Monday, 17 August 2009

Book Review: McMafia - Misha Glenny

This is a bit of a first for me so let me know what you think and whether it's something you'd like to see more of. I've always loved reading, it's something my sisters and my mama and I have always done and enjoyed, however since beginning to work my reading speed has dropped off and I've found myself not making the time to read. I've been trying to change this of late and got through a few books on holiday and am trying to go to bed earlier so I can read before bed. Anyhow less of my reading habits and more on the book I am going to try and review!

This might seem a strange choice, so I'll explain, J bought it when we were heading off to Sicily. I wasn't that interested at first, until he kept telling me things that he had read and I kept reading over his shoulder... So I decided to read it for myself. And boy am I glad I did.

It's an incredibly well written and fascinating book. Although non-fiction (which I don't normally go for) there are a lot of real life examples and interviews with people who you can't quite believe exist. I also found it completely eye-opening. I like to think of myself as not too naive but having read this I feel very green around the ears about all things worldly.

Misha Glenny makes great arguments for simple changes in policy which could have huge impacts and I came away from the book feeling that every politician and world leader should read this, if only to see the error of their ways in some situations.

It has also made me think a lot more about how we deal with policing drugs and the dugs trade. And having recently read a great FT magazine article about this and watched a documentary about Crystal Meth in Fresno, CA, by Louis Theroux my thinking around drug policy has changed.

To sum up, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book if you haven't already read it. It is a great read, gripping, informative and even in some places funny.


LK said...

I've been in favour of complete legalisation for years.

I seriously think people are going to look back in a certain number of years/decades/centuries and not believe how stupid we were as a people to believe prohibition of certain substances was ever a viable proposition.

And wonder how we could sit there smoking and drinking - nicotine being one of the most addictive drugs and alcohol one of the most impactful in terms of ruining people's lives - whilst making other substances seemingly arbitrarily criminal.

Things are changing slowly - controlled doses of heroin from the doctors are available in some areas of the UK, and working well for some people.

But you're never going to win an election campaigning on a legalisation banner, and any hint of legalisation risks Daily Mail headlines - "Government forces three year olds to take crack!" or some such...

It frustrates me. Obviously it's got to be done in a very controlled, very thought out, careful, planned way - there's got to be a strategy that covers both managing the sources, the product, and the consumers, but it's got to be the way forward.

Sounds like an interesting book, although sometimes I just don't like knowing about those things. Did you see the film Gomorrah last year? Just absolutely absurdly depressing (based on a true account from someone who had been mafia and turned informant I think).

Being Brazen said...

That does sound like an interesting book. Its definitely not something I would ever have looked at before - but now i might :)

Sid said...

It does sound like an interesting book. If I happen to see it in a bookstore I'll definitely give it a try. At the moment I'm reading Artemis Fowl (sci-fi).

Rose said...

agreed this does sound interesting. I can certainly see a case for legalisation and I find it frustrating that it seems more okay to snort cocaine in a bar in London than have a cigarette- I don't smoke but I find it much harder saying no I don't want drugs to people who offer them to me than saying no i don't want a cigarette.

Marie said...

LK - I agree, I think there is a lot to be said for legalisation and proper programmes to help those addicted. The book isn't that depressing, I think because no one area gets huge amounts of detail about it.

Brazen - Definitely give it a shot if you see it

Sid - Hello! Glad you'll give it a shot too, can't say I'm a huge sci-fi fan (never read a single one...) maybe I should branch out :)

Rose - I completely agree, it's funny how smoking has become so taboo while other drugs which do at least as much damage people are so much more blase about. It's an odd society we live in.

Kylli said...

I hope you are still going to post on JKLM as well!!! There hasn't been much activity there recently.....I will look out for this aswell and have a read. I am reading a book at the moment written by a journalist called Anthony Lloyd who is also a heroin addict. Really odd as I always imagined heroin addicts couldn't work as well but he seems to swing between it easily - and has written 2 books.