Tropical Gangsters was named one of the “Books of the Century” by the New York Times. This sequel again takes you beyond the slogans and ideologies of international development to the complexities, absurdities, and possibilities of some of the poorest places on the planet.
If Tropical Gangsters was like a non-fiction novel, Tropical Gangsters II is a set of non-fiction short stories. Stories about corrupt states and cynical cultures, but also about idealism and practical choices that matter. Stories that abound in surprising dialogue, remarkable characters, and beautiful descriptions of locales as diverse as Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Nicaragua, and South Sudan.
Like its predecessor, Tropical Gangsters II will appear on college reading lists, in international training programs, and on the bookshelves of readers who love engaging words and exotic places.
These new adventures have all the wit and wisdom of the first. The narrative opens a window on some of the most challenging problems in development. A must read for anyone who is concerned about the problems of endemic poverty and understanding the forces that inhibit effective change.
—Timothy Besley, London School of Economics
Robert Klitgaard has accomplished something atypical: a very approachable sequel that is richer and broader than the original bestseller. Part travel book, part aid worker diary, and part development textbook, the book is destined to become a classic work for development professionals.
—Andrew S. Natsios, former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development
A wonderful blend of economics, politics, and storytelling. Whether for leisure reading or for a political economy course, the book delivers.
—Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of the Open Government Partnership and former head of the World Bank Institute
I have been recommending Tropical Gangsters to all my students as the best informed account of doing development in hard places—and only know with a sequel from Klitgaard himself is there a new contender.
With gripping and readable narratives from hard places like Haiti and Sudan and Nicaragua of the problems people really face in developing countries and analytically informed solutions, this sequel to the “book of the century” provides just what development students need to learn what the informed practice of development is like.
I now have not one, but two, best books for a course in development policy as Klitgaard has produced a update with new places, new narratives, new ideas but the same informed, realistic, and constructive approach to handling the hardest problems in the hardest places.
—Lant Pritchett, Oxford University
Tropical Gangsters II is a wonderful, readable introduction to the problem of corruption in developing countries, with some important lessons for how to deal with it. Written by one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, it provides students and seasoned practitioners alike with an understanding of our world’s most intractable problem.
—Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Tropical Gangsters II is, from one point of view, simply a succession of short stories that make a very good read. But it is far more than that. It forces us to face head on a reality that has bedeviled efforts to enhance political and economic development: the corrosive, debilitating effects of imbedded corruption and the cynicism it breeds.
—Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
A praise-worthy follow-up to the development classic Tropical Gangsters. There’s no one better than Bob Klitgaard at integrating policy with real-world analysis in such an entertaining and illuminating way. I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about the world but especially to students of international studies and development economics.
—Robin Grier, Texas Tech University
Tropical Gangsters II offers yet another demonstration of what makes Robert Klitgaard so valuable: his sensitivity to cultural context; the analytical process rendered in easy and evocative prose, elicited from conversations with the victims of corruption themselves; and his appreciation of the difficult trade-offs people caught up in its web are compelled to make. TGII is a book to read for instruction and for pleasure.
—Edilberto de Jesus, former President, Asian Institute of Management, and Secretary of Education of the Philippines
The stories Klitgaard tells are accessible and humorous but also have a depth of content and message that should challenge our theoretical understanding of development and inspire our efforts to do this work better. The book is a must read for the hardened, frustrated development expert looking to make sense of past experience but should also be on the reading list of every novice student of the subject. It will make these students wish they were out on the field and at the same time encourage a humble, human side to their future work.
—Matt Andrews, Harvard Kennedy School
His colorful and insightful examples of people who fight the battle around the world will encourage many anticorruption reformers and activists, as his previous work has provided the key inspiration source for my generation.
—Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
Robert Klitgaard has done it again, in beautiful style. He penetrates deep into the painful process of change, revealing surprising insights into the how of reform, seldom seen in the literature. Fascinating reading!
—Ronald MacLean Abaroa, former Mayor of La Paz and Foreign Minister of Bolivia
Everybody condemns corruption. Yet few understand it and understand why it is so pernicious and persistent. Klitgaard does. This book provides brilliant new insights into the eternal struggle against corruption. Absolutely essential reading.
—Kishore Mahbubani, former Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore