Feb 10, 10
Read in February, 2010
Disappointing considering all the buzz that it got - probably 2.5 stars - but that might be partially an issue of translation; I can't really qualify this, but it often feels like the translator was too literal in transplanting every word into english, so that some of the style and descriptions that might have flowed in Italian doesn't quite pop here.
Also, I often more curious as to how the Camorra actually performed the operations he talked about. It's very important if they completely control the port, for example, but how do they control it? He talks about the bottom rung, the people on the street, and the top rung, the guys constantly on the run while they run operations and prosecute mob wars, but I didn't get much of a feel for the people in between, the middle managers who actually make a network run. That said, there is much in the book that is worthwhile, and Saviano is at his strongest when he talks about the moral gray areas that such a strong organized crime element has created. The Comorra are so deeply embedded in the functions of italian capitalism that everyone is kind of to blame, and Saviano addresses his own sense of outrage and guilt at that well.
The discussion of the Garment industry in the beginning of the book is probably the best all-around.