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Download McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld Audiobook, by Misha Glenny Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.21 out of 54.21 out of 54.21 out of 54.21 out of 54.21 out of 5 4.21 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Misha Glenny Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2008 ISBN: 9781415947203
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Like many other things, organized crime has been globalized. In McMafia, Misha Glenny discusses, among other groups, the Russian mafia, Colombian drug cartels, and Chinese labor smugglers, explaining how organized crime exploits the developing world's poverty, as well as new technologies. He makes clear that global crime and terrorism are rooted in the West's material affluence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A terrifying tour of the violent underworld of globalized crime. New York Post
  • Eye-opening…Engrossing. The Miami Herald
  • Besides demonstrating Glenny's courage, his book exhibits at least two other characteristics of special importance: First, he provides insightful sociological perspectives about why certain nations spawn especially widespread and virulent organized crime networks. Second, he explains how policies in certain nations (mainly, but not exclusively, the United States) generate unanticipated ripple effects in the structures of other nations' criminal underworlds…Searing. The Seattle Times
  • “A bravura piece of globe-trotting reportage, "McMafia" traces the origins and maps the reach of every major known transnational criminal network operating in the 21st century . . . engrossing. San Franciso Chronicle
  • Immensely informative and more than slightly scary. The Washington Post
  • A vividly recounted journey through a dozen of the world's most potent gangs, cartels and transnational mafias. The Wall Street Journal
  • For anyone who wants to understand the 21st century, this illuminating and page-turning book is essential reading.
    –Emma Thompson
  • Behind every great fortune,’ said Balzac, ‘there lies a great crime.’ Misha Glenny has updated this aperçu for our own time. Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great
  • A riveting and chilling journey . . . 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
  • In this well-researched and riveting account, Glenny does for crime what he did for the Balkans. He dissects the international criminal organizations that run much of the world’s economy and explains how the criminal underworld has both benefited from and contributed to globalization. Joseph Stiglitz, author of Making Globalization Work

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 2/14/2014

    " 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, cruel and truly evil people can be toward one another. Every region is treated, with stories from Russia, the Balkans, Italy, Israel, India, the UAE, Pakistan, Africa, Colombia, Brazil, British Columbia, DC, Japan, China, and others. The reports on sex and labor trafficking will stay with me forever. Great reporting on Nigerian internet schemes, Chinese and Brazilian intellectual property theft, the Russian Mafia's penetration into Israel (and everywhere else), arms trafficking into Africa, the growth of marijuana production in British Columbia, extortion in Japan, corruption in China, etc. It's the print version of the movies Taken, Blow, Blood Diamond, Traffic, Lord of War, all rolled in to one. A few citations below provide a better feel for it: "The collapse of the communist superpower, the Soviet Union, is the single most important event prompting the exponential growth of organized crime around the world in the last two decades. Almost overnight, it provoked a chaotic scramble for riches and survival that saw virtually every citizen sucked into a vortex of violence...a new class of capitalists exploited the vacuum of power by seizing whole industries and raiding the state coffers." "Dubai had become so useful for terrorists, the super rich, the United States, dictators, Russian oligarchs, celebrities, Europe, and gangsters that, to paraphrase the nineteenth century French prime minister Talleyrand's observation about the Hapsburg Empire, if it didn't exist, the global elites would have to invent it." In the Congo: "A map of the main zones of conflict between the various armies and militias coincides with a map of the main concentration of the country's natural resources. They pillaged anything they encountered, be it timber, gorillas (8,000 out of a population of 11,000 were slaughtered, mostly sold as bush meat), copper, diamonds, and a little known compound called coltan. Eighty percent of coltan's global production is mined in the DRC...Coltan is an essential component in laptops, mobile phones, and video-game consoles. This begs serious questions about organized crime and its relationship to the "legitimate" economy. Ordinary people around the world may think that they have no relationship with transnational criminal syndicates, but anyone who has used a cell phone or a computer notebook in the past decade has unwittingly depended on organized crime for his or her convenience." "The rapacious desire to trade, to buy, to sell, to make money, long overtook any capacity of either the developed world or the developing world to regulate how one trades and how one might ensure similar ethical standards across the world. 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 on really be surprised that customs officers, policemen, judges, politicians and bureaucrats are often tempted?" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Neddal | 2/6/2014

    " Depressing as all hell but an important book I think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hussein Bahgat | 1/24/2014

    " most amazing thrilling detailed book about organized crime "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 1/8/2014

    " I will seriously never look at stories like the disagreement between Russia and Ukraine over the gas pipeline or the recent attacks in Mumbai in the same way again. Glenny does a great job of differentiating between different criminal groups around the world, and while he doesn't have a lot of recommendations, I was left with the distinct impression that legalizing drugs and loosening restraints on immigration would go a long way towards helping the problem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Perkins | 12/24/2013

    " An impressive tour-de-force through the major organised crime syndicates around the world. The "Mc" of the title has nothing to do with McDonald's, as you may think; it's a wry comment on how organised crime is so pervasive in the world today, it's almost like the world's biggest fast food franchise, reaching into almost every country and affecting everybody's lives. An eye-opener for me was how even ordinary people like you and me are touched by the lives of gangsters - for example, a conducting substance called coltan is needed for miniature high-performance electronics such as mobile phones and laptop computers, and anywhere up to 80% of the world coltan supply comes from the Congo, financing the civil war there. Any time you purchase goods or services from a company employing cheap migrant labour, they were more than likely trafficked into the country. The world's banks are full of transnational mafia money obtained illegally through protection rackets, drugs, and prostitution, and now invested in legitimate businesses, a laundry very hard to track. A lot of organised crime today is a matter of public record, but it still flourishes due to corruption and appalling living conditions for so much of the world's population. The author does not offer solutions, but presents a dazzling expose of the major players in the former Soviet states, the Middle East, Columbia, Brazil, Japan, and China. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kobe Bryant | 12/12/2013

    " interesting look at criminal economies around the world. underground capitalism of mobsters and sex slaves and drugs sounds more fun than regular capitalism where they just steal money every two weeks "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bill | 11/21/2013

    " Shitty setup. He could have done a much better job reviewing the topic... the actual content barely holds your interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig Blois | 10/28/2013

    " A good overview of how international organized crime works. No regrets in buying this book. Reads a bit like trivia at times, and perhaps could have covered more areas. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jubz | 9/27/2013

    " This book was the missing link in my understanding of the causes and effects of globalization. Learn how criminal syndicates, governments and corporations work hand in hand to make profit and control the world. Yay! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 José | 3/23/2013

    " Well written book about a fascinating topic - the impact of globalization on organized crime and the challenges it poses to governments who are still fighting it with 20th century tools. On this topic, I would also highly recommend Moises Naim's "Illicit". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jwm | 3/18/2013

    " Alternately enlightening, engrossing and exhaustively heart-wrenching. Just terrific. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noah Murphy | 1/14/2013

    " Though he'd just stick with eastern Europe, managed to cover most of known world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 8/26/2012

    " Amazing reveal of global crime syndicates and how black markets are created by inefficient government policies or criminal masterminds or master-mussel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 6/26/2012

    " Unbelievably researched. Funny, shocking and most of all, considered. A must read for anyone interested in what makes the criminal world go round, and how the smallest indulgences we take affect a lot of faceless and nameless people to varying degrees. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwynne | 5/2/2012

    " A good read, though a little sluggish in parts. Absolutely fascinating how the underworld is entwined with every day tasks and purchases. The book does an excellent job of covering the globe and explaining various confluences of events, and how things have adapted. Good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isa K. | 1/30/2012

    " Awesome and eye opening. One of the best books on its subject "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Noyes | 1/24/2012

    " Despite, as has been mentioned, the poor choice of title, a great book. Start to finish, a world journey through the illicit economy with detail hard to imagine how the author developed. I was thinking "wow" every chapter, basically. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomas Ptacek | 12/27/2011

    " I got to the part about cybercrime, called bullshit, and don't trust what preceded it. Also, not enough of a narrative to bind the different criminal enterprises together. Would have made a better monthly column. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ALI | 10/10/2011

    " organized crime in easy reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 5/8/2011

    " Unbelievably researched. Funny, shocking and most of all, considered. A must read for anyone interested in what makes the criminal world go round, and how the smallest indulgences we take affect a lot of faceless and nameless people to varying degrees. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 3/27/2011

    " Despite, as has been mentioned, the poor choice of title, a great book. Start to finish, a world journey through the illicit economy with detail hard to imagine how the author developed. I was thinking "wow" every chapter, basically. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 3/12/2011

    " Pretty provoking - certainly raised my awareness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 3/8/2011

    " I got a lot of arrows from this pointing to some interesting syndicates, but it unfortunately suffers for that same reason. Each of the sections would make a great solo project, but there's just too much atomization going on here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 2/9/2011

    " Rarely do we realize how much the licit and illicit economy are intertwined. So much so that the very notion that we can rid the world of the illicit is more along the lines of Santa Claus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fabiano | 2/3/2011

    " An interesting and readable book concerning the globe-spanning and ubiquitous effects of organised crime on people, economies, the environment and corrupt governments (who it often seems are all too willing to play ball with gangsters). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 1/19/2011

    " Fascinating...like Freakonomics for organized crime. A really interesting read, it illustrates the connections and parallels between legitimate and illegitimate economies in ways that I haven't seen before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thebookmistress | 12/21/2010

    " Depressing as all fuck, but very impressive work, both wide-ranging and meticulous. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 12/2/2010

    " A good overview of how international organized crime works. No regrets in buying this book. Reads a bit like trivia at times, and perhaps could have covered more areas. "

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About the Author
Author Misha GlennyMisha Glenny was educated at Bristol University in England and Charles University in Prague. He is also the author of The Rebirth of History, The Fall of Yugoslavia (which won the Overseas Press Club Award in 1993 for Best Book on Foreign Affairs), and The Balkans, 1804—1999. He has contributed to most major U.S. and European newspapers and current affairs magazines and is regularly consulted by U.S. and European governments on Balkan issues. Misha Glenny lives in London.
About the Narrator

John Lee, a stage actor and writer and a coproducer of feature films, has narrated more than one hundred audiobooks of every conceivable genre, earning some three dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award.