Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Review: Gomorroh

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I'm paraphrasing, but there is a line that, ' everything in southern Italy is beautiful, as long as you keep looking at the sky;. This chilling book by Roberto Saviano was one of the first to publicize the massive power and ruthlessness of The Comorra, an Italian crime syndicate for larger than the more famous Sicilian Mafia.

It's strange in a country where, for the most part, Italian crime is a thing of television (or at least HBO) and film, not something with any real relevance. In Italy, there is no aspect of economy that is not somehow funneled through or affected by organized crime.

This book was promoted as the one to finally scrap away the last vestiges of gloss from the romanticized myth of the Italian gangster, this idea of the Mafiosa as a sort of contemporary feudal lord, combining modern business with medieval and noble attitudes and methods. There is nothing appealing about Saviano's Campagnia, a world where over 3,600 have been murdered by the Comorra since 1980, where girlfriends of mobsters are tortured and killed to send messages, where construction workers are permitted to bleed to death after accidents, for fear of retribution if the boss should get in trouble for unsafe working conditions.

Perhaps contrary to what one might assume, Hollywood is not informed much by the world of the gangster, it is generally the other way around. Mobsters holding their guns sideways, building to scale replicas of Tony Montoya's house, and calling their superiors "Il Padrino", a mistranslation of the American "godfather". The Camorra is a great danger to the culture of Italy, and makes participating in the global economic market (in almost any way), even more ethically questionable than it may have been already.Quote-right

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