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McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime [Paperback]

Misha Glenny
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Feb 2009

Have you ever bought a pirate DVD? Taken drugs? Fallen for a phishing scam?

Organised crime is part of all our worlds - often without us even knowing. McMafia is a journey through the new world of international organised crime, from gunrunners in Ukraine to money launderers in Dubai, by way of drug syndicates in Canada and cyber criminals in Brazil.

During his investigation into the dark side Misha Glenny speaks to countless gangsters, policemen and victims of organized crime, and also explores the ferocious consumer demands for drugs, trafficked women, illegal labour and arms across five continents.

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McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime + DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia + Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099481251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099481256
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Like a journalistic Indiana Jones he has travelled the world in search of his prey, displaying impressive stamina, intellectual chutzpah and physical bravery on the way.... This is the most important non-fiction book of the year so far - organised crime's version of Fast Food Nation" (Mail on Sunday)

"To be regarded as one of the essential non-fiction works of our time. Exhaustively researched and reported, it's sobering in the extreme, but also riveting, filled with exotic locations, staggering facts, acts of incredible brutality and colourful, if deadly, characters.... Anyone with even the smallest interest in how the world really works should read this book" (GQ)

"The great merit of Glenny's book is that it does not just chronicle the foul deeds of international crime syndicates. It probes the imbalances and injustices that propel people and nations towards criminal behaviour... This, racy, well-researched and highly entertaining book should be essential reading for law reformers everywhere" (Irish Times)

"His message is that the global marketplace has empowered criminals on a huge and terrifying scale.... He tells a grisly story very well... A pacey, riveting, eye-opening account" (Sunday Times)

"This is a big, noble book by a proper reporter who travels the world and gives the Mr Bigs of global crime a poke in the eye... uncomfortable but compelling reading... You must read it" (Literary Review)


'a chilling world tour of organised crime.'

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Title, Pity About the Cover 22 Dec 2009
As other reviewers have pointed out, the cover is awful, must qualify for the accolade of Worst Cover of the Decade. One reason why it's so bad is because it gives a very poor picture of what the book is about. Whereas in contrast the title gives a concise and snappy description of exactly what the book is about, which is essentially the internationalisation and branding of high-level crime in the first decade of the 21st century - a McDonalds-ing of Mafia-ism, very clever.
You really need to read the book to get an idea of precisely what this means and how it has come about.
I found Glenny's writing a bit disjointed and his grammar in need of some good copy-editing in places, so this is not an elegant or satisfying read, but he makes his points compellingly, it is journalistic information above all else.
Whether his facts are thoroughly accurate, how am I to know? But whether they are are not, there's lots here to learn and ponder over.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Global Underworld 13 Aug 2009
This exploration of the rise of international crime - a kind of sinister version of globalisation - had me riveted. Glenny is an experienced journalist and knows how to tell a story well, capturing the reader from the off with an account of a bizarre, seemingly random shooting in the Home Counties, using this to illustrate how the old boundaries of organised crime are breaking down and shifting to allow new patterns to emerge. It's a judicious mix of facts and figures, enlivened with real life material to keep the pages turning. A warning though: some of the latter are quite disturbing. Ludmilla's story of how she was duped into the sex trade by a phone call from a friend cost me more than one sleepless night, for example and there are others almost as lurid.

Glenny's work illustrates how crime, like any other business, expands into new markets as they emerge. The world is a smaller place and not just for tourists. Nowadays, you're as liable to be ripped off by scammers from Nigeria or Brazil as have your phone pinched by the friendly neighbourhood mugger. On a sober sidenote, he supplies at least two examples of how the removal of the "right" kind of crime lord - men who supply law and order as well as drugs and counterfeit DVDs - only leads to chaos and the emergence of a hundred less desirable replacements. Sometimes, leaving well enough alone is the best solution it seems.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - Truly awful cover! 12 Mar 2009
I can't think what the publishers were thinking by putting such a garish, tasteless cover on this book. Are they trying to fool those who buy trashy crime novels? Anyone caught out in this way will possibly find the going a bit tough, even though this is an exteremely accessible book to those with half a brain (I modestly include myself in this category!)

The problem though is that possibly like me, anyone with said half a brain will be instantly put off by the cover and not give it a go.

Well let me assure you; This book is a must read if you have any interest at all in current world events, real crime or just great journalism.

This is scary stuff and serves to make the point that just about everything you touch nowadays is tainted somewhere along the line by death and corruption.

Although written before the current credit crunch, mauch of the content here is uncannily prescient about where the world was going and may yet go.

And there are some great stories in here for those "watercooler moments". Outdo those going on about "The Wire" with some real life horror stories out of this book.

I am giving this book 6 stars but it has to lose one for THAT cover so see how I get to give this a 5 star review?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Took on holiday and read it far more quickly than I usually do a non-fiction book.
It was well written and researched (although it did seem to be partisan in approach, that didn't bother me too much - it wasn't a doctoral thesis after all). The subject matter was gritty and well explained and the links between the sections were well thought out and moved the narrative on in a logical fashion.
However, the sections seemed quite disparate and none of the groups or activities looked at really seemed to have been investigated in a great deal of depth. It left me wanting more - which is a good thing. Don't read it for encyclopeadic knowledge on international crime. Do read it to get an over-view and a well-argued view-point.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting though lacking structure 16 Mar 2009
This provides a good geography lesson of global organised crime and deals with about 40 countries, though many peripherally. The book intersperses detail with policy and it mostly works, though oddly the author demurs from providing a description of how triads dealt with Brazilian informers and other deliberate narratives are also short on detail. There were some oddities such as the omission of maps and the photograph of Mia Mista is not specifically referred to in the book itself. The book feels like it lacks structure as it sashays across the globe and the section on the future of organised crime is tiny. The staged cover photographs grated after a while but all in all it is a good engrossing book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not A Book to Judge by It's Cover 10 Jun 2009
By Maximus
I nearly didn't buy this book because of the cover which as has already been said looks like some trashy crime novel but I recognised Misha Glenny as a known journalist and as I was at an airport with no rush began to flick through the pages. I am pleased I did; it is a really interesting book, I enjoyed it immensely. The book covers organised crime across the world in a reasonably serious way everything from Gold smuggling to people trafficing and if you work in and/or have an interest in world finance then it helps explain an awful lot of what you see going on in places like Dubai, Switzerland and the various offshore centres around the world. May also make you more careful about your use of computers. I particularly found the discussion and reasons for the rise in the Russian and Eastern European Mafias interesting and the idea that these organisations provide structure and a service to the community they operate in where the state has failed to meet those needs is compelling. Get past the cover and it's a very good book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars its little wonder the world is in a pretty total mess
Took one look at this paperback and decided that I would not buy, but then noticed the author MIsha Glenny, and changed my mind, he was a seriously authoritative and interesting... Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. Haworth
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Dark Ages
This book is a brilliant elucidation of the neo liberal experiment known as Globalisation and all its consequences........and it aint finished yet. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Martin Daly
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading
Not a perfect book, but very well written, gripping, and at times eye opening. It does a nice job of putting together a string of narratives and showing to what extent organized... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Panayotis Gavras
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
I've read similar books before, generally they've been a collection of anecdotes from various characters in the criminal underworld and the effects and repercussions of their... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ash
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of innocence
A book anyone should read if they are concerned about how the world really operates... depressing though it is. My eyes were opened, the weight of naivety lifted. Excellent.
Published 7 months ago by Brian Morris
3.0 out of 5 stars McMafia: Good if you like Eastern-Bloc politics
I purchased McMafia for a book review assignment however i read half of it and became a bit disillusioned with all the politics described. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Katfish0309
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, terrible cover
The cover is awful. What were they thinking? The book is a terrific run around the world looking at the development of criminal gangs and their impact on the States in which they... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. David B. Austin
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting study of a secretive organisation.
This book examines pretty comprehensively the way in which secret organisations can wreak havoc in our day-to-day lives. Well written and highly illuminating.
Published 11 months ago by malcolm hart
5.0 out of 5 stars McGreat read
What an amazing book. Just incredible. All the more so because it is factual. I suppose u couldn't make this stuff up it's so wild!! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Pen Name
2.0 out of 5 stars Had high hopes
Was looking forward to reading this but found it dull and boring. Ending up buying The Railway Man instead, which turned out to be a great decision.
Published 14 months ago by shavy
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