Book in the news: a darkly fascinating trip into the underworld

Book review: Moneyland Oliver Bullough on how corruption ruins poor nations and is a threat to wealthy ones.


Oliver BulloughProfile, £20(Buy on Amazon)

The Salisbury poisonings have prompted the government to crack down more heavily on dodgy foreign oligarchs. Oliver Bullough makes the case that it will have its work cut out. His book contends that financial deregulation, crony capitalism and globalisation have created an environment where plutocrats can shelter without worrying too much about "laws, borders and other irritants", says Clara Ferreira-Marques for Breakingviews.

The book is "pacy, clever and far more entertaining than you'd expect of a work on this subject" and Bullough's "busy and determined reporting" produces "memorable and telling scenes", says Andy Beckett in The Guardian. He is "surprisingly successful at getting some of the architects of the offshore world to open up" while acknowledging that some have good reason to want to avoid oppressive governments.

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Bullough is good on how corruption ruins nations, especially poor ones, and is a threat to wealthy ones, agrees John Arlidge in The Sunday Times. Overall, you get the feeling he "loves the colour-writing more than the analysis", though. His next book should tackle the question of what can be done to rein in the crooks. But in the meantime, readers should just sit back and "enjoy this darkly fascinating ride".

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri