This enthralling History Channel production looks at both the origins and current state of organized crime in Sicily, Russia, Colombia, India, and China. The series of five shows is thoroughly researched and beautifully put together, clearly elucidating the complex sociological roots that gave rise to today's cartels. Such fascinating topics as Russian prison tattoos and the ancient Indian Thug cult are discussed along the way. Though the producers don't shy away from pointing out governmental missteps that have inadvertently assisted in the rise of organized crime, the series comes down firmly on the side of law and order, and is careful to show the ruthlessness and brutality of the black market. The only hitches in the series come in the form of quick repetitions of information (that once followed commercial breaks), but these are only occasionally noticeable. Though densely informative, The World History of Organized Crime never becomes dull or dry--indeed, once you start watching it, it's almost impossible to stop.
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