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

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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.

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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

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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.

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!

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.

Mary

What a Ride!!
You've got to read Gomorrah! It's a book written with passion and elegantly translated into English. But, reader beware, the subject matter is the stuff of nightmares. Page after page is filled with images of sweatshops,drug trafficking, murder---and the Camorra's reach into legitimate society. It's poison has insinuated itself into the very fabric of Neapolitan society and further - into the reaches of Europe, the US and China. Saviano has done a great service to society by publishing this book. As a Neapolitan American two generations removed, I am indebted to the author for the courage he has shown in exposing the cancer afflicting the land of my ancestors. Grazie tanto, Saviano. Stay safe!

Nikki

A Walk on the Dark Side
It is not often that I render an audible gasp on the first page of a book.Gamorrah is not for the gentle souls among us. It is raw, brutally descriptive, and at the same time very informative.I thoroughly enjoyed it and can say this book will haunt my thoughts for sometime to come. If you want to walk on the dark side this is your book. Fabulous !!!

Bill

A feel-good mafia exposé?
The author gives an insider's view of a monstrous system that is all the more disquieting because you're in there with him. Besides the titillation of so much blood and excess, what kept me reading was the intelligence and heart in the work. The tone sounds raw and cynical but it isn't without occasional touches of poetry and sentimentalism. The author never stayed in one mode long enough to get tiresome. I was shocked by what this book had to say. I don't know if I was convinced by the litany of the names and places or if I just sympathized with a good writer. His heart's in the right place. I hope it's still beating somewhere.

...12 more reader reviews

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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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