From the author of Mengele: The Complete Story (1986), a well-researched exposÃ‰ of Chinese Triads--frighteningly efficient criminal organizations with world-wide structures--that emphasizes their control of most of the world's heroin trade. Secret criminal fraternities, part of Chinese society for hundreds of years, Triads grew from nationalist resistance groups formed under the Manchu conquerors into a power structure coexisting as an alternate government. With the Revolution, they moved their base to Hong Kong, where their drug, gambling, and prostitution rackets flourished amid bloody gang wars. Posner stresses, and many agree, that when Britain turns Hong Kong over to China in 1997, the Triads will be moving their operations: Large sums of money flowing from Hong Kong into American banks and investments indicate they're headed here. The book's most interesting section is the large portion given over to the politics of the Golden Triangle, an anarchic region where the CIA, the Kuomintang, the governments of Burma and Thailand, national liberation armies, and brigands with private armies all battle for control of the world's largest opium harvest. Posner's often clumsy Joe Friday/you-are-there presentation is disappointing, but not enough to quash the material's inherent fascination. Despite maladroit writing, this is the best, most accessible source for information on Triads, therefore must reading for organized-crime buffs and anyone interested in America's changing criminal landscape.