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Londongrad: From Russia with Cash;The Inside Story of the Oligarchs Paperback – 8 Jul 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007356374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007356379
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description

Review

‘A magnificently emetic account of the lifestyles of the Russki oligarchs…’ Rod Liddle, Sunday Times

‘Meticulously researched…a racy and intriguing read’ Daily Express

“an important and fascinating story… gripping” - Sam Leith, the Daily Mail

“A gripping chronicle of the decadence, danger and sheer power that defined a phenomenon… thoroughly researched… a compelling read” - Jeremy Hazlehurst, City AM

“a racy and alarming investigation” - the Economist

From the Author

Stewart Lansley, co-author of Londongrad

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm an academic turned journalist, living in south London. Spend far too much time in front of this computer screen, but relax playing tennis, gardening, reading and walking. Love nothing more than exploring other parts of the world.

2. What books have had a lasting impact on you?
Arther Kostler, Darkness at Noon. Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities. Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance. Allister Sparks, The Mind of South Africa.

3. Why do you write?
Good question. Mostly, it seems, for love.

4. As an author, what are you most proud (or embarrassed) of writing? Poor Britain, a book that has had enormous influence across the world in the way we perceive and measure poverty.

5. What is your biggest failure?
There are so many, it's difficult to pinpoint one!

6. When you were a kid, what did you think were you going to be when you grew up?
A fireman.

7. If you could go anywhere in time for one day, where would you go and why?
Yalta, February 1945 where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt carved up the spoils of the impending defeat of Hitler - the key moment in 20th century history which defined the post-war world

8. Do you like reading on e-books?
‘Fraid not.

9. Who are the five people, living or dead, you'd invite to a party? Roman Abramovich, Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin and keep the tape recorder on.

10. What are you working on at the moment? (doesn't have to be a literary answer)
The redistributional impact of the recession and a book on the post-war history of the rich.



Mark Hollingsworth, co-author of Londongrad

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Likes: Humour, politics, music, sports, eccentrics, movies, stories. Dislikes: Being approached in the street by strangers, speaking in public, wasting time, racists, being interrupted, shopping.

2. What books have had a lasting impact on you?
'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck. '1984' by George Orwell

3. Why do you write?
Curiosity, fascination with language and I prefer to communicate through writing rather than talking. Besides, I cannot think of an alternative way of making a living!

4. As an author, what are you most proud (or embarrassed) of writing? 'The Ultimate Spin Doctor' (a biography of Tim Bell). 'Saudi Babylon' (about the Saudi Royal Family). Several articles in 'ES' magazine (London Evening Standard)

5. What is your biggest failure?
Being too slow and allowing myself to be distracted by other writing and journalistic projects while writing a book.

6. When you were a kid, what did you think were you going to be when you grew up?
Absolutely no idea

7. If you could go anywhere in time for one day, where would you go and why?
The civil rights march on Washington DC in 1963 to hear Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech, because of being present in a moment of history.

8. Do you like reading on e-books?
Definitely not, but happy to sell them.

9. Who are the five people, living or dead, you'd invite to a party?
Peter Cook, Lenny Bruce, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana and Miles Davis

10. What are you working on at the moment? (doesn't have to be a literary answer)
Profile of the Rothschild family --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Margot Harrison on 8 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
I remember The Times coverage of the death of Steven Curtis in a helicopter crash. This book explains what lead up to Steven being involved with the Russian Oligarchs, his belief that he was in danger and an account of the crash and his funeral.It explains just how the Oligarchs made their money and how they chose to spend it.It is an interesting insight into the Russian mentality, their willingness to kill political opponents wherever they might be living and the attitude of the British Government to requests to live in this country.
It also details the involvement of some members of both the Government and Opposition with the Oligarchs.
A good if disturbing read.Well worth reading.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Horn on 12 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
Lord Acton was right. The more the lolly the more the corruption. That is just one of the several inferences of this book that is not spelt out but left to the reader to connect the dots. The dots though are generally so close together that it is scarcely necessary to connect them. It is a subtle piece of writing because superficially it is racy journalism but some of the dots are pixel size so that the subliminal message comes out as clearly as if it were engraved in stone.

The authors do not present a polemic. They simply recount facts which we may assume are true because no overpaid lawyer has got an injunction to prevent their publication. The book deals with the accumulation of staggering amounts of personal wealth by a handful of ex-Soviet wheeler-dealers (Messrs Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Fridman, Gusinsky, Abramovich, Deripaska and Patarkatsishvili among others) soon after the collapse of the USSR and their gross behaviour in squandering it on themselves and their friends. The crudity of their lives reflects their extraordinarily low cultural level. They have the tastes of gangsters, and not just the tastes. They justify their grasping greed by saying it was OK because it was legal. Adolf Hitler and his merry entourage were 'legal'. Morality and law are not the same thing. To acquire, by whatever means, huge amounts of the property of the Russian people then to squirrel the proceeds away in foreign havens to protect it from taxation and being returned to its rightful owners is immorality on an industrial scale.

The main focus of this book is London where the oligarchs feel safe because courts seem reluctant to extradite them even though they are charged with serious crimes in their own country.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jonbev on 7 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
I totally agree with a couple of other reviewers here in that this is a poorly researched book,riddled with inaccuracies,eg Abramovich's purchase of the Hotel du Cap - Eden Roc in the South of France which of course never happened.It appears to rely on a large number of newspaper articles,totally lacking in original research.There are far better books that have been written on modern day Russia and its oligarchs and indeed you would get a far better insight into some of the characters in this book by simply surfing the web !
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Arthur on 14 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up out of curiosity, being neither an expert on the subject, or familiar with other works by the writers. In this context it suited my needs perfectly. The book is not an academic tome but is obviously written by skilful and experienced journalists who know how to engage a reader. Judging by the bibliography, it looks like much of the research is second hand but you cannot fault the writers' attention to detail and confidence with the subject. One criticism might be that the writers' seem a tad schizophrenic as they can't quite decide whether to adopt an ethical moral tone or enjoy the salaciousness of it all. But then I suspect most of us suffer from this dichotomy! Whilst I'm sure there are more serious and academically rigorous books on this subject, I doubt any of them are as enjoyable or as readable as this one. I'd definitely recommended the book for those who are new to the subject.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir on 10 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I had a rather double feeling about this book. On one hand it looked like a very interesting journalist piece with some good work. It's always interesting to read about extraordinary people, even if they are Russian oligarchs, with criminal or almost-criminal part.

What I hated about it: once you actually start liking the storyline of interesting and incredibly complicated international financial schemes, it falls into boring listing of assets: how many square feet and acres houses they have, the size of the boats and materials used. They could have managed to transfer the idea of how rich the Russians in a couple of pages and focus on their stories rather than enumeration of properties. But the authors choose to remind us about it throughout the whole books. Apartments, houses, villas, designers' names, cars, helicopters. It very quickly bores the hell out of you.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Copycreate on 12 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
Unsurprisingly for a book written by journalists, Londongrad has the feel of a newspaper article about it.. albeit a very long one. The basic premise, namely the exodus of rich Russians from Moscow to London and the obscene wealth that surrounds their lifestyles, is interesting and relevant given the knock on effects for the UK - in terms of house prices, sales of luxury goods, and of course crime - covered in the chapter focusing on the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. At times there seems to be a glut of information on just how long a yacht is, how many cars this oligarch has and exactly how much each of his 35 homes cost (although it's amazing how the information lures you in) and in some ways I wish it was a newspaper article - i.e. a shorter read that still conveyed the salient facts. If you are particularly interested in the topic, or have plenty of time on your hands to read then this is a great book to read... if time is short and you have just a passing interest then it's possibly not for you.
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