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McMafia: Crime without Frontiers [Hardcover]

Misha Glenny
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 2008
* In this powerful and groundbreaking book, Misha Glenny takes us on a journey through the new world of international organised crime. * For three years, he has been recording the stories of gun runners in Ukraine, money launderers in Dubai, drug syndicates in Canada, cyber criminals in Brazil, racketeers in Japan and many more. * During his investigation of the dark side, he has spoken to countless gangsters, policemen and victims of organised crime while also exploring the ferocious consumer demand for drugs, trafficked women, illegal labour and arms across five continents. * The journey begins with an appalling and inexplicable murder in England's stockbroker belt and continues with stories that are often horrifying, sometimes inspiring, usually bizarre and occasionally funny. But together they build a breathtaking picture of the shadow economy that may now account for up to 20% of the world's GDP. * Usually the preserve of sensationalist reporting in the tabloid press, organised crime has seeped into our lives in so many ways and often without our knowledge. * This consistently riveting account unveils the nature of crime in today's world but it also offers profound insights into the pitfalls of a globalisation where the rules dividing the legal from the illegal are often far from clear. * It also argues that conventional policing methods are no longer appropriate to deal with a problem whose roots lie in global poverty and the ever widening divisions between rich and poor.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd; First Edition First Impression edition (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224075039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224075039
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Required Reading' -- The Times

'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

'excellent book.. a terrifying dissection of the world in which we live - or rather its, for the most part, hidden underbelly' -- Evening Standard

`Eye-opening examination of international crime and its consequences' -- Sunday Times

`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' -- Mail on Sunday

`Misha Glenny made his reputation as a BBC reporter during the break-up of the Soviet empire and in the Balkan wars. Those experiences introduced him to the murky, bloody, terrifyingly successful operations of the East European mafias, dominated by Russians. For this book, Glenny has extended his researches worldwide. He describes gang operations in Bombay, sex slavery and money-laundering in Israel, the Canadian marijuana trade, Nigerian investment scams, Brazilian cyber-crime and much else. His message is that the global marketplace has empowered criminals on a huge and terrifying scale.... He tells a grisly story very well' -- Sunday Times Culture

`This is a well sustained narrative dealing seamlessly, if dismayingly, with the tricks, motives and rewards of the new global underworld'
-- Independent on Sunday

"This is a well sustained narrative dealing seamlessly, if dismayingly, with the tricks, motives and rewards of the new global underworld and the impotence of governments in tackling it successfully" -- Cal McCrystal, Independent on Sunday

`Beg, buy or borrow a copy - just don't steal it'
-- Word Magazine

`it is a substantial book that features, among a gallery of extraordinary crime scenes, some of the most compelling analyses of the Balkan tragedy and the creation of a post-Soviet economy' -- The Observer

About the Author

Misha Glenny is a distinguished journalist and historian. As the Central Europe Correspondent first for The Guardian and then for the BBC, he chronicled the collapse of communism and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. He has won several major awards for his work, including the Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting. The author of three books on Eastern Europe and the Balkans, he has been regularly consulted by the US and European governments on major policy issues and ran an NGO for three years, assisting with the reconstruction of Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo. He now lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing but enlightening 3 April 2008
By Mr. N. T. Baxter VINE VOICE
Living in a 'nice', law abiding country like the UK it's easy to be ignorant of, or turn a blind eye to the darker side of life that most people on earth have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

My wife is Russian and her family lived through the collapse of the USSR and the period they refer to as 'The Lawless Times' in the early 90s. Speaking to them about it brings home just how tough you had to be to survive back then, and it's no surprise that some people rose to the top to fill the vaccuum left when the forces of law and order collapsed.

Tough people took what they could, weaker people suffered - along with their families. We're now living with the consequences of this collapse and the following rise of criminal gangs to the size multi-national corporations.

This book covers much more than the collapse of the communist states, and shows how the networks of criminality have linked up across continents and become powerful, sophisticated money making machines that thrive on the suffering of others.

Eye opening and a little frightening, this book will change your perspective on the world and will help you understand how the 'nice' countries like ours are the ones that have made these enormous empires possible through things like our demand for recreational drugs and sex with foreign prostitutes.

very well written and highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but true... 11 Jun 2008
This a frightening but fascinating book, which brings together the keen-eyed journalism Glenny displayed in the 1990s, with a tale of the kind of organised crime that touches us all, whether we know it or not.

Glenny tours the world, and wisely does not try his hand at thriller-writing as he does so. The stories, and their contexts, are fascinating enough to be simply laid out before us. In each case, the most compelling parts are the history and analysis of how that kind of crime took off, in that place and that time. While there are undercurrents that are common throughout, what stands out starkly are the location and era-specific details of the conditions that allow major crime to flourish. I would have liked to have seen something more about how these national and international crime groups link together; however, given the amount of detail at his disposal, perhaps the author is saving this for his next book.

The level of detail is impressive, and the sources authoritative. Glenny has managed to bring in a tremendous amount of information, without leaving the reader feeling swamped and overwhelmed. The book should be compulsory reading for anyone aspiring to senior levels of government. Because what strikes this reader, is how in each case the myopia, stupidity, connivance and outright greed of governments have created the conditions for organised crime to grow and thrive.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dazzling exposition of modern organised crime 22 April 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In McMafia, Misha Glenny meets some of the underworld's villains and scammers and puts a human face to the vast conspiracies which we hear so much about, but ultimately know so little. He is an entertaining, affable guide, a meticulous researcher and, it would appear, a brave journalist. He writes with candour, incisiveness and occasional humour. This is a very different work to his books on the Balkans, but the skills that made them such good books are much in the evidence here as well.

Glenny takes us on a world tour of global crime: from the insidious backstreets of the ex-Soviet bloc, where James Bond-esque baddies lurk in every corner, to Nigeria, Brazil, Japan and China. Although the chapter titles - such as `The Future of Organised Crime' - suggest a thematic approach, it is more geographic than that, which actually makes it all the more readable.

My only problems are with the title - which suggests that the global underworld somehow replicates himself everywhere and is anodyne for it, when Glenny shows that it is not - and the lack of over-arching hypothesis - this isn't a book about the globalisation of crime, we are told at the end, when the preceding 400 pages would suggest that it is.

But as part travelogue, part social history this is nevertheless an excellent read. It is an urgent, compelling book, which I read over only a couple of days and would recommend to anyone with the vaguest interest in organised crime.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alarming and intriging 31 Mar 2008
By Reader
An excellent expose and account of what is happening in our world today.
We are all culpable and this is the frightening part. Read the book to see why and how. It's very well researched, and has the quality of a first rate thriller.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McMafia - powered by illegal drugs 24 April 2008
McMafia is an argument for the legalisation of drugs. Without explicitly demanding such a thing, it gives the best possible argument for legalising all narcotics; that drug money is the engine of the McMafia.
Misha Glenny covers many more McMafia activities; cigarette smuggling, investment scams, slavery, fake goods, intimidation etc, but behind them all lies drugs and the massive profits they engender.
He points out that we in the west are largely to blame. We buy the fake DVDs, hire the slaves and turn a blind eye to the sweatshops. Mainly, we buy the drugs.
The author's point is that so long as the drug barons grow fat on human misery, so will the McMafia thrive.
A riveting read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative!
A truly excellent, and fascinating read, I found it unputadownable, I recommend it to anyone interested in the global industry that is crime.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. C. J. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Title has been changed
This is the same book as "McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime"
by the same author, so dont make my mistake.
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by Najeeb Khan
4.0 out of 5 stars McMafia
A very denseley written piece of investigative writing. It makes you wonder who hasn't been corrupted and what is the point of the rule of law. Read more
Published on 22 May 2009 by Susan Moss
4.0 out of 5 stars "Mafia "recent history
This book help us to understand the history of the last twenty yeards, and the events that originate the organized crime. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2009 by Jose Sampaio
3.0 out of 5 stars McMafia: Crime without Frontiers
A well written summary of the types of global organised crime. Readable but not definitive.
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by Dr. Ian Oliver
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but could have gone deeper
It's a good read. Just wish he had gone a little deeper himself, and not relied so much on previously published material. 3.5 stars!
Published on 25 Jan 2009 by Brian SW
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Compelling and Horrifying, Not to be Missed
In the form of "McMafia", Misha Glenny has written a first-rate book on the world of organised crime. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2008 by THE Music Enthusiast
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping thoughtful read
An eye-opening look at how the globalisation of organised crime effects day-to-day life-whether we like it or not. Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2008 by 1895
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and jampacked full of interesting facts!
I bought this book after reading a serialisation in a paper, and found it a really fascinating read. Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2008 by Orangutan
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just about the drugs!!
Ok so, like many before me, I guess I have to establish some credentials before I review.......... I have worked both inside and against (at the same time! Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2008 by The March Hare
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