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Publisher's Summary

“A must-read for anyone wanting to better understand what has already happened here in America and what lies ahead if Trump is reelected in November.... A magisterial account of the money and violence behind the world’s most powerful dictatorships.” (Washington Post

In this shocking, meticulously reported work of narrative nonfiction, an award-winning investigative journalist exposes "capitalism’s monster" - global kleptocracy - and reveals how it is corrupting the world around us.

They are everywhere, the thieves and their people. Masters of secrecy. Until now we have detected their presence only by what they leave behind. A body in a burned-out Audi. Workers riddled with bullets in the Kazakh Desert. A rigged election in Zimbabwe. A British banker silenced and humiliated for trying to expose the truth about the City of London. 

They have amassed more money than most countries. But what they are really stealing is power. 

In this real-life thriller packed with jaw-dropping revelations, award-winning investigative journalist Tom Burgis weaves together four stories that reveal a terrifying global web of corruption: the troublemaker from Basingstoke who stumbles on the secrets of a Swiss bank, the ex-Soviet billionaire constructing a private empire, the righteous Canadian lawyer with a mysterious client, and the Brooklyn crook protected by the CIA. 

Glimpses of this shadowy world have emerged over the years. In Kleptopia, Burgis connects the dots. He follows the dirty money that is flooding the global economy, emboldening dictators, and poisoning democracies. From the Kremlin to Beijing, Harare to Riyadh, Paris to the White House, the trail shows something even more sinister: the thieves are uniting. And the human cost will be great. 

©2020 Tom Burgis (P)2020 HarperAudio

What listeners say about Kleptopia

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to hear, poor narrator. But valuable

The narrator said in the introduction that there was a pdf file with the audiobooks with additional information. I cannot find any such file, but maybe if there is one it would make it possible to make up for the very hard-to-understand narrator.

A person who is fluent in the language of international money movement and political intreague could possibly understand the book, but maybe would not need it. I am trying to remember all the background information and history, while learning about a world I only have begun to realize existed.

It is probably vital to take the effort to digest this information, but that pdf seems essential.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator was almost impossible to understand.

The subject matter seemed very interesting, but I could only understand three quarters of what the narrator said. His delivery was rapid and jerky and fluctuated from normal volume to nearly inaudible. I'll return the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Lazy Journalism in long narrative form

Got this because of my work in the field. There are a few nuggets occasionally but repeatedly the author engages in analytical leaps attempting to tie disparate groups and circumstances to a global cabal - and even DJT for good measure. (Are we really rehashing Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier?)

The author applies a Kevin Bacon game methodology to his reporting without describing the underlying schemes themselves which is the most important part of financial crime but takes effort to describe.

Perhaps it would be better in written form. That said, recommend pass.

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USA edition is missing PDF

In the introduction, the author explains that an accompanying PDF provides info on his sources of information. Be aware that the US edition of the audiobook does NOT come with this file, though in some other countries it is included.

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Jaw Dropping and Eye Opening

Tom Burgis has caught onto something big, and terrifying, that may shape all our fates with this book. It should be required reading for anyone interested in international relations, political science, or contemporary history.

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Critical Insight Into the Global Power Structure

This book should be a must read for anyone wishing to make sense of the global power structure and why various leaders act the way they do. It also explains why the 1% controls 99% of the global wealth and how this translate to power, secrecy, and the need to control the public narrative for so much of what we see in the news.

The major drawback is the narration. The author constantly trails off in his narration making understanding very challenging. He also uses so many abbreviations and names without reminders that I quickly became unable to link uses later in the book to the prior foundation that is key to many points. However, it is worth slogging through to understand the significant connections to how and why powerful world political and business leaders perform their jobs in furtherance of expanding their wealth and power.

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Complex but fantastic

It’s a very deep story with a lot of players. It can be difficult to keep all the details straight and remember who is who, especially considering many of the names are long and unusual to someone in the West. It is not a good book to listen to while multitasking. The detail requires a high degree of focus. Despite the challenges, it is very well written and very informative. The complexity and thoroughness should be viewed as one of the best aspects of the book. I did not take notes, but would probably recommend doing so as you progress through the story to maintain clarity. Tom’s narration is great. Instantly one of my favorite books.

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Brilliant

To Whom It May Concern,
This book is meticulously researched and concisely told. At the conclusion of the book it is so very sad that the contents are factual and needed to be exposed. The author makes a point in summation of how many people, of the myriad of countries who were looted by a handful of criminals, could have benefitted from wealth rightfully theirs, and potentially how much better our world could have been. The corruption reaches the highest levels, even our very own, and rots everything it touches. He is courageous for exposing this world wide travesty and I highly recommend it.
Regards,
Sam Thompson

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An important, enjoyable read

This book presents a sobering and illuminating picture of the rising trend among the internationally wealthy to hide power away by turning it into laundered money, and then to reconstitute it into power when its origins have been scrubbed clean.

The author is a surprisingly effective reader, and the narrative style of the book -- telling this history as a story rather than an accounting of names and dates -- makes it very enjoyable to listen to.

Highly recommended for those who want perspective on recent events and their origins over the last forty years.

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eye opening, entertaining, and informative.

I would suggest that every person read this book and see how the world really operates