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This timely study offers a concise, yet thorough, introduction to the illicit arms trade. The main theme of the book confronts the complex reality, that while it is proper to think of two separate trades in arms--legal and illegal--in practice there is a considerable overlap between the two. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, Phythian argues that the lessons of the most important and extensive cases of the last 20 years suggest that a significant element of the illicit trade in arms has in fact been sanctioned at some level of government in the pursuit of broader security or geopolitical ends.