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Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Roberto Saviano
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Jan 2008
A dangerous, politically explosive international literary sensation

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (18 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230017762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230017764
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'...strength of Gomorrah lies in the angry passion with which he denounces the grip of organised crime.'
-- Financial Times

'An extraordinarily powerful book. With its pages of gritty reportage and low-life legwork, Gomorrah recreates a truly evil sense of menace. The book has been a huge bestseller in Italy. Saviano, however, has incurred the wrath of the Camorra for naming names, and is now under police protection. Naples, one-time Arcady of Bourbon kings and queens, emerges here as disaffected, dying. If you love this city, as I do, Gomorrah will fill you with dismay' -- Ian Thomson, London Evening Standard, 21 Jan 2008

'One of the most enthralling and disturbing books written on organised crime ... the great value of Gomorrah is to highlight two points: the power and wealth that southern Italy's Mafias have accumulated in recent years, and the fact that their globalisation makes them an issue of concern for us all. His description of the effects of gang war on ordinary people ("Women stop wearing high heels--too hard to run in them") is masterly. His final chapter, set in the apocalyptic wilderness of the Camorra's smouldering waste dumps, is inspired -- and prescient, as the garbage crisis in Naples unfolds' -- The Economist, 10 Jan 2008

'Part economic analysis, part social history, part cri de coeur, this crushing testimonial is the most important book to come out of Italy'
-- New York Times

'Read this important book, and you will appreciate why Italy is still a country that needs heroes like him' -- Guardian Review

'Roberto Saviano's horrifying book paints organised crime as it really is. Forget Vito Corleone; forget Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. The ruthless Camorra gangs that control modernday Naples exert a malign influence on every area of the Italian economy, from fashion to drug-dealing, from sanitation to refuse collection and from construction to hospitality ... as an insight into a terrifying world by a remarkable investigative journalist, it is riveting' Mail on Sunday -- Mail on Sunday, 20 Jan 2008

`A brave expose of the gangland hell that is tearing Naples apart. A powerful work of reportage, Gomorrah became a literary sensation when it appeared in Italy last year. It started a national conversation, but also won its 28-year old first time author uglier accolades: death threats and a constant police escort - he now lives in hiding. The stakes are high. Part economic analysis, part social history, part cri de coeur, this crushing testimonial is the most important book to come out of Italy in years. Like Conrad's London, Saviano's Naples is one of the world's dark places. He tugged a loose thread in the fabric of Italian bourgeois respectability and pulling until nothing was left. I could not get this brave book out of my head. After reading Gomorrah, it becomes impossible to see Italy, and the global market, in the same way again' -- William Grimes, The Scotsman, 13 Jan 2008

`Every so often, when reading Saviano's book you have to pause, and remember he is writing not about some war-torn African territory or former communist state, but about life in a big city in a rich nation in western Europe; a founder-member of the European Union; a favourite destination for low-cost flyers, and a country whose affairs are increasingly - and, Saviano suggests, dangerously - bound up with ours.'
-- John Hooper, Guardian G2 Profile, 14 Jan 2008

`This brave account of the most organised of all Italy's crime fraternities demands respect. Saviano's devastating account of his homeland is highly emotional: unlike many, perhaps older and wearier, Italian journalists, he still feels personally outraged by what he sees. His descriptions of the lawless violent world of Naples are both gritty and sentimental, a poetry of cruelty. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since the book came out, he has been threatened by the clans and now has a police escort for his own safety' -- Clare Longrigg, Sunday Telegraph, 13 Jan 2008

`a superb piece of investigative reporting ... Saviano is without question a winning young man with real potential as a writer' -- Misha Glenny, Sunday Times, 13 Jan 2008

Review

'The Neapolitan author is only 28, with a single blazingly vivid and courageous book to his name' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opening the Floodgates 17 May 2008
Format:Hardcover
Roberto Saviano is a 28 year old man, who grew up in Secondigliano, a rundown of 10,000 inhabitants on the fringe of Naples, of which 2468 residents are incarcerated for mafia and camorra related activities and the rest have simply been abandoned to their fate. It is also the trading centre through which about 80% of Europe's cocaine is filtered through, packaged, distributed, marketed, cut, and sold on. This is an unpalatable reality few outside of Italy understand, care about or are able to believe. And this little book has opened a floodgates, no less for the Italians who have always known the extent of the Camorra's corruption on all levels of italian and international society, but who, out of fear, or inability to get close, have not been able to speak about it in this much detail. Roberto's life has been largely destroyed by the writing of this book. He has had to change identity, separate from his family and lives under 24 hour police escort. But for those who live here, in the shadow of mafia, surrounded by the stink of corruption, of Naples' uncollected rubbish, of silent witnesses and a society still living in a dark middle age marked with bloodshed and hopelessness this book has opened a floodgates which may hope may finally lift the cover on a tragedy that affects not only the entire country, but all of Europe, and the world.
Please read this. The Camorra is not a Scorcese movie, the mafia is not some antiquated clichè. We live with it, and our country is slowly dying because of it. This is not a work of fiction, sadly.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An act of bravery 7 Aug 2008
Format:Hardcover
Saviano's insight on this deadly subject made me wonder a few times about his personal relationship with the people he so openly denounces. This is a 28-year-old courageous man who has decided to put his life on the line to cast some light into the darkest area of Italy's social and political life. When I read the first chapter, I had the distinct feeling that what I had in my hands was a truly ground-breaking book. When I read about the links between organised crime and global trade, and to such a scale as well, I could understand why Italy is in the G8 in spite of its disastrous economy and almost irreversible ideological void. Who thinks that organised crime is a phenomenon contained within the Italian peninsula, must think again. Eye-opening and inspirational.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPELLING READING 14 Jan 2008
By La Fata
Format:Hardcover
I have read this book in the original language a year ago and it is still quite clear in my mind. The courageous Roberto Saviano is a master in telling true stories , and this book gives you a powerful insight of the Neapolitan mafia and the wider implications for us all in an extremely readable & compelling manner. A MUST for anyone interested in Italy and Italian current affairs. Once you start reading it you cannot put it down!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Finally someone has the guts of letting the world know what happens in the South of Italy, telling a truly and insight truth. I am from Naples I know every single person and story that has been mentioned in the book, but to read it has still surprised me! It has given me a view of what there is behind the killings or the street's telling; of how big is this empire in the world, not just in Italy as everyone always thinks. Unfortunately to let the world know about this the only way was to translate this book, which I think it's impossible to translate it to make you all feel the goose bumps.
Please do not read this book if you only reads books expecting a drama story or a romantic ending, etc...this is reality, this is what happens behind your backs on a daily basis, this is about the power and about people above us which preside over the nations.
Don't bother to leave negative reviews about this book simply because you cannot understand, or you find it boring, you will never understand anything like this in life.
I bow to Saviano's courage and I seriously hope there will be more people willing to risk his life to give this kind of knowledge to the world!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A passionate, troubling and at times personally conflicted exposé of the Neapolitan mafia the Camorra, Roberto Saviano examines the origins, the history and the bloody rise to power of the various clans to become a powerful and influential force not just in Campania or Italy but throughout the world. In Gomorrah, in a manner that would force him to go into hiding following publication, he names names, examines the environment that gave rise to the Camorra, and tries to understand the thought processes behind their actions, behaviour and their business practices.

What is revealed is staggering and on a scale almost beyond the ability of the reader to grasp. Saviano shows a more widespread and powerful organisation than the more well-known Sicilian mafia, a confederation of clans and cartels that has its fingers in almost every aspect of world commerce - not just gun-running and drug-dealing, but in everything from the fashion industry (passing off high quality copies with the tacit agreement of the main fashion houses) to electronic goods and even monopolising the waste disposal industry. In a nice symmetry, the novel opens by looking at how all the world's commerce passes through Naples, and ends with a look at how it all comes back to Naples as waste to be illegally disposed of in the surrounding countryside.

Exceptionally well-written in this respect, full of poetic, original and insightful observations (which some clearly find difficult to read) that strive to capture the enormity of the scale of the Camorra's activities, the book can also be quite shocking, describing the killings and clan wars, the battles over territory, the grim tortures and executions carried out to anyone who opposes the System. It's a fascinating look at the manners and morals not just of the Camorra, but of the world today, of big business of the most ruthless sort taken to its ultimate extreme, with no social conscience or long-term outlook. Truly terrifying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject matter
Probably not subject matter that would appeal to all but thoroughly enjoyed this - found level of intensity just right
Published 1 month ago by Ms M Valori
5.0 out of 5 stars Gomorrah!
Excellent book, well written, and no holds barred on descriptions of events. No wonder Roberto Saviano had to get out of Italy after exposing theses events
Published 2 months ago by Satisfied
5.0 out of 5 stars book review
this is the second time i have read this book and am very pleased with my purchase. service and product both excellent
Published 4 months ago by karen
1.0 out of 5 stars Really struggled with this, maybe it was just me ...
Really struggled with this, maybe it was just me, I got 25% thought it and then stopped, first book that has ever beaten me
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars iTALAIN HUSBAND
HE LOVED IT IT IS SO GRAFIC AND IT REALY IS LIKE THAT HE ALSO REMEMBERS A BIT ABOUT NAPLES AND THE SURRONDING TOWNS
Published 5 months ago by ELIZABETH SORRENTINO
5.0 out of 5 stars Ciao.
Excellent writer of books, this one was used and at a fully inclusive cost of 1.50 you cant go wrong
Published 8 months ago by Roberto
3.0 out of 5 stars How to make Italians feel embarassed
I only rated it with three star because after reading it I was ashamed and embarassed. This is a book that describes in depth the dark side of a part of Italy, where desperation a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by enzo beatrice
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Interesting
A fascinating book that I couldn't put down. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in organised crime. (Read the book before you watch the movie!)
Published 10 months ago by Jim T
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good
I had been wanting to read this fr years and was disappointed within 10pages. There was no fluency and it was obvious the translation from Italian to English just wasn't working. Read more
Published 11 months ago by RedKimonoLady
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Italy has such a romantic reputation, but this book opens your eyes. It's both tragic and horrific. The author is now under police protection apparently, I can understand why.
Published 11 months ago by SARAH
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