Klaus von Lampe
Organized Crime: Analyzing Illegal Activities, Criminal Structures, and Extra-legal Governance
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2016
488 p.
ISBN 978-1-4522-0350-8

2016 Outstanding Publication Award (IASOC)

“a major contribution to the literature”

"a really impressive book"

“by far the most comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of the subject matter”

"most definitely the ultimate textbook on organized crime"

“the most compelling composite of this social and economic phenomenon known as organized crime"

"provides a conceptual framework for the future study of organized crime"

“accessible and detailed ... a kind of hybrid textbook-monograph ... highly recommended”


(...) In the preface of the book, von Lampe is very careful to suggest that “a subject as complex as that of organized crime cannot be exhaustively addressed in one book” (p.xvi); however, as readers will immerse themselves into his masterful exposition and analysis of the issues, they may come to question the author’s modesty: this is nothing less than a wide and deep account of the subject that misses virtually nothing in terms of the issues and arguments, and one that generously repays the careful reader. Quite simply, the book establishes von Lampe as a world-class authority on organised crime; it also establishes a benchmark that is unlikely to be surpassed by other textbooks on organised crime anytime soon. Von Lampe’s book is most definitely the ultimate textbook on organized crime. (more)

Georgios Antonopoulos & Georgios Papanicolaou, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

(...) In the foreword, von Lampe notes that the book is supposed to: a) assist in the understanding of key categories - their similarities and differences, all in order to avoid the widespread confusion in this matter, b) to contribute to the separation of myth and reality, and c) to confront the most influential theoretical concepts of organized crime with the collected empirical material. The author realizes these intentions in his excellent book. But, unfortunately the book has so far not received the attention that it deserves in the criminological literature. The reason may be its originality and style of presentation that is not as easy to read as most Anglo-Saxon literature dealing with this topic. Or there may be some kind of ‘conspiracy of silence’ as a response to the justifiable criticism of authors who have dealt with the topic of ‘organized crime’ before. (more)

Djordje Ignjatovic, Matica Srpska Journal of Social Sciences

This is a thick, dense, heavy and really impressive book with a total of 465 pages and a distinct German eye for detail.

Paul Larsson, Nordisk Tidsskrift for Kriminalvidenskab

This book makes an important contribution to the academic literature. It moves well beyond the usual examination of "mafia" groups that has dominated the organized crime literature for years. It not only provides a well-researched analysis of this elusive concept, but also provides a conceptual framework for the future study of organized crime. (more)

Robert Lombardo, Trends in Organized Crime

Let me begin by simply saying, you will not be disappointed by the intellectual rigor von Lampe brings to the discourse on organized crime. In fact, you will be overwhelmed by his appropriately nuanced understanding of a phenomenon that has caused considerable acrimony, consternation, and at times, a disingenuous debate within the research and academic communities. It is without question, the most comprehensive and robust treatment of organized crime research, theories and perspectives that has been published to date. Applying the eye and grammatical precision of a skilled litigator who can separate fact-based evidence from rhetorical and fuzzy proclamations, von Lampe has provided the reader and certainly the academic community with the most compelling composite of this social and economic phenomenon known as organized crime.
In 399 pages supplemented by approximately 1000 sources (yes 1000!) this text has elevated von Lampe to the status of the pre-eminent academic and social scientist in this field today. (more)

Frederick T. Martens, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

(...) the reading is engaging, due to the concise expression and the short length of the chapters that permit the best absorption of elaborate concepts (...) although the topic itself is complex and eludes exhaustive presentation, von Lampe uses his extensive knowledge to present the pivotal developments in the field of organised crime (...) Organized Crime. Analyzing Illegal Activities, Criminal Structures, and Extra-Legal Governance adds thorough insights to the fields of organised crime and criminology and has the potential to become a main reference text to students, scholars and practitioners alike, while promoting academic research into the manifold phenomena of organised crime. (more)

Elena Sciandra, Global Crime

Other Comments on the Book:

Organized Crime: Analyzing illegal activities, criminal structures, and extra-legal governance is a well written and clear introduction to the phenomenon of organized crime and how this kind of crime is connected to history and society in many respects. My compliments.

Gerben Bruinsma, VU University Amsterdam

The publication of Organized Crime: Analyzing illegal activities, criminal structures, and extra-legal governance is certainly great news for those who teach graduate level organized crime.

Ko-lin Chin, Rutgers University

Organised Crime as a field of study is characterised by definitional debate, conceptual differences of opinion, and quite a range of specific areas of empirical focus among scholars. Klaus von Lampe's book manages to capture and represent this variety within the subject, and its tensions. Rather than just surveying the landscape, however, he proposes his own analytical structure and arranges the book accordingly. So we get a sense of coverage and debate, but also of direction towards an overarching framework that the author proposes is useful in making sense of the topic in terms of its major themes. I use this as the main textbook on the undergraduate course on Organised Crime at VUW. It is accessible and detailed, but for me its most valuable attribute is the unusual framing of the book as a kind of hybrid textbook-monograph, in which students can find a broad review of some of the key research in the field but also an argument for a typological structure of organised crime that can help them see how it all fits together. Highly recommended.

Simon Mackenzie, Victoria University of Wellington

Organized Crime: Analyzing illegal activities, criminal structures, and extra-legal governance is by far the most comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of the subject matter I've ever come across and I don't see this changing easily in the foreseeable future either.

Georgios Papanicolaou, Teesside University

This is a major contribution to the literature. I like it enormously, and although I do not use a single text I recommend to my transnational organized crime class that if they buy one book it should be 'Organized Crime: Analyzing illegal activities, criminal structures, and extra-legal governance'.

Phil Williams, University of Pittsburgh

To find out more, please go to the webpage at Sage or visit me on ResearchGate.

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