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
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.
Its easier to list the genres I don't like..:P
The chapters about stop & frisk, immigrants, and welfare were so remarkably cringe-worthy, I had a pit in my stomach by the end of each chapter. On the other hand, the financial sector chapters were so elaborate and juicy, it was fascinating. I really started to examine my own reactions to these vastly different scenarios.
I don't think I could pick one. They were all so compelling. Prem Watsa might have been my favorite chapter. It had me sitting in front of my house in my car until it was over.
SOOOO charismatic. And his performance was spot on for this subject matter. If I had read some of the things in this book, I would have read it with a similar reaction.
absolutely. I was surprised at how engaging it was. I was expecting it to be dry in parts and finance is practically a different language. But Taibbi takes the reader on a.. not so much a roller coaster as it was a safari.. a crazy sensory-indulging safari.
It introduced new context into how I perceive both the wealth gap and the justice system. I'm ashamed at how I used to look at people in these situations.
Your heart goes out to the characters he follows who are seemingly from the wrong side of the tracks. Makes a person want to get up and do something to make a change. His statistics are astounding, astonishing and horrific. Is this really the world we live in?
Mr. Taibi clearly outlines and details the current hypocrisy of out two tiered justice system with specific cases followed overall several years of documentation ave research.
The overall point is good, but the author demonstrates time and again that he lacks legitimate insight into the criminal justice system. He fills his writing with countless hollow platitudes completely unsupported by anything more than anecdotal cherry picking. Unfortunately his constant mischaracterizations and over generalizations undercut his credibility in all areas, so I'm left questioning the validity of his analysis in the financial cases that I lack the knowledge to personally evaluate. In totality it is a thesis worth pursuing, but undercut by the authors overreaching zeal.
Taibbi does a masterful job of contrasting the disheartening disparity between "thems that got and thems that ain't." It should come as no surprise, but it is a call to action. He offers some hope in the final chapter that there may be efforts to balance the field - small pockets of people in power who are starting to make a change.
Anyone familiar with his writing style will be glad to see that it lives in this book as well. The material can be dense at times yet it remains digestible because of Taibbi's skill at distillation.
Finally, the narrator is a perfect selection. He understands Taibbi's use of sarcasm, analogy and incredulity and brings it out perfectly in his reading. I don't think the author could have done better.
I'd you're poor, you're not getting much justice in America. This book along with The New Jim Crow must be required reading in high school social studies and history classes.
The true story of wealth, power and privilege in America today. And as a bonus Taibbi clearly explains economic tricks, such as "selling short."
A clarion call to very necessary prosecution of Wall Street individual crooks, to the corruption of the government, to consistent prosecution of the least able to defend themselves. A surprising condemnation of the Democrats, Obama and Holder. Maybe they should be going to jail. Certainly their duplicity is exposed. A necessary read for everyone who has concern about politics, Wall Street and unequal justice for all. Is this the prelude to the collapse of the republic?
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