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

Cover of Moneyland Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take it BackMoneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take it Back

Oliver Bullough
Profile, £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.

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”.