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Publisher's Summary

The definitive oral history of the iconic and beloved TV show The Wire, as told by the actors, writers, directors, and others involved in its creation

Since its final episode aired in 2008, HBO's acclaimed crime drama The Wire has only become more popular and influential. The issues it tackled, from the failures of the drug war and criminal justice system to systemic bias in law enforcement and other social institutions, have become more urgent and central to the national conversation. The show's actors, such as Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Michael B. Jordan, have gone on to become major stars. Its creators and writers, including David Simon and Richard Price, have developed dedicated cult followings of their own. Universities use the show to teach everything from film theory to criminal justice to sociology. Politicians and activists reference it when discussing policy. When critics compile lists of the Greatest TV Shows of All Time, The Wire routinely takes the top spot. It is arguably one of the great works of art America has produced in the 20th century.

But while there has been a great deal of critical analysis of the show and its themes, until now there has never been a definitive, behind-the-scenes take on how it came to be made. With unparalleled access to all the key actors and writers involved in its creation, Jonathan Abrams tells the astonishing, compelling, and complete account of The Wire, from its inception and creation through its end and powerful legacy.

©2018 Jonathan Abrams (P)2018 Random House Audio

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

There's a reason you hire professional talent

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Absolutely painful to listen to. I was looking forward to this book dropping. I pre-ordered it. But this author simply doesn't have the auditory chops to record his own copy. Or anybody's copy, for that matter.

Had to tap out after three chapters because I simply can't keep my eyes open through the author's halting, stumbling, monotone. Like listening to William Shatner reading a phone book on a Zanex and Quaalude bender.

The producer who sat in the recording session and did not pull the plug on this goatshtup after two hours of listening to the author read owes me money,

42 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Terrible performance

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I made the mistake of buying this book without reading other reviews. Sadly they were right. This is absolutely painful to listen to. I don't understand how they could narrate a book by again and again making longer introductions for each person than the actual sentences those men and women say. It's ridiculous padding.

What could Jonathan Abrams have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Me, reviewer on audible: It's the script. Voice, in my head: It's just painful. Me, same reviewer on audible: who writes like that?

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really Fun, But Needs a Different Narrator

Jonathan Abrams is a very talented writer, but his narration is so slight and it feels like he's quickly running out of breath between words. Besides that, it's a very entertaining listen and acted very well by those voicing members of the cast. It makes me want to watch The Wire all over again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Ok-ish

What disappointed you about All the Pieces Matter?

The narration is terrible. Major dissapointment after preordering. I’m a huge The Wire fan but this doesnt compare to the experience you get from the TV show.

What character would you cut from All the Pieces Matter?

The Wire unworthy

Any additional comments?

“Truth Be Told” should be a better experience if ever properly produced to an audiobook

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Book

One of the best shows of all time. This book really gives great insight into the show and all the people that brought it together.

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Perfect.

Even better than I hoped, insightful, perfect, and a must for any true fan of the greatest production ever to be seen on a screen.

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Did not meet expectations

This was my first interaction with a “retrospective” as a full book, and it definitely soured me on exploring the genre further. I went in thinking there would be insightful behind the scenes stories, which there were, but too much of the content was the cast and crew throwing a pity party for themselves. Nobody believed in them. Not enough attention was paid to their enlightened vision. They never cared what critics thought about the show. When a character was killed off the whole crew would weep and moan as if their blood relative had just been cut down before their eyes. You have to wonder based on their descriptions of Baltimore how the city hasn’t burned to the ground ten times over. I felt Abrams was too reliant on quotes from his interviews and gave too much power to the cast. It’s ironic that for a show so lauded for its subtlety, these interviews were a sledgehammer of a sermon on how the audience should feel.

As an audiobook, the use of a handful of narrators for many cast members only led to confusion, even with the preface of who was speaking literally every time. Most of them were fine, but it was jarring to hear their poor impressions of the actual voices that I was very familiar with. One in particular, the soft spoken narrator for Clarke Peters among others, could not have sounded more pompous and completely took me out of the story. I can’t know if the text version is better because you only get one first impression, but I would recommend skipping this audio version.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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It’s All in the Game

I was hesitant to purchase this audiobook based on poor reviews, specifically of the narration performance. However, my curiosity as a The Wire fan got me, and I’m glad I purchased it. Yes, the main narrator’s performance is borderline terrible at parts (it was like he didn’t practice reading the text aloud - very strange pauses when there shouldn’t be pauses and run on sentences when there presumably is punctuation in the written book. However, I got used to it after about a chapter and, fortunately, the story is mostly told through interview snippets with various cast and crew. To me, those more than made up for the otherwise lackluster performance. This is a GREAT listen for fans of The Wire.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must read for any fan of the wire

I am a huge fan of the series and this had me hooked from the start. lots of stories from the set and the lives of the actors and the show's impact. Most of it is done with narrators telling the stories in the vocal styles of the actors, but the general narration is done by the author. I hate to be snarky, but he should stick with writing. He is good at it. Narrating, not so much. It's unfortunate because that job could have gone to an actual audio book narrator. Not to worry though, he only narrates about 20 percent of it. The rest is done by a variety of actors who are fantastic at suggesting the rhythms of the actors they are portraying. Overall I highly recommend this book.

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Wire fans still won’t get enough

I discovered Abrams from his book boys to men. It was such a well developed story despite telling facts that I knew he’d excel at formatting all the wire stories. His ability to make quotes into a 12 hour listen was marvelous. If it was 24 hours long I still wouldn’t of had enough, much like the series we are left wanting more!