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Publisher's Summary

Misha Glenny's groundbreaking study of global organized crime is now the inspiration for an eight-part AMC crime drama starring James Norton (War and Peace), Juliet Rylance, and David Strathairn.  

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the deregulation of international financial markets in 1989, governments and entrepreneurs alike became intoxicated by dreams of newly opened markets. But no one could have foreseen that the greatest success story to arise from these events would be the worldwide rise of organized crime. Today, it is estimated that illegal trade accounts for one-fifth of the global GDP. 

In this fearless and wholly authoritative investigation of the seemingly insatiable demand for illegal wares, veteran reporter Misha Glenny travels across five continents to speak with participants from every level of the global underworld - police, victims, politicians, and even the criminals themselves. What follows is a groundbreaking, propulsive look at an unprecedented phenomenon from a savvy, street-wise guide. 

©2008 Misha Glenny (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Former BBC World correspondent Glenny presents a riveting and chilling journey through the myriad criminal syndicates flourishing in our increasingly globalized world....Readers yearning for a deeper understanding of the real-life, international counterparts to The Sopranos need look no further than Glenny's engrossing study." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 05-14-10

Worthwhile Overview

Misha Glenny, in McMAfia, provides a general overview of the rise of organized crime over the past twenty years. She covers every point of the globe, inserting historical background, economic context, and sociological insights. The book will be an eye opener to those who have yet to be introduced to the dark side as Glenny presents it. The book is well written, very informative and aptly read by John Lee.

Other books available through Audible which I have heard and which flesh out topics covered by Glenny might be of additional interest.

The Informant by Kurt Eichewald - an abridgement telling the story of one person's experience as a whistle blower and the ADM price fixing scandle.

Ivory Ghosts - The story of the ivory trade historically and in contemporary context.

Snakehead - the smuggling of undocumented native Chinese from Fujian province into New York city in the 1980s and 1990s.

Havana Nocturne - English's tale of the mob in pre-Castro Cuba.

Gomorrah - Saviano's gripping account of Naples and the rule of the Cammora crime network. Don't miss this one.

Murder City - Charles Bowden - the decay of Ciudad Juarez and mob activity.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

McDisturbing

Did you know that organized crime is responsible for an estimated 15 to 20% of the world GDP (counting tax evasion)? Or that narcotics accounts for about 70% of criminal profits, with energy, guns, prostitution, and gambling making up the bulk of the rest? I didn't know any of this - and I'm not sure I'll be able to think about "the economy" ever again in the same way. Written by a journalist, but with an insiders perspective and a novelists sense of character and pacing, McMafia is one of the best books I read in 2008.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 04-26-13

Excellent overview of global organized crime

This is a well-written, exhaustively-reported book that takes you in-depth to all parts of global organized crime. I found the section on the Balkans and Russia to be particularly enlightening, not just about the mafia but also in how Glenny explains the overall history of these regions through the lens of lawlessness. I feel like I finally understand what a Russian oligarch actually is.

If anything, the book gets a bit dull towards the end due to the repetiveness of each national history. The same story seems to unfold everywhere, but I only really got bored in the book's final sections.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Ho Hum. Got my credit worth, no more

The story seems to move along at a plodding pace. No striking revelations, in my view. The level of corruption of all these multinational criminal organizations put together does not equal the impact of the sale of citizens privacy information by GOOG and FB, Or the massive corruption of the Food (make you sick) and Drug (make you think you feel better) Administration influence bought by giant Agricultural and Pharmaceutical lobbyists, or the misuse of American blood and treasure by corrupted officials and beneficiaries of Big Oil and the military industrial complex. So, the Japanese and the Czechs / Slavs and Chinese have organized crime, and not just the Sicilians? Big reveal. What we need in USA is the heart and spirit to push the lobbyists as far from Washington as we can physically remove them. That's the real organized crime in my view.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best audiobook I have ever heard!

If you could sum up McMafia in three words, what would they be?

Depressing, well told.

What other book might you compare McMafia to and why?

This book vaguely reminded me of Dope, Inc. in terms of the strong focus on telling a story rather than a litany of facts.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not, but he is perhaps the best I've heard so will be sure to look for other works by him.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Organized crime, coming soon to a town near you.

Any additional comments?

Misha Glenny is an effortlessly brilliant author. Her spectacular phrasing and word choice keep the narrative both beautiful and tight, but she never lets her prose get in the way of the people, places, and events she's describing. She structured this book well, and John Lee's narration is world class.

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

Great reading that puts things into context

Almost demands however that he revisit the topic every few years to update this with the latest leaps that have happened in organized crime.

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

Great

Any additional comments?

So much crime, so much corruption. Author puts all this mayhem into context -- globalization, international and domestic politics. Not sure if Misha Glenny writes for The Economist but it's that style.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lance
  • WAYNESVILLE, OH, United States
  • 03-04-13

Interesting and Scary

If you could sum up McMafia in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing, scary, enraged

If you’ve listened to books by Misha Glenny before, how does this one compare?

n/a

Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

Yes

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me mad at how the world stands by and lets criminals crap on the innocent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read

Would you listen to McMafia again? Why?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

A brilliant book by a brilliant writer. He tackles an extremely important subject and brings to light how the globalization of criminal enterprise may affect the rule of law everywhere. Very well written and is a must read.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Starts off great and veers off track and off topic

What disappointed you about McMafia?

It started off as an impressive investigative work. Reader's accent adds personality to characters and author's interviews and personal accounts are quite interesting. However, the second part of the unabridged audiobook ends up on a seemingly irrelevant rant about the United States government being corrupt, incompetent, racist and outright combative towards other countries and their treatment of drug offenses.

While I disagree, I think the author is more than entitled to express his views about the United States and any of its policies that he takes issue with, but not in a book about organized crime (Unless it directly relates to the material, which in this case, it did not).

After spending 2 credits and being very excited about listening to this piece, I found myself annoyed at the fact that 1 of those credits was entirely wasted.

Another reviewer suggested some other organized crime audiobooks which I will be purchasing, I suggest you do the same and pick up a cheap copy of this book on amazon so you can stop reading when all the nonsense starts and only spend a fraction of what I spent.

Would you ever listen to anything by Misha Glenny again?

No

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

He added great character to the many different personalities explored.

What character would you cut from McMafia?

The author

1 of 2 people found this review helpful