Thursday, 14 June 2018

McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime by Misha Glenny.

"Behind the desk an exceptionally good-looking woman in her twenties shares the look of infinite boredom which I note is as essential to whorehouses as the high heels."

After I had finished watching the intensely gripping BBC tv series with the same name, I was compelled to purchase the nonfiction source material and was not disappointed. Absent (the very easy on the eye) James Norton, an exploration of the dark side of organised crime across the planet proved to be just as interesting, possibly more so, because the stories are real.
Glenny’s journalistic skills embed the narrative with a sense of immediacy and the book is at its most powerful when it draws a connection between nefarious activities and the way they impact the everyday lives of his readers. It highlights the way people turn a blind eye towards criminal activities in order to feed our desires, be they cheap movies, illicit substances or  cheap thrills.

Weirdly, by examining the growth of organised crime across the globe, Glenny demonstrates how it doesn't matter where you come from, or your beliefs, when faced with hardship, a Machiavellian approach to attaining financial security is a pretty common human approach. Certainly it underscores the notion that the promise of an extremely well paying job, requiring no specific skills, with vague terms in a far away land is likely to end in either prostitution, drug smuggling or modern slavery of some kind. 

So while the tv series gave a glossy insight into the corrupting influence of power and money from a top down perspective, its source material delves deeper down. Combined they provide insightful entrees into what goes on  everywhere from down the back alleys, to the backrooms, up to the boardrooms across the globe . The picture they paint isn't pretty.

5 out of 5

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