Saviano describes the manner in which the crime syndicates have worked their way into many sectors of legitimate enterprise, such as construction, waste management and the garment industry. Because Saviano, who is a native of the area he is writing about, has a philosophy degree in addition to his career as a journalist, he writes not only about the facts of the criminal gangs, but also what living in such a society does to the souls of the people who live there. I found this book to be a sobering antidote to violence portrayed as glamorous, as it is in so many facets of popular culture.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    A first person report and anguished cry detailing the activities of organized crime (Camorra) in Naples and around the world. I will never look at my trash, designer-label clothes or cement the same way again.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is a great book - the writing style is dry, which is fine for what is a terrifying description of Camorra and organised crime in modern day Italy. It covers the new Camorra and the new business lines it is entering, expanding internationally to extend its reach to an extent that is mindboggling.

    Saviano shows us how it permeates everyday life, how a certain life style can become something to aspire to for children who do not expect to live beyond 30 and discuss as a matter of fact which type of violent death is more desirable (shot in teh face, if you ask).

    A must read.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    An excellent book on the implications of organized crime. Hard to know quite what to do.

    1 person found this helpful