This book does several things well.
1. The humorous narration can make you laugh out loud.
2. The story of the tumultuous life of Attila Ambrus, his family, friends and acquaintances is emotionally gripping. Rubenstein does an excellent job of making Ambrus come to life and--despite all the anarchy--make sense. Though a criminal, Ambrus is an innately intelligent survivor worthy of biography in his own right.
3. The socioeconomic context of post-Soviet Hungary is well-researched and accurately analyzed. Most westerners still know very little of what the people of these ex-Soviet satellite countries have gone through and are still experiencing. This is an important subject about which much can be learned painlessly through The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber.
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