Friday, August 31, 2012

Five notable books on gang crime

Gavin Knight is a journalist who has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Prospect, Newsweek, New Statesman, Esquire, Monocle and many other publications. He has also appeared on CNN, ITN, BBC, Channel Four news and Sky News.

Over the two years prior to the publication of Hood Rat he was regularly embedded with frontline police units in London, Manchester and Glasgow as well as spending time with dozens of violent criminals involved in gun and gang crime.

With Toby Ash at The Browser, Knight named five top books on gang crime, including:
by Roberto Saviano

Let’s move to Italy now and a passionate exposé of the Camorra mafia in Naples and Campania in Gomorrah. To what extent does this book put into perspective gang culture in Britain, given that the violence in Italy is on a far larger scale?

It’s true that the numbers killed by the Camorra are so much greater than anything in Britain. Also the way people are killed and disposed of is different and much more brutal. There is also the pervasive influence of the mafia in southern Italy, especially when it comes to the dumping of toxic waste.

Can you give us an overview of this book?

It is a great piece of investigative journalism. Roberto Saviano spent many years researching it and risked his life by writing it – he now has to live under armed guard. He looks at the many ways the Camorra has corrupted public life in this part of southern Italy. He looks at the port, for example, where a lot of goods are smuggled in. He also examines toxic waste dumping and the Camorra’s control over domestic waste disposal, which is a huge part of their empire. He also writes about the garment industry and the illegal sweatshops the Camorra run in Naples, where they copy designer clothing. It’s a business empire on an enormous scale and affects the lives of so many people. The violence they use is extraordinary, especially considering they are in a European country. You really can’t see Italy in the same way again after reading this book.

He writes about it in a very passionate and emotional way.

I love his style. It’s very readable. His reporting is excellent – he’s a very thorough journalist. What links him to two other writers I have chosen – David Simon and Nick Davies – is that not only do they write extremely high quality pieces of investigative journalism, but all three are fuelled by an anger about injustice.
Read about another book Knight tagged at The Browser.

--Marshal Zeringue