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Publisher's Summary

A former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff explains how government's oldest problem is its greatest destabilizing force. Thieves of State argues that corruption is not just a nuisance; it is a major source of geopolitical turmoil. Since the late 1990s, corruption has grown such that some governments now resemble criminal gangs, provoking extreme reactions ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion.

Through intensive firsthand reporting, Sarah Chayes explores the security implications of corruption throughout our world: Afghans returning to the Taliban, Egyptians overthrowing the Mubarak government - but also redesigning Al Qaeda - and Nigerians embracing both evangelical Christianity and Islamist terrorist groups like Boko Haram. The pattern, moreover, pervades history. Canonical political thinkers such as John Locke and Machiavelli, as well as the great medieval Islamic statesman Nizam al-Mulk, all named corruption as a threat to the realm.

In a thrilling argument that connects the Protestant Reformation to the Arab Spring, Chayes asserts that we cannot afford not to attack corruption, for it is a cause, and not a result, of global instability.

©2015 Sarah Chayes (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Fantastic insight

This book could have been merely good, if the author simply shared her first-hand experiences with corruption. Instead, she went beyond by researching historic writings on corruption and drawing parallels to current day. In addition, she also gives many reasonable options for fighting corruption moving forward.

While some reviewers have found the narration to be "shrill," I found it had extra weight when the thoughts were stressed as the author intended. Some statements are meant to have impact and the voicing should reflect that.

All around this is an outstanding book. It moves beyond merely reporting on facts, to understanding causes, and recommending solutions.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A Must Read Book

Would you consider the audio edition of Thieves of State to be better than the print version?

I like the narrator -- she happens to be the author -- but have not read the printed book.

What does Sarah Chayes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It is a powerful, instructive account of reality. It should be required reading for us all.

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

Nothing to laugh about, but it is certainly "for to weep".

Any additional comments?

Wake up, everybody.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Insider's Perspective

Where does Thieves of State rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In terms of educating me, Thieves of State rises head and shoulders above other books I've listened to. I am much better informed about radical Islam, the U.S.'s approach to fighting terrorism, and the lack of understanding that our policy reflects.

What does Sarah Chayes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

When I've read other novels and non-fiction that address our current world events, I rely on the knowledge I gathered from Chayes' book to validate other texts. Other authors address the problems of religious extremism but not with the analysis and facts that Chayes offers in this book.

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

A story at the end made me sob, but overall the book made me think.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MRMomtaz
  • new york, NY, United States
  • 04-30-15

NewFan

True clear and passionate a great read. We need more people like Ms Chates in the capital.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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best book I have ever read!

Sarah Chayes offers a highly textured and highly contextualized account of corruption in the world. She is wise, clear, and courageous. Thank gou so much for this masterpiece!

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Must read

This book explains why our foreign-policy has been such an abysmal failure in achieving what is right for the world. It warms that are cherished freedoms are about to become owned by a bee and insidious corruption that we must prevent Through collective action

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Corruption is the disease of human civilization

Well done research and enriched by personal experiences

must read book to undersrand what it is going in the world

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Could not handle the narrator's voice!

What would have made Thieves of State better?

This may have been a great story--the recommendation came from Red Notice--but I could not get past the narrator's shrieky voice to listen. I appreciate the passion for reading her own book, but she seemed to be in a permanent state of hysteria. Sometimes less is more...

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Amazing Read!!

What a gripping flow of information, I have been listening since 3:00 pm and it is now 11: 17 pm non-stop!!

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A brilliantly clearheaded description of corruption in the World!!

I recommend all read this clearly written book to help join the dots in why extremism of whatever religious type exists.