Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio

Knopf. Feb. 2016. 320p. photos. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780385351034. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351041. CRIME
In 1999, with no criminal background, Antonio Francisco Bonfim Lopes was a typical resident of Rocinha, trying to figure out how to survive and support his family in one of Rio de Janeiro's largest favelas. Less than six years later he was known as Nem, in charge of the large criminal organization unofficially ruling over Rocinha. The story of Nem acts as the glue for this title, in which journalist Glenny (The Fall of Yugoslavia; DarkMarket) successfully explores the history of Rio de Janeiro, focusing on the violence, drug trade, politics, police forces, and related corruption within Rio's favelas since the 1960s. Weaving primary and secondary sources including jail cell interviews, Glenny recalls and builds upon previous accounts of criminal life in the settlements, such as Paulo Lins's City of God or the 2007 film Elite Squad. Glenny employs a writing style that both keeps the story moving and the reader wanting more.
VERDICT This book is relevant for anyone interested in true crime stories, particularly involving the crime and corruption of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. [See Prepub Alert, 8/24/15.]
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