Gomorrah: Book summary and reviews of Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano, translated by Virginia Jewiss

Gomorrah

A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System

By Roberto Saviano, translated by Virginia Jewiss

Gomorrah
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Oct 2007,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A groundbreaking major bestseller in Italy, Gomorrah is Roberto Saviano’s gripping nonfiction account of the decline of Naples under the rule of the Camorra, an organized crime network with a large international reach and stakes in construction, high fashion, illicit drugs, and toxic-waste disposal. Known by insiders as “the System,” the Camorra affects cities and villages along the Neapolitan coast, and is the deciding factor in why Campania, for instance, has the highest murder rate in all of Europe and why cancer levels there have skyrocketed in recent years.

Saviano tells of huge cargoes of Chinese goods that are shipped to Naples and then quickly distributed unchecked across Europe. He investigates the Camorra’s control of thousands of Chinese factories contracted to manufacture fashion goods, legally and illegally, for distribution around the world, and relates the chilling details of how the abusive handling of toxic waste is causing devastating pollution not only for Naples but also China and Somalia. In pursuit of his subject, Saviano worked as an assistant at a Chinese textile manufacturer, a waiter at a Camorra wedding, and on a construction site. A native of the region, he recalls seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen, and how his own father, a doctor, suffered a brutal beating for trying to aid an eighteen-year-old victim who had been left for dead in the street.

Gomorrah is a bold and important work of investigative writing that holds global significance, one heroic young man's impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Eye-opening and sobering" - Kirkus Reviews.

"Starred Review. A perfectly realized, morally compelling journey through the brutal world of contemporary Italian mob life . . . A stunning achievement, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the state of contemporary Europe." - Publishers Weekly.

"Musically translated by Jewiss (senior lecturer, Trinity Coll., CT, Rome campus), this stunning expose from a truly courageous informant belongs in all libraries." - Library Journal.

But the great value of Gomorrah is to highlight two points: the power and wealth that southern Italy's Mafias have accumulated in recent years, and the fact that their globalisation makes them an issue of concern for us all. His description of the effects of gang war on ordinary people (“Women stop wearing high heels—too hard to run in them”) is masterly. His final chapter, set in the apocalyptic wilderness of the Camorra's smouldering waste dumps, is inspired—and prescient, as the garbage crisis in Naples unfolds.

The information about Gomorrah shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Kendra
Hard to get through
The opening was gripping, but not enough to offset the next 50 pages. The writer is prone to run-on metaphors, names Italian families and cities with little background and seems scattered. It shapes up after that, but it's hard getting there. And "the anus of the sea" is just a little too visual for me.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Penny
Globalization at its Worst
Author Robert Svaiano worked undercover as an assistant to a Asian textile manufacturer to document how China is involved in the black market of Europe from high-end clothing to low-end junk.

He then collected evidence on the Camorra mob. A mob that technically owns Naples, Italy, especially its poor people.

The violence, the audacity, the subterfuge is as amazing as it is sickening. Toxic waste is dumped where it's feasible, not safe. Tags denoting where items are made mean nothing. Bribes can buy anything.

It's a book of horrors that surely involves far more places than Naples and makes any and all products we buy anywhere suspect.

An interesting read. Another condemnation of China. Also it looks at how the criminal element changes to meet new world challenges.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Beverly
A Living Hell
Roberto Saviano paints a brilliant, bloody portrait of his hometown Naples, Italy. Far from the lovely image the tourist bureau would have you believe, lies a dirty, corrupt, toxic, violent world controlled by organized crime whose reach extends throughout the world. Shocking!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Fred
gomorrah
I found Roberto Saviano's book a fasinating trip into the Camorra underworld.He writes almost poeticly in parts.Extremly riviting throughout. A book that can be read in one setting.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Debi
Gomorrah
This book was hard to put down once I started reading it and at times I had to remind myself I wasn't reading a novel. I believe this book will have limited appeal due to the violence throughout. I think the book would benefit from an audio version read by the author. I admire Roberto Saviano for his fearlessness in sharing his story.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Carol
Gomorrah
Roberto Saviano takes us into the underworld of Naples by infiltrating the operations of the Camorra. The majority of this book is an exposé on clan dealings and clan wars - think The Godfather or the Sopranos but more vicious and intense. The chapter on the Secondigliano War (the bloody Camorra turf war) is extremely graphic.

I was most interested when Saviano talked about Naples’ ports, China’s ties with the black market fashion industry in Italy and the illegal dumping of toxic waste, but these topics are covered only in the first and last chapters. Everything in between is soaked in violence. While the author does try to penetrate the criminal psychology of the Camorra, it is the brutality that will stay in your mind.


I’m glad I read Gomorrah for what I learned, but it was far too violent for my taste.

...12 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

As of January 2008, Gomorrah has sold 750,000 copies in Italy alone - earning 28-year-old Roberto Saviano death threats and a round-the-clock police escort.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

More Recently Published History, Science & Current Affairs

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.