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Hello, Shadowlands (eBook)

Inside the Meth Fiefdoms, Rebel Hideouts and Bomb-Scarred Party Towns of Southeast Asia

Patrick Winn

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Essential to understanding Southeast Asia in the 21st century, Hello, Shadowlands reveals a booming underworld of organised crime across a region in flux— a $100 billion trade that deals in narcotics, animals and people —and the staggering human toll that is being steadily ignored by the West.  

From Myanmar’s anarchic hills to the swamplands of Vietnam, jihadis are being pitted against brothel workers, pet thieves against vigilantes and meth barons against Christian vice squads. 
Hello, Shadowlands takes a deep plunge into crime rings both large and small. It also examines how China’s rise and America’s decline is creating new opportunities for transnational syndicates to thrive.  
Focusing on human stories on both sides of this crime wave, the acclaimed Bangkok-based broadcaster and journalist Patrick Winn intimately profiles the men and women of the region who are forced to make agonizing choices in the absence of law.



Patrick Winn is an award-winning American journalist who covers crime in Southeast Asia. His work has appeared on NBC News, The Atlantic, the BBC and other outlets.
Currently the Asia correspondent for Public Radio International, each week Winn’s voice is heard by millions on NPR stations. Since 2008, he has lived in Bangkok and reported almost exclusively on Southeast Asia.


‘Brilliantly crafted and thrilling to read. This is a page turner with soul – an evocative tour through places that are too often ignored.’ 

Tom Vitale, director of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

‘Avoiding both sensationalism and moralizing, Patrick Winn takes his reader with somber elegance into Southeast Asia’s criminal underworld – and from more interesting perspectives than the usual drug dealers and traffickers. Here is a world as rich, contradictory and strange as any that one could think of.’

Lawrence Osborne, author of Beautiful Animals and Bangkok Days

‘In Hello, Shadowlands, Patrick Winn writes in a vibrant, readable style, uses years of hardcore field reporting and adds thought-provoking analysis to expose a side of global crime that we all need to better understand. His vivid descriptions take you deep into surreal and at times heartbreaking worlds but he also steps away to give wider meaning to these tales and their place in the economic and political systems. Anyone who wants to make sense of the dark side of modern global capitalism needs to read it.’ 

Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco and Gangster Warlords

‘Through a gripping narrative, Patrick Winn takes the reader on first-hand tour of Southeast Asia’s underworld – from the meth dens of Myanmar’s rugged Kachin State to Manila’s fetid slums where Duterte’s drug war has killed thousands, all the way to Central Vietnam where village mobs have murdered drug-addicted dog meat thieves. As Southeast Asia’s villages empty and its cities swell, the region seems caught in a bitter struggle between the powerful syndicates who control the $31 billion methamphetamine traffic and desperate citizen vigilantes who are determined to break the drug’s grip by any means necessary. Through vivid character portraits and deft anecdotes, Winn offers the reader an intimate, indelible portrait of a major world region in the throes of serious social change.’ 

Alfred W. McCoy, author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade

‘Drawing on a decade of on-the-ground reporting in Southeast Asia, Patrick Winn gives us a rare window into the subterranean depths of the region’s $100 billion organized crime underworld. Winn takes us from the narco-empires of Myanmar’s war-torn north to the slums of Manila, where crime rings peddle phony birth control elixirs to desperate young women. Hello, Shadowlands is a sweeping work of investigative journalism that reads like a thriller you can’t put down. Winn’s reporting on the men and women who run the region’s underworld is both sensitive and incisive. He demonstrates how the breakneck economic growth that has lifted so many fortunes in Southeast Asia has also set the stage for a new golden age of drug trafficking — aided by corruption, despotism and the absence of law. Hello, Shadowlands is a quintessential read for anyone who wants to understand the dark side of Southeast Asia’s economic gains.’ 

Megha Rajagopalan, China bureau chief, Buzzfeed News

‘Not inappropriately billed as Fear and Loathing meets McMafia, this is a compelling expose of Southeast Asia’s criminal underworld, and the dark underbelly of some popular holiday destinations by an award-winning US journalist resident in Thailand. Reporting from Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, he tells the often deeply moving human stories behind the organized crime and corruption rife in the region, whether it be the massive trade in candy-colored meth, or hostesses trained by the North Korean regime. I found the chapters on Myanmar particularly illuminating in the light of recent headlines about that troubled country.’

The Bookseller, March 9, 2018

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