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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber | [Julian Rubinstein]

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.
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Publisher's Summary

The radio cabaret style performance of this award-winning book features Eric Bogosian, The Daily Show's Demetri Martin, Tommy Ramone, writer/performer Jonathan Ames, bestselling writers Gary Shteyngart, Arthur Phillips, and Darin Strauss and Pulitzer-Prize winner Samantha Power. With music by One Ring Zero.

Winner of Borders "Original Voices" Book of the Year and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.

Welcome to Julian Rubinstein's uproariously funny and unforgettable account of crime in the heart of the new Europe. Part Unbearable Lightness of Being, part Pink Panther, and part Slap Shot, Rubinstein's tale is a spectacular literary debut - and a story so outrageous that it could only be true.

©2004 Julian Rubinstein; (P)2006 Time Warner AudioBooks, a division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Achievement in Production, 2007

"Must be heard to be believed." (The Onion)
"Offers that simple pleasure, a great story." (Esquire)
"Outrageously entertaining." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Rubinstein has found a story of the sort that would make even the most dry-mouthed journalist slobber. Sometimes sad, often hilarious and always absurd." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (303 )
5 star
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4.1 (118 )
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4.2 (115 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Anna Livingston , MT, USA 11-24-09
    Anna Livingston , MT, USA 11-24-09 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    "Wonderfully offbeat satire!"

    This book is fun, quirky, intelligent, and touching. The narration adds surprise, authenticity, and silliness. The book might not be for everyone, but will be a favorite for those who like satire and oddball characters.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Tomball, TX, United States 09-02-08
    Teresa Tomball, TX, United States 09-02-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    10
    6
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    "liked it"

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable "lite" read. I liked that different people spoke their parts. Quiky and fun book! It made me want to visit Hungary, and Romania...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeri FPO, AP, USA 08-09-08
    Jeri FPO, AP, USA 08-09-08 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Funniest book EVER"

    The author/narrator is fantastic. I listened to this book three times and am still intrigued!! I'm scanning audible weekly for new Julian Rubenstein books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Rockville, MD, USA 08-30-06
    Paul Rockville, MD, USA 08-30-06
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    "Truth is better than fiction"

    I loved this story. Each time I found myself thinking, "This is too farfetched," I remembered that it's actually a true story! The reader is great and even the music, which I usually find distracting, is very professional and adds to the feel of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Franklin, VA, United States 06-27-06
    Susan Franklin, VA, United States 06-27-06 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Fact is funnier than fiction"

    When I downloaded this book I thought it was a novel. A Transylvanian pelt smuggling, hockey playing, bandit -- it had to be fiction. In this case fact is so much more entertaining than fiction. It is easy to start rooting for the whiskey bandit -- hoping he will take a turn for the better as he tries to make a go of living in the newly democratic captial of Hungary.

    The adventures of Atilla the bandit and the Inspector Clouseau-like head of robbery who pursues him are fascinating. Meanwhile I found I learned a great deal about post-communist eastern European countries without even trying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert C Larkin 04-22-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book. "

    Enjoyed the glimpses into Hungarian history and culture. Also enjoyed that it is a true story and entertaining. The Whisky Robber is quite the character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia R. Hanavan 04-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic production & crazy-but-true crime tale"

    The audio edition of this book is fantastic--really a radio comedy/drama. It is introduced by Attila Ambrus himself, the eponymous Whiskey Robber, as he served time in jail for his string of non-violent bank robberies in Budapest in the 1990s. The author is the main narrator, with voices supplied by a wildly diverse array of people from comedians Dmetri Martin and Eugene Mirman to author Gary Shteyngart, and music by One Ring Zero.

    It is the crazy-but-true story of how Attila, a hapless and basically unpaid professional hockey goalie (as well as a pen salesman, pelt smuggler, and serious drinker and would-be high roller), applied himself to the profession of bank robbery, becoming a national folk hero as he left the overworked and under-equipped police sputtering in his wake. Great characters, detailed reporting, and a wry style drive the story along irresistibly. The author even manages to work in a quick background history of Hungary and paints a cynical picture of 1990s Budapest, when the influx of western-style capitalism only changed the style of corruption.

    A most enjoyable roller-coaster ride, highly recommended for anyone who is traveling to Hungary, who enjoys true crime reporting, or who just wants a highly entertaining true tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken P. Sacramento, Ca. 03-11-13
    Ken P. Sacramento, Ca. 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Interesting"
    If you could sum up Ballad of the Whiskey Robber in three words, what would they be?

    The cast does an amazing job of bringing this book to life. I definitely recommend this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enrique 02-05-13
    Enrique 02-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Great! Great! Great! Great! Great!"
    Where does Ballad of the Whiskey Robber rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    1st one ever


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The presence of many different narrators like an audio soap opera


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Attila escapes from jail


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not extreme, it was really enjoyable, it made me laugh


    Any additional comments?

    Keep writing on true crime....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-08-12
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-08-12 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "FILM PLEASE!!!"

    This would be pretty funny as a comedy film. Somebody's gotta pick this up and run with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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