More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘corruption’

A true story of high finance and murder in Putin’s Russia

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice, by Bill Browder @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Even if you follow international news only casually, you’re likely to be aware that Putin’s Russia is a kleptocracy. The country is effectively governed by fewer than two dozen oligarchs. Some, including… Read More ›

John Grisham takes on judicial corruption

A review of The Whistler: A Novel, by John Grisham @@@@ (4 out of 5) With Big Money flooding into politics and overseas into the tax havens of Luxembourg, Panama, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas, Americans are becoming inured to corruption. If a United States Senator is shown to have received millions of dollars… Read More ›

A postmortem for the Arab Spring

A review of A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS, by Robert F. Worth @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Historians are fond of advancing the notion that no major event in human affairs can be fully understood until many years later, when the major actors have passed from… Read More ›

Dirty politics, union style

A review of Yellow-Dog Contract, by Ross Thomas @@@@@ (5 out of 5) It’s been so long since labor unions have appeared high on our radar screens here in the US that you may be unaware what the phrase “yellow-dog contract” means. I for one had forgotten. Well, it turns out that such a contract,… Read More ›

A detective novel that highlights corruption in Italy

A review of Death and Judgment (Commissario Brunetti #4), by Donna Leon @@@@ (4 out of 5) Though she has lived in Venice for more than a quarter-century, Donna Leon has insisted that the Commissario Brunetti series of detective novels she sets in Venice not be translated from English into Italian. There’s no mystery here…. Read More ›

An irreligious take on Catholic history

A review of The Relic Master: A Novel, by Christopher Buckley @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In an interview conducted by Deborah Solomon for the New York Times Magazine in 2008, Christopher Buckley engaged in this exchange: [Your father] was a practicing Catholic. What are you? I am post-Catholic. As opposed to a lapsed Catholic?… Read More ›

Pope Francis’ battle against corruption in the Vatican

A review of Merchants in the Temple: Inside Pope Francis’s Secret Battle Against Corruption in the Vatican, by Gianluigi Nuzzi @@@ (3 out of 5) It’s well known that the history of the Catholic Church is rife with tales of corruption and murder — and that internal conflicts roil the Church today over pedophile priests,… Read More ›

Zimbabwe through the eyes of a single mother

A review of The Hairdresser of Harare, by Tendai Huchu @@@@@ (5 out of 5) You can read a dozen nonfiction books about Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s kleptocracy and fail to get a more vivid sense of what life is really like there than from this recent novel by Tendai Huchu. In one short work… Read More ›

A complex tale of corruption and murder in North Korea

A review of A Corpse in the Koryo (Inspector O #1), by James Church @@@ (3 out of 5) Practically nothing works. Government, police protection, buildings, cars, roads, appliances, telephones — whatever: they’re either falling apart, damaged beyond repair, or, if you’re lucky, barely functioning. Welcome to North Korea in the 21st century, where nothing gets… Read More ›

A fascinating detective novel about big city corruption

A review of Brush Back (V. I. Warshawski #17), by Sara Paretsky @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Sara Paretsky writes for me. I’m convinced of it. Her consistently excellent series of V. I. Warshawski detective novels features a believable central character, a handful of her charming friends, and a finely tuned appreciation for the depths of big-city… Read More ›