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Book Review of: The Washing Machine
interested in knowing how terrorist groups (other than the IRS) get funding, you need to read:
Order it here.
of The Washing Machine, by Nick Kochan|
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 4,500 articles.
The Washing Machine takes you inside the extremely convoluted world of shady financial deals and shell games with money--commonly known as money laundering--on an international scale. Kochan provides dozens of case histories, and explains how each of them worked. He also explains, in detail, how particular operations funded particular terrorist groups, who did what, and how they got caught.
Kochan doesn't just make the case that big money laundering operations finance terrorism and let it go at that. He also shows the deleterious effects on national economies. Nor does he simply talk about money per se. He provides the full picture of how terrorists use everything from diamonds to cigarettes to fund their operations. Kochan also explains what law enforcement agencies, banks, and other concerned parties are doing to crack down on the fraud, corruption, and theft that are part and parcel of the money laundering problem.
He even touches on corruption and complicity within government agencies. In the United States, this is an enormous problem (and well-documented)--though Kochan doesn't go there.
He does provide us with a useful glossary and an impressive bibliography. The fact this book is very well researched becomes evident shortly after cracking the cover. You probably have an opinion about September 11, the Bush administration, the Iraqi War, the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, and several other of today's issues. If you want an informed opinion--rather than just an opinion--on these issues, you need the information contained in this book. You may not change your viewpoint, but you will at least have a viewpoint built on something other than political ether.
Now, did you notice I did not write "Patriot Act" in the preceding paragraph? Before reading this book, I would have. I didn't know that the name of the act is an acronym (and most people don't know an acronym must, by definition, spell a word--it isn't just a mnemonic or abbreviation) for Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Interrupt and Obstruct Terrorism." If you already knew that, great. You'll find plenty of other things to learn in this book.
Where this book falls down is its writing quality. The mangled syntax and incorrect punctuation render some parts of it incomprehensible and others just hard to read. If Kochan is planning a second printing, he should first have a good copyeditor has correct the huge number of mechanical errors in the text. Standard Written English (SWE) and style guides exist for a reason.
So, it's an effort to read this book because of editorial sloppiness. However, the research is thorough and the information is eye-popping. Sometimes, you have to work a little harder for some things--but the payoff is worthwhile. The understanding you can obtain from this book is one of those things.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.