cover image ZeroZeroZero


Roberto Saviano, trans. from the Italian by Virginia Jewiss. Penguin Press, $29.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-594205-50-7

Following 2006’s Gomorrah, reporter Saviano returns with another blistering crime exposé, this time delivering a wide-ranging and disturbing look at international cocaine trafficking. To give a sense of the amount of money involved in the cocaine trade, reporter Saviano notes, “there are two kinds of wealthy people: those who count their money and those who weigh it.” With the U.S.’s War on Drugs greatly overshadowed by the War on Terror, many readers will be surprised at how active and violent drug trafficking remains. Saviano is particularly apt at making complex facts accessible; for example, to illustrate his point that “no market in the world brings in more revenue than the cocaine market,” he compares the return on investment of the narcotic with that of Apple stock. Strong stomachs are needed for graphic descriptions of the horrific violence the cartels inflict on those who dare to cross them. His eventual and surprising conclusion—that cocaine legalization is the only reasonable solution to the problem of trafficking—will generate controversy. (July)