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Posted: July 18, 2020

Bill Browder has done us all a service

Book Review

By Derryll White

Browder, Bill (2015).  Red Notice.

Red Notice is a compelling book. It deals with a subject matter, money, that I have little interest in as a motivator. Bill Browder, on the other hand, is completely driven by the money game, at least in his early years. He lays it out in exquisite detail – the search for targets, research, acquisition and sale. He does it in such a human and compelling way that he draws the reader in, even myself.

What has always fascinated me, however, is power. The acquisition and wielding of power is also covered in depth by Browder, as he boldly states money=power. He dissects Russia and the power Vladimir Putin wields. The power of the state under Putin recalls the mad, senseless force of Joseph Stalin.

Bill Browder traces a huge multi-million dollar tax fraud through the dense Russian bureaucracy, to Putin’s door. Then he lays the murder of one of his lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, at that same corrupt doorstep.

Red Notice places Russia under Putin’s rule in a context of Russia under Joseph Stalin, where 20 million citizens were killed by the state. The book forces readers to question a whole political system that can allow people such as Vladimir Putin, and perhaps even Donald Trump, to thrive and prosper.

Bill Browder has done us all a service by writing ‘Red Notice’ and asking us to question political reality. I thank him for that.


Excerpts from the book:

RUSSIA – It bears mentioning that in Russia there is no respect for the individual and his or her rights.  People can be sacrificed for the needs of the state, used as shields, trading chips or even simple fodder.  If necessary anyone can disappear.  A famous expression of Stalin’s drives right to the point: “If there is no man, there is no problem’.

RUSSIAN SOUL – As anyone who has read Chekhov, Gogol, or Dostoyevsky will tell you, and as Sergei himself once reminded us, Russian stories don’t have happy endings.   Russians are familiar with hardship, suffering, and despair – not with success and certainly not with justice.  Not surprisingly, this has engendered in many Russians a deep-seated fatalism that stipulates that the world is bad, it will always be bad and any attempt to change things is doomed.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at

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