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The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap | [Matt Taibbi]

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.
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Publisher's Summary

A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis.

Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:

Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.

In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime - but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.

In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice - the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights.

Through astonishing - and enraging - accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide’s punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all.

©2014 Matt Taibbi (P)2014 Random House Audio

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  •  
    Michael 04-20-14
    Michael 04-20-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is an interesting analysis that highlights the two divergent realities in the US. The way the author contrasts the legal treatment of corporations versus average citizens is unsettling.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The comparisons provided were very insightful. Consider HSBC admitting to aiding the drug cartels and paying less than a years worth of their profit while a citizen is criminally charged then jailed for merely possessing the products of the same cartel. This book gave me insight into the different levels of citizenship in the US the moneyed and the rest. My view of the SEC fraud enforcement strategy is forever jaded when I consider the welfare fraud investigator going through a single mothers underwear drawer accusingly looking for signs of wealth while the banking industry document their misdeeds in the courts with complex language that even the judges cannot often decipher.


    What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

    Great inflection at the right moments, kept me interested.


    If you could give The Divide a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The Power of Money


    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy_in_NEO Oregon 05-02-14
    Kathy_in_NEO Oregon 05-02-14 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Tale of Two Americas"
    What did you love best about The Divide?

    I don't think love is the right word to use. I really appreciate that Matt Taibbi wrote this book to help illuminate the unequal application of the law in this country. Also, it helped me to have a greater understanding of the time leading up to the economic meltdown in 2008.


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

    There were several moments - every time Mr Taibbi wrote about the African American men who were unjustly accused of a crime. I guess the one that stands out the most is when the men, riding in a Range Rover owned by one of them, were dragged out the vehicle by police while stopped at a red light. They had done nothing wrong yet it cost them both a year of their lives to get it all straightened out.

    The police practice of just grabbing people off the street, throwing them in the back of a van and then taking them to jail was (is) motivated simply by having a quota to fill. It's like they think "oh, we'll just grab anyone we feel like and then sort it out later".


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about the inequality in this country - regardless of their political leanings, The fact that CEO's, Hedge Fund Managers and the like can commit massive fraud and not go to jail, is just wrong! The whole attitude of "too big to jail" is a ridiculous notion. Sadly, since none of these fraudsters were prosecuted and jailed, there was no incentive for the banks and wall street to make any changes. I see another (perhaps even larger) crash coming in the near future. I predict it will happen just before the 2016 elections.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri Clinton, CT, United States 04-24-14
    Sherri Clinton, CT, United States 04-24-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Everyone should be reading this book!"

    An in depth easy to understand book on the mess this country is in. It should be required reading. Giving it to my kids. We need a change.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 05-19-14
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 05-19-14 Member Since 2011

    I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exposes Harsh Realities of Justice System"

    Don't expect to walk away from this book feeling great. Taibbi takes you on a journey of corporate cronies who'll never see a jail cell, and compares them to the regulars who get thrown in jail for just about anything a cop feels like putting on the police report. He gives stories that will make you angry at the whole system. There's no political favors in the book either, it's pretty even down the isle.

    There are some parts that will completely go over your head and when you're about to say out loud "huh?" The authors says, "Confused yet?" Then he explains it in an easier way.

    By the end I was a little fatigued with hearing the contrast between bankers who swindled millions and flew off into the sunset, and regulars who just try and make it through each month with a paycheck.

    The narrator Ray Porter is the best in the business, can't go wrong with him.

    Overall: This book will make you think twice about police, justice system, and bankers.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard park ridge, IL, United States 06-02-14
    Richard park ridge, IL, United States 06-02-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Extremely compelling read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Divide the most enjoyable?

    Ray Porter


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Too many to remember


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but look forward to seeking him out


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The insanity of how money predisposes people to success or failure in life. To whom and where you are born pre-destines people to a life of misery or comfort. Life for some really isn't fair. It just is.


    Any additional comments?

    How in the hell did we get this way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ttainabc 04-18-14
    Ttainabc 04-18-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must Read!"
    If you could sum up The Divide in three words, what would they be?

    Taibbi provides an incisive inside view of the banking industry and criminal system.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for the next book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helios Houston, tx 06-24-14
    Helios Houston, tx 06-24-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great contrast of two different worlds!"
    Where does The Divide rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Its in the top 10.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I first picked this book because Ray Porter was narrating.


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

    Listening to the corporate crimes made me very angry.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah HOUSTON, TX, United States 05-22-14
    Deborah HOUSTON, TX, United States 05-22-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Highly worthwile"
    If you could sum up The Divide in three words, what would they be?

    Eye-opening, jaw-dropping, mesmerizing


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    We all are aware of the economic divide in American society today, but this book exposes the differential way our legal system treats the rich and powerful vs. the poor and disenfranchised. Taibii is enough of a journalist that he can paint the broad strokes with amazing statistics, but bring the story to life with personal stories, interviews, and e-mails.


    What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

    Very conversational style, brings the story to life. I thought it might be boring, but this book I could not stop listening to. Sometimes the sarcastic tone seems unnecessary.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Comparing US legal system to that in Russia: there might be one set of laws, but they are disproportionately applied. The appalling rate of incarceration among urban blacks. The police state in large cities, such as New York. The locker-room mentality of wall street criminals. The terribly sad fate of so many poor people with no resources to fight injustice. The fact that some public defenders seem to have no understanding or sympathy for those they are assigned to defend.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has a point of view- if you don't agree with him, you will probably not enjoy this book. I agree 100%, and it was wonderful to hear it so well articulated.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 05-15-14
    Patrick 05-15-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent Reader"
    Any additional comments?

    I haven't posted a review before but I needed to compliment reader Ray Porter. The book itself is great but his reading makes it even better. He brings the perfect amount of performance into the book despite it being non-fiction. He's never over the top or distracting but he helps the best lines land with emotional force. I've listened to around 100 audiobooks in the last several years and this is the best reading I've heard. Great, great, great job.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sabrina Garbutt St Paul, MN United States 07-08-14
    Sabrina Garbutt St Paul, MN United States 07-08-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Relevant to anyone who cares about their society"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The stories in this book provoke me. I've recommended this to everyone I seen lately. Before anyone comments on the state of our society, I strongly suggest they read this book. I feel like Neo in the Matrix after he's taken the red pill. Would you rather struggle with reality or continue living in blissful ignorance?


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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