I loved this book. It was excellent on three levels, maybe more:
1. The bare facts of the story are wild and entertaining. You gotta love Attila.
2. The writing was superb. Julian Rubenstein has an understated writing style that allows the events and characters to speak for themselves. I'm tempted to track down some of his sports writing just to enjoy the prose.
3. The reading and production actually enhanced the already great writing. I think it was the author himself who was the main narrator--if so, he might want to consider switching careers. He's a lot more enjoyable to listen to than some voice actors I've heard. The occasional interjections of dialogue by other voices took a bit of getting used to, but I ended up loving that as well.
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.
I guess as a work of journalism, maybe there's something to be said for it. And there are some interesting details about the cocaine business. But, honestly, I struggle to see the value of (e.g.) the exhaustive detailing of how Dr. Lavin's wife locked her keys in her car on the day he was arrested. It's just waaaaaaaaaaaay too much detail. All the interesting stuff in this book could have fit in a long magazine article.
If you're looking for an entertaining story, I'd say look elsewhere. If for whatever reason Dr. Lavin is someone you're just dying to know more about, I'd say get the print version. The narration was agonizing. Sorry, narrator guy, but it was. I almost never fail to finish an audiobook, but this one was a real struggle.
The narrator was phenomenal.
I like biographies of crooks, and this was an interesting one. The book moved well. It was told as a series of anecdotes, not an exhaustive history. I got the feeling that there was a lot of stuff left unsaid, but I guess that's got to do with statutes of limitations. Even so, there were some interesting snapshots of life in the Boston underworld.
Recommended. I'll probably give it another listen in a few months.
I wasn't previously familiar with the author's work, but I figured that a Pulitzer prize winner would make an effort to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity. I knew from the title that the book would have a point of view, but I wasn't expecting it to be blatant spin.
I don't even necessarily disagree with the premise--Fannie and Freddie were indeed a big part of the problem--I just resent the fact that the book is being sold as something other than partisan hyperbole. The facts that the narrator presented are, from what I can tell, actual facts, but they're not being reported, they're being sold. It's even narrated in a sort of preachy, outraged tone. I got about three hours in, then gave up.
If you're looking for a more balanced examination of the same general events, I recommend The End of Wall Street. If you're just killing time until Glenn Beck comes on, this will probably be to your taste.
Can I have my credit back?
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