Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Startling yet flawed
on 16 January 2010
Mark Thomas is, without question, the right man for the job. This book gives a startlingly clear insight into exactly what is wrong with the rules governing the arms trade, and it is pitched with the frankness we have come to know and love from Mr T (no, not that one, fool!).
So why the less-than-glowing score? Well, to be blunt, this book is not very well written. Yes, it gets the point across but the style is distractingly clumsy and Mark tries to shoe-horn numerous gags into the text which may sometimes work on stage but just look wrong on the page. The best (or rather worst) example I found was on page 62 of the 2006 edition: "They even quoted an approximate air freight charge to get [guns] to Harare (it's only $3,500 for the 200 guns - one way of course)." Did nobody read that during the editing process and think, "Is that supposed to be funny? In what context would guns getting a return ticket get a laugh?" This may seem like nit-picking but when you encounter many such comic misfires, it starts to get tiresome.
The drawback with this is that I am less inclined to get his other books, so my advice to potential purchasers is to get the "Serious Organised Criminal" DVD or one of the live recordings on CD instead. They truly show how funny this man can be in his natural habitat (in front of an audience).