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The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless: A Novel Based on a True Story | [Matt Bondurant]

The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless: A Novel Based on a True Story

The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County during Prohibition and after. The brothers played a central role in a major conspiracy trial and its violent end. In 1935, Sherwood Anderson, working on a magazine story, finds himself driving along the dusty red roads trying to find the brothers and break the silence that shrouds Franklin County.
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Publisher's Summary

Now a Major Motion Picture, Lawless, starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf.

Based on the true story of his grandfather and two granduncles, Matt Bondurant's novel is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder.

The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County during Prohibition and after. The brothers played a central role in a major conspiracy trial and its violent end. In 1935, Sherwood Anderson, working on a magazine story, finds himself driving along the dusty red roads trying to find the brothers and break the silence that shrouds Franklin County.

In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men - their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires - to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.

©2008 Matt Bondurant; (P)2008 BBC Audio

What the Critics Say

"Bondurant endows this gritty story with all the puzzle-solving satisfactions of a mystery. It's a gripping, relentless tale, delivered in no-nonsense prose." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (86 )
5 star
 (22)
4 star
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3.7 (58 )
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Story
3.7 (61 )
5 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Rich United States 08-18-12
    Rich United States 08-18-12 Member Since 2007

    Reading and listening to be entertained... AND challenged!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Just outstanding!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd recommend The Wettest County to anyone. It will appeal to history buffs, people who like mystery and intrigue, and it has its tense, suspenseful, heart-stopping moments as well.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Though a semi-minor character my favorite is Howard Bondurant. The reason? It is clear he is a tortured soul, but the author never really elaborates in detail the reasons why. Interestingly, though clearly very troubled, Howard exudes a level of morality that is truly striking considering his chosen profession.


    What does Erik Steele bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His cadence and delivery are very strong - it is obvious why he does what he does. What he brought to this story was a wide variety of accents and drawls common to the region and era making the listen truly authentic. Plus, in the few spots where he performs female dialogue he doesn't try to sound like a woman. I really hate it when narrators attempt this. Erik is top notch in the Wettest County.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless and why?

    Clearly it is Forrest... Can people, like they say with cats, have 9 lives?


    Any additional comments?

    The name of this very solid novel is "The Wettest County in the World", period. Just because it has been adapted to a screen play and the forthcoming movie is called "Lawless" let's not be disrespectful and confuse the issue. Do legitimate readers of literature refer to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" as Blade Runner? Audible... have some class.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RH 08-07-10
    RH 08-07-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EXCELLENT!"

    I literally (no pun intended) went back to the beginning of the book the instant I finished it, to "read" it again, and am enjoying it just as much the second time around. There's much more here than just bootlegging--the time it takes place in itself; illness, culture, the Great Depression, farm life in general. It's a real history lesson. Bootlegging was not just a pasttime, but a career. The brutality that went on amazes me. From beginning to end, I was glued.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 08-17-13
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 08-17-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Dark, Unlikable Characters"

    Great writing, but the story is dark and none of the main characters are likable.

    Not that this is always a necessary ingredient, but Bondurant's fine writing draws the reader into the individual lives very well. But when you get there it's an uncomfortable place to be. Like a 1930 version of meth complete with the dealers, and the addicts, and you wind up thinking the whole cast needs to wipe each other out like some classic Tarantino movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    janet United States 04-01-13
    janet United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    6
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    "So-So"
    What would have made The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless better?

    Hard to follow along at times as the author "jumped around" in time from Chapter to Chapter. Listening on the road was distracting trying to keep a timeline of the story.


    Has The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Hendersonville, NC, United States 08-28-12
    Judy Hendersonville, NC, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Love2Listen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    1
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    Story
    "I bet the movie will be better"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No.


    Would you recommend The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would probably recommend waiting for the movie. I found a lot to like about the audiobook but nothing that would make me say to a friend, "You've got to hear this one."


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Forrest got his throat cut and survived.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, but it was very interesting to hear how white lightning affected the men who drank it.


    Any additional comments?

    After hearing the book, I am really looking forward to the movie.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 02-07-10
    KP United States 02-07-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "A Little-Written-About Topic"

    Kudos to the author for writing about the moonshine "industry" in Franklin County VA. I think this would be especially enjoyable to those who are from the area. Wasn't really a fan of how the story was set up (personally thought Sherwood Anderson could have been left out of it entirely) and it dragged on a bit in parts but overall an interesting story and good narrator.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lacey milton 01-02-13
    Lacey milton 01-02-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing story!!"
    What did you love best about The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless?

    Great historical value


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Forrest


    Which scene was your favorite?

    too many to choose from


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    if i had time yes I would have listened all at once


    Any additional comments?

    none

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ellen abingdon, VA, United States 08-18-09
    ellen abingdon, VA, United States 08-18-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
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    3
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    Overall
    "Wettest County in the World"

    interesting "history", good narration

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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