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The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The Shadow World is the harrowing behind-the-scenes tale of the global arms trade, revealing the deadly collusion that all too often exists among senior politicians, weapons manufacturers, felonious arms dealers, and the military—a situation that compromises our security and undermines our democracy.

Pulling back the curtain on this secretive world, Andrew Feinstein reveals
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 1st 2011)
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Justin Evans
Sep 16, 2013 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
This book is a complete and utter failure. Luckily, it isn't really a book: it's a gigantic finger pointed at the world by Humanity as she slowly, desperately tries to make headway against the absolute idiocy that is the actually existing human species.

I have a hard time imagining anyone who would read this and come away feeling anything other than horrified disgust at the degree to which government, industry and armed forces are tied together, in Europe, the U.K., the U.S., and most horrifical
In summer 2011, having become convinced that the machinations of what Dwight Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex" represents one of the most serious threats to peace and freedom everywhere, I set about trying to find a book on it. Nothing really seemed to deal with that subject directly, although there were books on particular weapons, wars, and companies. Then I found The Shadow World by Andrew Feinstein: it looked like a close fit. As for being up to date, it was not even yet pu ...more
Mikey B.
Aug 31, 2013 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
This is a formidable account of the global arms trade. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s laden with corruption and shoddy characters making millions of dollars. Hardly any of them pose the moral question: “why am I doing this”? What is the purpose of all these deals for faster jets and small arms that number in the hundreds of thousands? The money and the killing fields are ever-expanding.

It’s all outlined, in sometimes excruciating detail, in Andrew Feinstein’s book. The United States is selling,
Dec 11, 2012 Drake rated it really liked it
Feinstein is fearless in documenting the corruption and corrosiveness within the global arms market. I applaud him for gathering this five-star research and documenting it so thoroughly. My only criticism is that the material is so dense that it reads like a legal brief. I figure the reason is to protect Feinstein from any hints of a libel lawsuit, especially since he resides in England where the laws are far harsher than in the States. And considering the book focuses on some of the wealthiest ...more
Anniek Van der helm
Aug 02, 2015 Anniek Van der helm rated it really liked it
Utterly depressing read on arms trade and the state of the world. Descriptions on corruption and promises used to sell arms to the US were reminiscent of the decisions made in the purchase of JSF jets at home (NL). And the story about how the West has enabled African dictators and rebels by supplying weapons to fight their bloody wars makes one wonder about the current retoric regarding refugees and economic migrants in the Lampedusa and Calais events.

The book is definitely worth reading due to
Aug 27, 2016 Srikanth rated it really liked it
Wow. A gripping piece of investigative journalism. The book talks about the global arms trade from all angles.

Past, present, future... Lot of grammatical errors in the post. My advance apologies. I am excited as i write this, as i really wish that you could immediately grab a copy of this book.

Some questions before i start talking about the book.

A. Indians, especially the so called secular libs very loosely use the word Fascists & mass murderer. The characters in this book are borderline ps
May 03, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The book is presented in chronological order, and the money just rises exponentially to a point where eventually my brain can't summon any outrage anymore. Tens of millions of dollars in arms sales to ex-Nazis? That's a lot of money! A £10 bilion aircraft deal from BAE to the Saudis in which providing a $100 million personal jet to a Saudi prince is part of the cost of doing business? Terrible! Viktor Bout (the inspiration for Nicolas Cage in Lord of War) making millions off all the suffering in ...more
Ian Wood
Sep 17, 2016 Ian Wood rated it did not like it
No more free reviews on Amazon-owned Goodreads for which I get nothing in return! From this point on, my reviews will consist of a star rating (one or five, since books are either worth reading or not) and a link to the actual review on my own blog.
This book was a big disappointment for me. I was a great fan of Feinstein's first book, and as such, was very excited to read about his views on the global arms trade. Its not that this book is badly written, or that it is factually incorrect or poorly argued. Its also not that this book is not prescient or relevant. Its just too long.

As such, it loses the reader in an ocean of detail. Feinstein spends a long time providing unnecessary detail on a number of specific arms trade deals, before goin
Jan 23, 2014 Margherita rated it liked it
I agree with the review by Marat... quite a repetitive and broad discussion of the topic. Not only this, but also it seems like the content of Feinstein's research was reached by means of a priori conclusions. All the worlds dilemmas are apparently caused by the flow of arms. He's careful about not explicitly claiming causation, but by the time you get to Cry, Beloved Continent, where he devotes only a few pages to each major African conflict, you more than get it. Conflict + arms sale = ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Marat rated it liked it
quite a broad discussion of the characters in the illicit arms trade - gets a bit repetitive reading the same stories about kickbacks, endless namedropping, payment schemes... the descriptions of deal structures are also quite layman and some deal diagrams look a bit simplistic - so the book doesn't really dig deep into how exactly some of the transactions worked, why certain jurisdictions were chosen etc etc.

but generally, the schemes are interesting and the extensive discussion on BAE and the
Apr 12, 2012 Cheri rated it really liked it
Shelves: topical
The Shadow World is a fascinating look into the world of arms trading. I wouldn't really call this an introduction as it is very long and meticulously notated, but it is thorough. I liked that Feinstein has an insiders voice in the wold of arms trading, having served in the African National Congress, and that he tries to balance the somewhat glamorous world of high finance government and flamboyant arms dealers with the resultant misery and cruelty which the conflicts these arms are destined for ...more
Sophie Fransen
Dec 14, 2012 Sophie Fransen rated it liked it
Bah, dan denk je in het vrije westen te wonen, en dan blijkt de hele wereld een pot nat te zijn. Het wordt geregeerd door het geld. Hoe graai ik het meeste binnen. Wereldvrede is een illusie. Er zijn altijd mensen / overheden (ook westerse), die beide partijen van wapens voorzien om er zelf rijker van te worden.
Wel een interessant boek, maar niet zo mooi om te lezen. Je naieviteit wordt grondig de grond ingeboord.
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
Feb 26, 2013 Jeffrey Cavanaugh rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary investigation into the arms trade, both legal and illegal, spanning multiple decades and continents. After reading this intricately researched book one can't help but walk away with the firm impression that the global arms trade is perhaps the most corrupt legal or quasi-legal industry in the world.
Jostein Moen
May 07, 2015 Jostein Moen rated it it was amazing
A real eye-opener. Funny and deeply disturbing. Feinstein’s book is very convincing, full of well-documented examples, hilarious anecdotes and absurd characters. Nations need defense and defense needs weaponry, but it seems impossible to procure weaponry without dealing with crooks. There is no decent stand to take. But Feinstein’s book makes excellent reading.
Faizan Ali
Feb 26, 2016 Faizan Ali rated it it was amazing
This book was a good read. Andrew Feinstein tends to waffle a lot but it is very detailed and insightful. Books like that are a must read for entrepreneurs and military strategists. If the content of this book depresses you go, I suggest go read a book with happy ending.
Aug 17, 2016 Greg rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, bought
Fascinating look at the legal and illegal arms trade in the world. A must read for anyone concerned about international conflict, America's role in the world, and rampant government spending and corruption.
May 15, 2012 malrubius rated it it was amazing
Audiobook. Absolutely incredible. Amazing depth and breadth of research. Covers everything from Saudi Arabia's US and UK conlonies to the diamond mines of Sierra Leonne ot the Balkans war. The truth is more corrupt and immoral than fiction.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Dec 20, 2011 Brendan McAuliffe rated it it was ok
This should be half as long and written by someone else, but it does contain some interesting information. Skipped over section 3 mostly. ( I was thinking of writing about the arms trade in 2000 or so )
Aug 01, 2013 Omar rated it really liked it
Pretty good book. A lot of research and data on the international arms trade. Written with a strong (critical, at times damning) opinion, but rightfully so. Great reading for someone who is trying to get a foot into arms control.
Mar 04, 2012 Phil rated it it was amazing
Fascinating introduction to one of the world's largest yet least understood industries. Feinstein balances pathos, especially for his native Africa, with extremely detailed research.
Nov 25, 2011 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: current-affairs
Nov 18, 2013 Jan rated it it was amazing
Intrisic and cutting edge investigative journalism, that offers a comprehensial insight in a hidden world
Alex Moskalyuk
Jun 03, 2012 Alex Moskalyuk rated it it was ok
The language is a bit dry, and there's a lot of pasting from other resources, but overall the book provides a good overview of global arms trade market, major players and agents.
Brad Wright
Jan 15, 2012 Brad Wright rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Long and written much like a textbook. The references and re-hash throughout could have been reduced. Detail, citations and material was great.
Steven Meissner
Feb 27, 2012 Steven Meissner rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
Randomly picked up this audio book for the drive home and wow, quite an eye opener! Had no idea some of these things were going on!
Aug 01, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it
This man says it better than I can:
Sep 13, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: scanned-books

Very interesting book overall but I think it could have been half as long. At times it seemed it was more a witch hunt against BAE, perhaps a bit too biased in that respect.
a wealth of information bogged down with an inability to accept UN sanctions and weapons acquisition reform are hindered by all the information presented in this book.
Dec 31, 2012 Jeremy rated it it was amazing

Fascinating, methodical, and extremely difficult at times, The Shadow World opens the light on just how far reaching and devastating the gloabl arms trade is. An important book to say the least.
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Andrew Feinstein was elected an ANC member of parliament in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. He resigned in 2001 in protest at the ANC government’s refusal to allow an unfettered investigation into an arms deal that was tainted by allegations of high-level corruption. His political memoir, After the Party: A personal and political journey inside the ANC, was published in 2007.

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“President Carter’s re-election campaign in 1979 commenced amid spiralling global oil prices. With Bandar’s help, Carter drafted a letter to Fahd requesting Saudi Arabia to put more oil on the market.69 Fahd responded: ‘Tell my friend, the president of the United States of America, when they need our help, they will not be disappointed.’70 He promised to do ‘anything in his power externally or internally to ensure your re-election’, since this was ‘essential if there was ever to be a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’.71 This assistance, which saw Saudi oil trading $4–5 a day below other suppliers, cost the kingdom $30m to $40m a day. In gratitude, Carter invited Bandar to the White House in early December 1979, where they discussed Middle East politics and the US–Saudi relationship.” 1 likes
“the biggest problem the Saudis had to contend with was the inadequacies of Airwork, the providers of the training and maintenance contracts. The company’s commitments proved beyond its resources. The Ministry of Defence was compelled to become more deeply involved. Ex-RAF pilots were recruited to fly the planes, becoming, in effect, sponsored mercenaries to the Saudis; and eventually the British government had to set up its own organization in Riyadh, jointly with the Saudis, to supervise the programme. What began as an apparently simple commercial sale ended up, like many future arms deals, as a major government commitment.” 0 likes
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