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10 thoughts on “Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia

  1. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    Roberto Saviano must have some massive cojones To bring out this book with exposes the Camorra long hidden in the shadows of the crumbling high rises of the poor neighbourhoods north of Naples and their hydra like influence on the Italian and global economy Saviano grew up here and is able to talk to the dealers, the corner boys, the counterfeiters, the hitmen, etc and give us a closeup, unfiltered view of the heart of this organisation This candid book earned him the glory of an extrao Roberto Saviano must have some massive cojones To bring out this book with exposes the Camorra long hidden in the shadows of the crumbling high rises of the poor neighbourhoods north of Naples and their hydra like influence on the Italian and global economy Saviano grew up here and is able to talk to the dealers, the corner boys, the counterfeiters, the hitmen, etc and give us a closeup, unfiltered view of the heart of this organisation This candid book earned him the glory of an extraordinary movie 2008 and a great TV series 2014 2 seasons both also named Gomorra but also two or three 24h day bodyguards assigned by the Italian government because the Camorra perhaps other mafia families too have a 5M bounty out on his head that number may have changed but that is the approximate number from 2 or 3 years ago I would recommend this book followed by the movie which also follows the book and adds a few other asides and the TV show somewhatdramatised but still captivating and used on true stories that Saviano picked up It is an eye opener as well as a page turner Once you finish, definitely read Extra Pure, his analysis of the cocaine industry.Still a classic


  2. Warwick Warwick says:

    There s an extraordinary scene near the start of Gomorrah that I don t think I ll be able to forget Roberto Saviano, investigating the numerous clothing sweatshops in the countryside around Naples, happens to be with one of the master tailors when he turns on the television in his run down shack one evening It s Oscars night, and Angelina Jolie is on the red carpet wearing one of his handmade outfits.The man breaks down in tears He had no idea they just told him that one was being sent t There s an extraordinary scene near the start of Gomorrah that I don t think I ll be able to forget Roberto Saviano, investigating the numerous clothing sweatshops in the countryside around Naples, happens to be with one of the master tailors when he turns on the television in his run down shack one evening It s Oscars night, and Angelina Jolie is on the red carpet wearing one of his handmade outfits.The man breaks down in tears He had no idea they just told him that one was being sent to America He s one of the greatest tailors in Italy and he s just dressed one of the most beautiful women in the world but he can t tell anyone His job doesn t officially exist He works twelve hour shifts He s paid six hundred euros a month.How Why Because this is how even top fashion houses get stuff made they or possibly, for better deniability, some subsidiary entity auction out the tailoring to groups of sweatshops in the South, who fall over themselves with promises to produce the work faster and cheaper than their rivals Everyone who wants to take part is given the material, and whoever produces the right quality work first gets paid Everyone else has to sell off their products however they can in Asia, or Eastern Europe, or, as a last resort, in market stalls That brand name handbag being sold by a Nigerian outside the railway station may not be a forgery at all, but rather, as Saviano puts it, a sort of true fake that really lacks nothing but the company s imprimatur.It s just another part of The System meaning the dense web of Camorra controlled activities whose agents and beneficiaries extend not just up into northern Italy, but across Europe and, in fact, around the world.The Camorra are muchnumerous than Cosa Nostra or the Ndrangheta, and muchdeadly they ve been responsible fordeaths than the Sicilian Mafia, Basque separatists or the IRA Campania has one of the highest murder rates in Europe That s nasty enough, but what s really chilling is how pervasive their control is, and quite how much economic power, according to Saviano, they wield.In fact they re presented here as not so much a crime syndicate as a purified distillation of naked capitalism It s not just drugs, it s also a vast global supply chain, a portfolio of legitimate and semi legitimate businesses which all support and feed off each other, so that trying to find some area or segment that has not been tainted starts to feel hopelessly na ve.Drugs, though, are important, and Saviano is impatient with worthy pontifications about the sociology of the ghetto As he points out, An area where dozens of clans are operating, with profit levels comparable only to a maneuver in high finance just one family s activity invoices 300 million euros annually cannot be a ghetto The numbers are sobering A kilo of cocaine costs the producer 1,000 euros, but by the time it reaches the wholesaler, it s already worth 30,000 After the first cut 30 kilos becomes 150 a market value of approximately 15 million euros With a larger cut, 30 kilos can be stretched to 200.But you expect drugs What I didn t expect was to hear about the Camorra controlling all the merchandise flowing in and out of Naples port or how they have taken over Italy s waste disposal industry This last is particularly upsetting Saviano details how industrial and chemical waste is mixed with gravel or mislabeled so that it can beeasily transported, and then dumped in vast landfills One abandoned quarry near Naples was found to have 58,000 truck loads of illicit waste in it Child labourers are used to unload the barrels, which are acutely toxic The area has inflated rates of cancers but it isn t just a problem of the south The activity is directly linked to big Italian companies in the Veneto or the capital, and in fact Saviano says that without this under the counter service from the Camorra, Italy would never have met the economic conditions for entering the EU.Holding it all together are the capos and bosses who hide away in armoured mega villas, conferring with accountants and issuing instructions to prosecute the latest inter clan killing spree The most important have jaunty Neapolitan nicknamesa scigna the monkey ,o scellone the angel ,o ntufato the angry one Local politicians are generally helpful to the clans, when they aren t outright members The Camorra is often an area s main economy as Saviano puts it, refusing a relationship with them would be like the deputy mayor of Turin refusing to meet with the top management of Fiat Their opponents are beheaded by circular saw, beaten to death in front of their families, or thrown into wells along with a couple of hand grenades to take care of murder and burial all in one In 2001, a guy called Antonio Magliulo made a pass at a boss s cousin They took him to the beach, tied him to a chair facing the sea, and began to stuff his mouth and nose with sand Magliulo tried to breathe, swallowing and spitting sand, blowing it out his nose, vomiting, chewing, and twisting his neck His saliva, mixing with the sand, formed a kind of primitive cement, a gluey substance that slowly suffocated him.It is refreshingly jarring to read a book which links this violence with the run down kids and sweatshop workers who drive it all that does not, in other words, glorify it We are a long way from cool Ray Liotta voiceovers and Tony Bennett soundtracks Far from Hollywood looking to the Mafia for inspiration, it s actually the other way round Camorra bosses model their mansions on Al Pacino s house in Scarface, kids angle their guns sideways like Tarantino stars, and one female capo has a retinue of women bodyguards dressed in fluorescent yellow like Uma Thurman out of Kill Bill The book generates a lot of disgust and outrage, and I wish there were a fewsuggestions for what we could productively do with these feelings Perhaps Saviano doesn t know any ways left to be an ethical consumer certainly the tone often borders on the pessimistic But it s saved from defeatism by his trust in the power of language.In Elena Ferrante s Neapolitan novels, Lila is constantly pushing Len , the respected writer, to finally write the devastating expos of local Camorristi that she thinks will bring them down Len can t quite do it, and the book she writes doesn t have the effect they were hoping But Roberto Saviano really did lift the lid on a lot of things that Italians didn t know about or didn t talk about The effects were dramatic, not least on his own life he was put under police protection in 2006, and has lived outside Italy since 2008 But he made ignoring the issues infinitelydifficult Words still have power, and someone using them like Saviano needs to be celebrated and protected


  3. La Petite Américaine La Petite Américaine says:

    Update Saw Roberto Saviano on TV last night He was talking Talking And talking And talking And talking And talking For a frickin hour and a half without stopping except when he was interrupted by applause Great writer, but his nonstop jabber has me ready to whack a star off this book Gomorrah is a young journalist s account of just what the power of the mafia has done to southern Italy, particularly but not solely the Camorra in the Campania region While he does discuss briefly Update Saw Roberto Saviano on TV last night He was talking Talking And talking And talking And talking And talking For a frickin hour and a half without stopping except when he was interrupted by applause Great writer, but his nonstop jabber has me ready to whack a star off this book Gomorrah is a young journalist s account of just what the power of the mafia has done to southern Italy, particularly but not solely the Camorra in the Campania region While he does discuss briefly other groups such as the CalabrianNdrangheta, the Sicilian Cosa nostra, and the Pugliese Sacra Corona Unita, the main focus of this book is the Camorra, whose massive power in the drug trade, the fashion industry, arms deals, hotel construction abroad, cement manufacturing, and illegal toxic waste managing have turned Naples and the surrounding cities into the lawless trash heaps they are today literally.This is one of the most upsetting books I ve read in a long time, even if the translation was poor, it still worked The voice is that of a professional journalist, but someone who also grew up in the Camorra territories he is an emotional reporter, a saddened philosopher, but he never overdoes it He takes us through the internal family wars which leave hundreds of Camorristi dead, while a few outsiders fall victim as well mothers of bosses, a 14 year old girl caught in a crossfire of bullets, an ex girlfriend of a low ranking Camorrista who is tortured, shot, then burned in her car He tells the story of a priest who dared speak out against the Camorra simply by publishing open letters to the church community these letters are arguably the most moving part of the book only to be shot dead in his church He reveals the lives of the Camorra wives, who are just as involved in international business and trade as their husbands are and they are just as violent These are not the mafiosi that Americans have glorified in movies like The Godfather and The Sopranos, with pinstripes and stupid shoes restricted to a few Jersey trash families Today s Camorristi dress like they walked off the set of The Matrix, they arebrutal than ever, they are forever expanding, and they happily recruit young boys in the surrounding regions of Naples a place so goddamn shitty that the two times I drove through it I thought I would be shot it makes Oakland or Pakistan look like Disneyland because these kids have no hope There is no work, there is no money, there is no way out, no life other than this Studying and moving north seems pointless to them the only people with power and respect are the mafiosi Death at the hands of a rival family or boss is glory for them Now here s the fun part After ten years of experience in Italy and having lived in Verona for the last 3 years, I have become a firm believer in the Lega Nord party, the political group that wants to control immigration and eventually cut the country in half, making Italy two separate countries And they should Southerners are the most wonderful people in the country, but if they don t join the military or escape to the north, they generally turn to organized crime Not all, but most The corruption in the south leads all the money in the north, where everyone works, to just get wasted paying the taxes that the southerners either evade or can t pay Well, I ve been fucking stupid and naive After reading this book, I now know that, heh, the vast majority of the toxic trash dropped on Napoli has come from Veneto, my region Whenever a mafioso is in trouble, he hides out in the north, usually in Veneto Not only that, the biggest producers of Christmas cakes in Veneto and Lombardia Camorra ties The biggest milk producers in Italy Camorra ties And it s not just organized crime, it s a national affliction Cell phone companies here get together and fix prices every year When there was talk of making pharmacies something anyone could open, EVERY PHARMACY CLOSED because all of the pharmacists went on strike Same with the cabs, who didn t wantthan one cab company operating I love it here, I honestly do, but I can t help but think THIS.FUCKING.COUNTRY ARHGHG I wish everyone would get off America s back about how we need to pollute less and recycle , that we need to haveequal opportunity and basically just be better all around Goddamn Read this book only if you want any sort of nice image you have of Italy destroyed Excellent read, but thoroughly upsetting Read at your own risk Hope I don t get whacked for having written this


  4. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    I watched the movie long before reading this, and probably preferred it to the book Gomorrah has no doubt enraged the gangsters, and following a series of highly credible death threats, since autumn 2006 Saviano has been given an armed escort at public expense Public expense I m sure there quite a few Italian citizens who don t agree with this Right from the off Roberto Saviano s Gomorrah is enough to communicate the raw force of his writing and a sense of why the book has been an astonishin I watched the movie long before reading this, and probably preferred it to the book Gomorrah has no doubt enraged the gangsters, and following a series of highly credible death threats, since autumn 2006 Saviano has been given an armed escort at public expense Public expense I m sure there quite a few Italian citizens who don t agree with this Right from the off Roberto Saviano s Gomorrah is enough to communicate the raw force of his writing and a sense of why the book has been an astonishing success Many Italians are reluctant readers, Saviano was a first time author, still in his 20s, and Gomorrah is an angry, unsettling work of non fiction leaving a nasty after taste Gratifyingly, Saviano s life there after has boosted his book s sales even further and has failed to silence him This is an important book, and you can feel and appreciate why Italy needed people like Saviano to speak out, but part of me wishes he d just kept his mouth shut As who knows how many others have been whacked as a result of this book Compelling as the book may seem, I still think he didn t really hold the book together The details of his own life are sparse, and his undercover investigations do not reach a climactic unveiling nor are the facts he garners from judicial papers about the Camorra s role in narcotics, construction, waste management and murder particularly new I m not really a fan of true crime Literature, but do love reading about Italy.3 stars is all I can give


  5. Francesca Lenti Francesca Lenti says:

    This book should be taught in schools.The media tend to forget about the camorra in Campania.They only talk about it when there sthan 2 deads a daythis book is a great tragical testimony of somebody who does not want to forget and wants to shout to everybody what the truth really is.Recommended to anyone who doesn t want to stop to the surface and wants to go deep into the scum of reality.


  6. Nikki Nikki says:

    This book seems to have suffered a loss in translation, and there were also some formatting problems with it that may have been a result of it being on my Kindle, and not in paper form Also, the author obviously wrote for the Italian reader Several times, he made long lists of Camorristas or of cities in Italy, and I suspect that these may have meant something to someone who lives in Italy and who hasknowledge of the state of organized crime in the country than I do, but for me, it was j This book seems to have suffered a loss in translation, and there were also some formatting problems with it that may have been a result of it being on my Kindle, and not in paper form Also, the author obviously wrote for the Italian reader Several times, he made long lists of Camorristas or of cities in Italy, and I suspect that these may have meant something to someone who lives in Italy and who hasknowledge of the state of organized crime in the country than I do, but for me, it was just a slog to read through lists of people or places I am completely unfamiliar with I just wanted him to get to the point.All of that said, I was sometimes moved and sometimes disturbed by this book I was particularly disturbed by the last chapter, where he wrote about the link between organized crime and waste management, and how garbage, including toxic waste and human remains, is being disposed of by putting it in abandonned mines and underground storage tanks, in composting facilities, in fertilizer, and in the ocean This has worldwide implications, and my mind is kind of reeling from it I also enjoyed reading of the author s struggles with having grown up where organized crime is de regueur, and trying to find his way in life One passage I particularly liked was this Being born in certain places means you re like a hunting dog, born with the smell of the hare already in your nose You chase after the hare even against your own will, even if, once you catch it, you snap your jaws and let it go I didn t grow up in the kind of place Saviano did, but I did have a wrong side of the tracks kind of upbringing, and after reading that passage, I had to wonder whether the smell of the hare is in my nose, and how it may be manifesting Overall, I think this was worth reading, but I was left wishing my Italian was good enough to have read it without the translation


  7. Jonfaith Jonfaith says:

    The most concrete emblem of every economic cycle is the dump.Earlier this summer I enjoyed a podcast by one of the members of Wu Ming The author spoke about responsibility and the New Italian Epic Gommorah was the one example of the latter which was discussed at length It was noted that the work suffered from a horrible translation into English Perhaps the last qualification should give it a pass, as I found the work to be uneven Nominally this is an exploration of criminal culture in the N The most concrete emblem of every economic cycle is the dump.Earlier this summer I enjoyed a podcast by one of the members of Wu Ming The author spoke about responsibility and the New Italian Epic Gommorah was the one example of the latter which was discussed at length It was noted that the work suffered from a horrible translation into English Perhaps the last qualification should give it a pass, as I found the work to be uneven Nominally this is an exploration of criminal culture in the Naples area of Italy This is a deeply emotional response to a Foucauldian nightmare, one where modern capitalism has disrupted classic Mafioso structures and replaced them with somethingpervasive and insidious The book opens with how the fashion and garment industries occupy the area around Naples and the fierce and often lethal competition which exists within such Many of these operations expand upon a certain level of growth to include drug trafficking The modern business notion of focus groups becomes warped to a situation where nearly free heroin is given to the destitute to see if it is safe Credit and logistics allow the clans influence in global flashpoints and thus arms begin the circuitous travels.The book concludes exploring the criminal involvement in construction and waste disposal The details are harrowing Saviano lists the misdeeds impassively, periodically noting I know and I can prove it This verification strikes me as an evenbleak outlook


  8. Pat Pat says:

    Since he has pulished his book, Saviano is a hunted man Does he glorify organised crime after all Or where did my fascination come from when I read him The book portrays the Camorra as the incarnation of capitalism in its purest form, whoever stands in the way of business will be eliminated with the appropriate means Appropriate How much are moral standards essential for good business The question is neglected and yet imminent on each page Who is good Who is evil Names over names are qu Since he has pulished his book, Saviano is a hunted man Does he glorify organised crime after all Or where did my fascination come from when I read him The book portrays the Camorra as the incarnation of capitalism in its purest form, whoever stands in the way of business will be eliminated with the appropriate means Appropriate How much are moral standards essential for good business The question is neglected and yet imminent on each page Who is good Who is evil Names over names are quoted A documentary whodunnit, a novel about life and death, methods of killing portrayed in horrible details, a disgusting and fascinating book The best chapter Don Peppino Diana about a priest who resists traditions, breaks the wall of silence and calls fellow priests to not baptize newborn family members of the godfathers, who names the system what it is evil What is power, what is the meaning of life The book never mentions the final questions explicitly but it s hard to find literature where they arepresent than in this one I go to shops with different eyes now Not for the faint of heart


  9. Arun Divakar Arun Divakar says:

    Approximately 18 years ago and in a second hand bookshop at Coimbatore, I first chanced across Mario Puzo s The Godfather All that I knew about the book then was that it had something to do with the criminal underworld and its people When I started reading it the first time, it all felt like one big let down for me since there was not enough action in the first few chapters and pages and there were long, long deviations into stories of unimportant characters I gave up A couple of years late Approximately 18 years ago and in a second hand bookshop at Coimbatore, I first chanced across Mario Puzo s The Godfather All that I knew about the book then was that it had something to do with the criminal underworld and its people When I started reading it the first time, it all felt like one big let down for me since there was not enough action in the first few chapters and pages and there were long, long deviations into stories of unimportant characters I gave up A couple of years later I began re reading the story and got totally enamoured with the character of Michael Corleone and came to a conclusion that this was how an underworld don should ideally be Calm and rational on the one hand and yet deadly on the other and if I were to borrow Puzo s own usage, Michael Corleone held the power of imperium over his fellow human beings Why I went into this long rant was to tell myself as to how mistaken I was in my understanding of the Mafia and how effective Mario Puzo was in concocting a fictional American Mafia story The stories of the Italian cartels that Roberto Saviano talks about in his book is an antithesis to how much popular fiction has romanticized the criminal underworld What Saviano talks about is equating the Italian Mafia to an octopus whose many tentacles wrap around and suffocate every aspect of life on the land You can either be with the octopus or against it for there is no middle ground when it comes to the cartels Gomorrah is a brutal account of a brutal business populated by unbelievably ruthless characters who are all real In the lands of the Camorrah, the organized crime network there are no innocents Every gender, age group and type of person has a role to play when it comes to the Camorrah For the boys, the life of a Mafiosi is a life of pride and power and for the girls it is about falling in love with a guy from the clans to ensure financial stability for life The men and women of the cartels are locked in a perpetual struggle to find their way to the top of the pyramid while the old and the infirm sometimes become the messengers for the clans Saviano makes it very clear right from the start of his book that the power of these networks stemsfrom the economic discipline than from the military might The Camorrah has their fingers in all the tasty pies shipping, retail, apparels, construction, waste disposal, politics, immigration and to something even as domestic as milk distribution In short not a leaf trembles in the wind without the approval of these networks Saviano does quote some annual turnover figures of the top chieftains in the business and some of these numbers which is just from one arm of their business would be worth the GDP of a few small nations combined together This might and money comes at a heavy price though a life of total isolation A powerful mafia chief always has to stay one step ahead of the law and order and several steps ahead of the competition One wrong move is equivalent to a life time in prison or an entire shower of bullets and hence outthinking one s rivals is the order of any given day A state within a state is a clich d usage and yet I cannot think of any better way to define the Camorrah mafia What else can one call an organization who has full coffers and who runs like a well oiled machine An organization whose military might once mobilized can lay waste entire swathes of territory, what do you call them The Mafia seems to be a way of life to this land and the choices it leaves the people with are very limited for a peaceful life The price that Roberto Saviano paid for writing this book was also very high for he still lives under armed police protection A price he chose to pay for breaking the sacred rule of omerta.This is a disturbing albeit incredibly powerful book Highly recommended


  10. Sean Owen Sean Owen says:

    In Gomorrah Roberto Saviano sets out to expose the workings of the modern Italian criminal underworld Visions of the mob as depicted in hollywood movies are quickly dispelled The current mob is a hyper capitilalist beast with it s hands in the world of drugs, politics, garbage and fashion Saviano got great access, but unfortunately that isn t sufficient for a book to be a success The writing is terrible and inconsistent There are paragraphs of hyperbole attempting to be literary followed In Gomorrah Roberto Saviano sets out to expose the workings of the modern Italian criminal underworld Visions of the mob as depicted in hollywood movies are quickly dispelled The current mob is a hyper capitilalist beast with it s hands in the world of drugs, politics, garbage and fashion Saviano got great access, but unfortunately that isn t sufficient for a book to be a success The writing is terrible and inconsistent There are paragraphs of hyperbole attempting to be literary followed immediately by paragraphs that are nothingthan lists of names and places American readers are unlikely to be familiar with I m betting that a lot of the difficulties here are the result of a poor translation It s unfortunate and a reworking would be a welcome sight for this interesting subject


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Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia ➽ [Reading] ➿ Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia By Roberto Saviano ➲ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Roberto Saviano s groundbreaking and utterly compelling book is a major international bestseller, and has to date sold over million copies in Italy alone, where it continues to sell strongly two year Roberto Saviano s groundbreaking and utterly compelling book is a major international bestseller, and has to date sold overmillion copies in Italy alone, where it continues to sell strongly two years after original publication Since publishing his searing expose of their criminal activities, the author has received so many death threats from the Camorra that he has been assigned police protection Known by insiders as the System , the Camorra, an organized crime network with a global reach and large stakes in construction, high Gomorrah: Italy's ePUB í fashion, illicit drugs and toxic waste disposal, exerts a malign grip on cities and villages along the Neapolitan coast is the deciding factor in why Campania has the highest murder rate in all of Europe and why cancer levels there have skyrocketed in recent yearsIn pursuit of his subject, Saviano worked as an assistant at a Chinese textile manufacturer and on a construction site, both controlled by the System , and as a waiter at a Camorra wedding Born in Naples, 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 help an eighteen year old victim, left for dead in the streetGomorrah is both a bold and engrossing piece of investigative writing and one heroic young man s impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization.