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Anthony Shugaar…in October, an Italian business association reported that the largest sector of the country's economy is organized crime, accounting for an estimated 7 percent of its gross domestic product. That's $127 billion, more than twice the annual revenue of Microsoft. To put flesh on that unsettling X-ray of Italian life, read Roberto Saviano's astonishing Gomorrah. The book is subtitled "A Personal Journey Into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System," and both personal and violent it is. Saviano's tour of his native Naples shows us the heart of what can only be called a company town for organized crime, with industrial toxins in great abundance…Saviano gallops straight into the maw of the inferno, using a hard-boiled style that has only begun to take root in Italian media. Naples is where he grew up, the Neapolitans are his people, and while the eyewitness accounts he brings to the page—stories of murderous barbarity and devastating debasement—could have been told by one of Dashiell Hammett's chilly protagonists, Saviano is no cold-blooded cynic. If there is a literary model at work here, it might be the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
—The Washington Post