This book is a MUST read for anyone interested in politics, law enforcement, the state and their involvment with the media - the dangers of this disatrous mix is sharply brought to the fore in this tour de force. Stille's book is so well written, meticulously researched and easy to read, although full of overwhelming numbers of facts and containing a cast of so many nefarious characters, including Mafia henchman, et al.
Italy being Italy has either willingly or impotently, unwillingly put up with this state of affairs and is so innured to it that I believe that the majority of the population is unaware of the danger or even care for that matter; but, the 'dumming down' of news content and the arts, the self-serving denial of anyone's views but those of the owners of the media is absolutely terrifying; the unpaid taxes, off-shore accounts, building wherever any one feels inclined, the silencing, usually by blackmail or other nefarious tactics, of a few lone voices trying to put an end to corruption - all this adds up to a total dispoilation of the nation of Italy.
However, as Stille explains Italy's commerce is very largely made up of small family businesses who have a vested interest in, for want of a better phrase, 'fiddling the tax man', and they are inclined to look upon anyone else doing the same, or worse, as being as entitled as they are.
In any event, Berlusconi's tactics run on very similar lines to those of a certain
Rupert Murdoch, who, in fact is/was an associate of his, or even closer. Who knows? I believe that the British media has suffered a similar fate through HIS dealings.
What I DO know is that Berlusconi is one of the most dangerous man of the 20/21st century and Stille's book abundantly makes this very clear - as I write this, Berlusconi is now retired (November 2011). Let us fervently hope so - but how long will Italy take to recover - if ever?