The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history.
The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power. The grifter class - made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding - has been growing in power for a generation, transferring wealth upward through increasingly complex financial mechanisms and political maneuvers.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi here unravels the whole fiendish story, digging beyond the headlines to get into the deeper roots and wider implications of the rise of the grifters. He traces the movement’s origins to the cult of Ayn Rand and her most influential - and possibly weirdest - acolyte, Alan Greenspan, and offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals that decided the winners and losers in the government bailouts. He uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world, and he shows how finance dominates politics, from the story of investment bankers auctioning off America’s infrastructure to an inside account of the high-stakes battle for health-care reform - a battle the true reformers lost.
Finally, he tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”.
Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America. This is essential listening for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of politics and finance in this country, and the profound consequences for us all.
©2010 Matt Taibbi (P)2010 Random House Audio
For those who are sensitive to profanity or find its use distasteful, I can see where this book might not be to your liking. For Matt Taibbi fans, however, his irreverent use of four letter words is a welcome complement to his thorough research and brutal analysis. It adds levity to material that otherwise would be just too depressing.
Similarly, he often overly-vilifies certain political beings (Palin, the Tea Party, etc.) in a way that can seem mean spirited. Again, it's mostly used as comic relief or as shorthand in making a side-point without going into detail. If you identify with one of the people or groups he may call a colorful name, I understand how you might be offended. However, what you can't say is that his facts are wrong or his analysis inaccurate.
As for the material itself, this book delivers exactly the kind of incisive analysis that Taibbi's Rolling Stone work gives us, but in a longer form and with an overall framework that makes Griftopia a very compelling listen.
The one thing that is lackluster is the narration. It's not that the narrator isn't competent or the performance not completely professional. It's just that he's much too formal and humorless for the irreverent edge that is the best part of Taibbi's writing. This book would have been much better served by a narrator who could convey the snark and wit that permeates the text. Instead, I sometimes felt as if the narrator was purposefully trying to remain monotone and robotic in order to avoid any emotion.
Overall, though, it's a must listen for any Matt Taibbi fan. I would also strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for current, well-informed commentary on the biggest issues facing America, but who understands that politics are often ugly and unpleasant. Taibbi speaks in a voice anyone can understand, and that includes making absolutely clear who the villains are in every situation - sometimes to gleeful, profane excess.
If you like your political commentary sharp, loaded with credible facts and analysis, and brutally honest, check this one out.
Taibbi deconstructs the evolution of the economic meltdown that panicked the nation's leaders and sent severe jolts down the line into the heart of America! Taibbi does a masterful job of researching the topic and an even better job of wordsmith acrobatics to make the extremely complex seem simple and easy to understand. If you want a glimpse behind the curtain (Pay no attention to that man in the suit) where the money changes hands and the BIG deals are made, Taibbi will lead you on a fascinating journey. Myself, I'm prone to emotional outbursts when I see or hear of injustice heaped upon innocent people, and I've had several outbursts while reading Taibbi's investigation of the Wall Street scam that nearly toppled our economy. It ain't pretty, but it's an insightful, worthwhile read!
One of the best books dealing with the financial meltdown. If this book doesn't shake you up, nothing will. The only reason these crooks haven't been indicted is because once you started arresting people you wouldn't know when to stop. This is a perfect illustration of Obama's dilemma, keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.
great book. the reader, however, was a serious mismatch. not a bad reader, just totally inappropriate for matt taibbi's tone, language, and overall voice.
Wow, what a disappointment. I read the Big Short by Michael Lewis and The Housing Boom and Bust by Thomas Sowell, both excellent and informative books about our current economic crisis so naturally I hoped that Griftopia would be another great, informative book but was I disappointed. The first hour of the book is an attack on the Tea Party, Bush and the Republicans (all idiots and racists), followed in the next hour by an attack on Ayn Rand who brainwashed Alan Greenspan. When the author speaks about mistakes made by the Democrats he hits them with a feather. I found little if any substance to this book. Save your money, tune into Keith Oberman or read Eugene Robinson and you will hear the same diatribe for free.
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