A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime Systemby Roberto Saviano, translated by Virginia Jewiss
A groundbreaking major bestseller in Italy, Gomorrah is Roberto Savianos 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 Camorras 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.
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"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 heelstoo hard to run in them) is masterly. His final chapter, set in the apocalyptic wilderness of the Camorra's smouldering waste dumps, is inspiredand prescient, as the garbage crisis in Naples unfolds.
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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.
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