From one of the nation's top experts on international crime, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), comes a fascinating overview of the newest generation of criminals and crimes that threaten America. When average Americans think of a crime syndicate, they probably think of the old-style Italian Mafia of movies like Donnie Brasco. That, plus declining homicide figures nationwide, threatens to lull us into a false sense of security. According to Kerry, who until this year was the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, the menace of global crime is greater than ever before. In a richly anecdotal book drawn from his tenure as an insider in the war against crime, Kerry details the newest quintuplet of dangers, which he calls ""The Big Five"": the Italian Mafia, the Russian mobs, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese triads, and the Colombian drug cartels. He devotes chapters to each of these threats and explains their growing influence and the ominous signs of transcontinental cooperation among them. Of their significance, Kerry writes: ""In strategy, sophistication and reach the criminal organizations of the late twentieth century function like transnational corporations and make the gangs of the past look like mom-and-pop operations."" Other chapters are devoted to modern crimes like terrorism, money laundering, and illegal immigration, which the senator says threaten our very way of life. Kerry outlines a plan for meeting the new dangers, which includes the globalization of law enforcement and a ""reengineering of international law"" to allow countries to work together to fight criminals who ignore borders. At its worst moments, the book smells like a political pitch for the 2000 presidential race; at its best, it is a bold call to arms that Americans should not miss.