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McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,413 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
In this powerful and groundbreaking book, Misha Glenny takes us on a journey through the new world of international organized crime.... photo illustrated...
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by Non Basic Stock Line (first published January 1st 2008)
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Edward
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things I learned from reading this book:
Illegal trade accounts for 20% of global GDP.
If you want a hit done right and cheaply, hire the Serbs.
The fall of communism is the single most important event accounting for the rise of global criminal syndicates.
There are a lot of brothels in Tel Aviv.
Bollywood and the Indian mafia go hand in hand.
Park and wash your money in Dubai.
Nigerian email scams are the real deal (they actually do originate in Nigeria).
A lot of pot comes from Vancouver BC.
People who
...more
Whitaker
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Misha Glenny is a journalist. That tells you what you need to know about the approach that he takes to the topic of globalised organised crime in this book. It's large reportorial, with minimal analysis and no overriding thesis. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view. The advantage of this approach is that it delivers a punchy narrative; the disadvantage is that the subject remains an unwieldy morass. (♪ (view spoiler) ...more
Tim Pendry
I was initially wary of this account of contemporary organised crime. Misha Glenny's 'Fall of Yugoslavia' had frustrated me as good narrative but weak analysis. I need not have been so concerned.

Yes, Glenny still does not quite 'get' that he is being fed a line sometimes by people who have an interest in extending their own power. And, yes, he still trots out liberal-imperial cliches in the short epilogue. However, the vast bulk of the book rises above the ‘given’ ideology.

It provides an excel
...more
Matthew
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essaysjournalism
I'm generally sceptical of books that purport to change one's view of the world, but when one of them does come along, its a welcome surprise. McMafia ranks one of the two best books I've read so far this year -- the other being Alan Weisman's The World Without Us -- in the very personal terms of having expanded my understanding of how the world works and the consequences of actions and events.

Glenny was the Guardian's and BBC's Central Europe correspondent. Realising how intertwined their ecno
...more
Ericka
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my International Studies senior seminar we had to pick a book that dealt with globalization/globalism and present a project on it. Naturally, most people thought to pick the obvious such as The World is Flat. After a quick Amazon search this book popped up and I figured it had to be good because Glenny has always done an excellent job of writing about the Balkans (my love). He did not let me down!

McMafia reviews different aspects of organized crime and how it is spreading. He begins with the
...more
Kotinka
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
McMafia is certainly an apt title for this book; written in an easy-to-consume style, this book munches it's way through global organised crime networks at such a high pace you'll be suffering from indigestion before you've reached the fiftieth page.

Glenny does succeed, as I had hoped before opening the book, in illuminating some of the fascinating, charasmatic and plain scary people behind the world's extraordinary shadow economy. And yet, frustratingly, the book never quite manages to settle
...more
Will James
A very accessible, yet at times needlessly journalistic, look at organised crime since the dawn of globalisation in the 1980s and 1990s. From an IR perspective, it really drives home how important the role this 'shadow economy' plays in global finance and economics, and the pernicious and overwhelming influence organised crime plays in the international economy. Glenny does a great job of reminding the reader that organised crime is not simply a criminal justice issue, but a phenomenon that shou ...more
Jamie
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-for-fun, adult
This book grabbed me from the beginning due to my obsession with all things Eastern European. I learned of a "country" that doesn't really exist (Transnistria, a breakaway of Moldova) Lots about how criminals that you think don't like each other actually use those "hatreds" as excuses to work together (Serbs and Croats and Bosnians, anyone?)

Also, how war on drugs actually keeps organized crime flowing. If it were legal, nearly 60% of organized crime's income would be taken away. Yet another reas
...more
Brian
May 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of depressing look at the rise of the organized crime across the planet. Turns out "free trade" and "globalization" were the best things to happen to the world's mafias since the fall of Communism.

Also, did you know that Americans are bad? Well, they are. Just accept it. This author seems to think that no one else on the planet has to take responsibility for anything except Americans.

Sigh.
Nicholas
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, war-theory
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
saw an interview with the author on Charlie Rose - looks facinating!
http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2008...

And I just watched American Gangster over the weekend!

*****

Well this one has finally arrived from the library and I'm not sure I'm going to make it through before it has to go back. Its interesting reading but very dense and a bit depressing - an unrelenting parade of human greed, cruelty and avarice.

However, it is really interesting in its connections to international politics. Its also f
...more
Natalie Keating
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
This book is EXCELLENT if you're interested in the nasty, nitty-gritty aspects of the criminal underworld – an underworld, that, shockingly enough, affects us regular people more than you realize. Misha Glenny traces the rise of global crime, which is connected with globalization, in diverse places such as Russia and other post-Soviet countries, the Balkans, Colombia, Brazil, Japan, China, and Nigeria, to name a few. He focuses on all aspects of crime: drug trafficking, human trafficking, money ...more
J Higgins
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coupled with the collapse of the USSR, criminal enterprise has become a global issue. Criminal enterprise is what propped up the USSR at the tale end of communism. When the iron curtain fell, many entrepreneurial types people who had made tons of cash by using communism to buy raw materials cheaply and then selling them at market price (sometimes at a 500-1000% markup) expanding their enterprises around the globe. And that's just the first two chapters.

The book touches on many different types o
...more
Garrett Burnett
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
I don't know how he got access to all these thugs and mobsters, but Misha Glenny bravely gathered fascinating facts and stories on the world of organized crime and lived to write about it. McMafia looks primarily at the economics driving the black market. Glenny discusses protection rackets in Eastern Europe, prostitution and money laundering in Dubai, and marijuana trafficking in British Columbia. Glenny starts his examination with the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union (a vo ...more
Krishna Dheeraj
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind Blowing! Must read!
It will change your perception of illicit trade.
Billy
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A work of investigative journalism on global organized crime. Unfortunately, the work suffers from several defects. First, the author has a half-stated thesis that globalization has led to the rise of these global crime syndicates. He provides no evidence for these assertions (and there is not a single reference or footnote to any research on this point anywhere in the work). However, he acknowledges that there has always been organized crime.

Second, like so many "investigative" journalists, the
...more
Lee
Basically a large overview of non-Western organized crime. He takes you from Russia to the Balkans to India, to South America and ends up in China and Japan. He doesn’t go into great detail in any of the areas it’s a very broad overview of Organized crime in the world.
M.i.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's no way to properly describe this, because the length and breath of the topics it touches are staggering. It truly breaks down the underworld and how it coexists often times enabled by the normal world.
Jackie Kropp
Brilliant but boring, DNF.
Bryan Alexander
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, geopolitics
A fascinating survey of recent international crime. Misha Glenny visits a variety of nations, from Japan to Canada, Serbia to Nigeria, Israel to China, exploring how new criminal organizations have emerged and prospered. The end of the Cold War opened borders, and crime natually seized the many resulting opportunities. The Russian mafiya are but one example of ambitious, global crooks.

McMafia is very accessible, structured and styled as a travelogue. We ride along with Glenny as he visits warlor
...more
Jeff
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
This book will make you look differently at everything from caviar to your laptop computer screen. It will break your heart on most pages if you let it. Its tales are dark, cold, often tragic, and the vast majority of its protagonists first-class assholes. Want to be clear -- it's a fascinating read, but fascinating in the same way Powers' A Problem from Hell or Guillermoprieto's Heart That Bleeds are -- the reader is given intimate glimpses from different places around the world at how inhumane ...more
J
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un lottatore bulgaro con catene d’oro al collo taurino e occhiali da sole, dal passato remoto di agente dei servizi segreti, dal passato prossimo di imprenditore di successo e massone, e dal presente in una cassa da morto; un misterioso omicidio di una geofisica nella placida cittadina di Woking nel Surrey; una sequela di personaggi che si muovono tra India, Nigeria, Balcani, Stati Uniti, India, Giappone, Italia, Colombia, Canada e la “fantomatica” Transnistria cancellando la nitidezza dei confi ...more
Kai
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un lottatore bulgaro con catene d’oro al collo taurino e occhiali da sole, dal passato remoto di agente dei servizi segreti, dal passato prossimo di imprenditore di successo e massone, e dal presente in una cassa da morto; un misterioso omicidio di una geofisica nella placida cittadina di Woking nel Surrey; una sequela di personaggi che si muovono tra India, Nigeria, Balcani, Stati Uniti, India, Giappone, Italia, Colombia, Canada e la “fantomatica” Transnistria cancellando la nitidezza dei confi ...more
Alan
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an eye-opening and shocking look at the burgeoning business of international crime. Glenny is an expert travel guide to some of the murkiest and most sinister corners of the world and he fills his account with colorful episodes and anecdotes. Even more valuable, he does a masterful job of explaining the political background and errors that enabled these international criminals to flourish.
Glenny is strongest when discussing the Balkans (his area of expertise) and the former Soviet Union
...more
Chrissy
An extremely fascinating read that suffers the tragic, ironic fate of containing too much information. The first third of the book, devoted to the Balkans (on which the author is an expert), is particularly dense with unfamiliar names, locations, and acronyms, though a general overestimation of the reader's prior knowledge infects the entire book and renders it less accessible than it could otherwise have been.
Perhaps as someone who has never studied history and who has limited knowledge of much
...more
Ben
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glenny makes a fascinating case for how a series of events after the fall of communism, led to global gangsterism. Great fodder here for characters, syndicates, types of crimes, law enforcement, investigative journalism, cover-ups, political maneuvering/manipulation, hits/assassinations, stings, etc. Read about how the state of Macedonia survived in large part due to their explicit involvement in cigarette smuggling. Rogue nations looking for military and weapons technology weren't the only ones ...more
Amar Pai
Despite the stupid title, this is actually quite an exhaustive/meticulously reported account of transnational crime and the "Global Shadow Economy." The book is a bit overwhelming and feels somewhat unfocused, but there's a wealth of detail herein. Among other things, Glenny devotes chapters to:

South African "Numbers" gang
Brasilian prison gangs
Yakuza
Snakeheads & Triads
Colombian coke trafficking cartels of the 80's
Human trafficking out of the Balkans
Russian & 'native' organized crime in I
...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of Globalization, and how these two factors brought about a criminal underworld that puts the Mafia to shame.

I don't want to discourage anyone from reading this book, but I must say in all honesty, it is a very difficult book to read. The content is excellent, however, the author provides WTMI (way too much information). This is very evident in the first quarter of the book and once you get past that it becomes a little easier to r
...more
Anthony
More like 3 1/2 stars. Glenny is an engaging and a (sometimes) funny writer. I certainly give him credit for actually traveling to many of these global troublespots. This book reads like a travelogue which is one of its strengths. As a result, Glenny effectively shows the reader how organized crime has strengthend and NOT weakened after the fall of communism and rise of globalization.

Glenny's journalistic approached (he is a former BBC correspondent) allows for him to sketch out stories in a ge
...more
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“One may denounce corruption in the developing world and the developed world alike, but in the age when billionaires stalk a globe on which 50 percent of its people live on less than two dollars a day, can one really be surprised that customs officers, policemen, judges, politicians, and bureaucrats are often tempted?” 0 likes
“A little of this caviar finds its way to the fish restaurants around Istanbul's Taksim Square, but the bulk is sent on to the United Arab Emirates to be enjoyed by wealthy Westerners and Arabs in the preposterous hotels that have set new standards in unnecessary opulence.” 0 likes
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