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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber  By  cover art

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

By: Julian Rubinstein
Narrated by: Eric Bogosian,Demetri Martin,Tommy Ramone,Jonathan Ames,Gary Shteyngart,Arthur Phillips,Darin Strauss,Samantha Power,Hachette Assorted Authors
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Publisher's summary

An award-wining and "outrageously entertaining" true crime story (San Francisco Chronicle) about the professional hockey player-turned-bank robber whose bizarre and audacious crime spree galvanized Hungary in the decade after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

During the 1990s, while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest, Attila Ambrus took up bank robbery to make ends meet. Arrayed against him was perhaps the most incompetent team of crime investigators the Eastern Bloc had ever seen: a robbery chief who had learned how to be a detective by watching dubbed Columbo episodes; a forensics man who wore top hat and tails on the job; and a driver so inept he was known only by a Hungarian word that translates to Mound of Ass-Head.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber is the completely bizarre and hysterical story of the crime spree that made a nobody into a somebody, and told a forlorn nation that sometimes the brightest stars come from the blackest holes. Like The Professor and the Madman and The Orchid Thief, Julian Rubinstein's bizarre crime story is so odd and so wicked that it is completely irresistible.

"A whiz-bang read...Hilarious and oddly touching...Rubinstein writes in a guns-ablazing style that perfectly fits the whiskey robber's tale."—Salon

©2004 Julian Rubinstein (P)2006 Time Warner AudioBooks, a division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group

Critic reviews

"Rubinstein has found a story of the sort that would make even the most dry-mouthed journalist slobber. Sometimes sad, often hilarious and always absurd, Ambrus's tale microcosmically condenses the politico-historic oddities of his place and era into one entertaining and tidy narrative... With a keen eye for the ridiculous, fearlessly high-speed prose and an extraordinary wealth of reported detail, Rubinstein conducts the affair like an unusually thoughtful carnival barker."—New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"Outrageously entertaining... An essential absurdism is never far from the surface... A rip-roaring cops and robbers saga with a Mitteleuropean heart."—San Francisco Chronicle

"The antagonistic protagonist of Julian Rubinstein's picaresque romp is a real person who defies belief... Rubinstein rides the momentum in appropriately riotous fashion, but he wisely never lets his vivid style overshadow a tale that burns up the pages on its own momentum. Nor does he succumb to sentimentality when exploring the tale's pathos—and believe it or not, there's as much of that as there is burlesque. A memorable tragicomedy."—Boston Globe

What listeners say about Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

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DUH

couldn't stop listening (or laughing), fun, fun, book. it will make root for the underdog.

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104 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Funniest book EVER

The author/narrator is fantastic. I listened to this book three times and am still intrigued!! I'm scanning audible weekly for new Julian Rubenstein books.

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I loved this book. It was excellent on three levels, maybe more:

1. The bare facts of the story are wild and entertaining. You gotta love Attila.

2. The writing was superb. Julian Rubenstein has an understated writing style that allows the events and characters to speak for themselves. I'm tempted to track down some of his sports writing just to enjoy the prose.

3. The reading and production actually enhanced the already great writing. I think it was the author himself who was the main narrator--if so, he might want to consider switching careers. He's a lot more enjoyable to listen to than some voice actors I've heard. The occasional interjections of dialogue by other voices took a bit of getting used to, but I ended up loving that as well.

Highly recommended.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Truth is better than fiction

I loved this story. Each time I found myself thinking, "This is too farfetched," I remembered that it's actually a true story! The reader is great and even the music, which I usually find distracting, is very professional and adds to the feel of the story.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

liked it

This was a thoroughly enjoyable "lite" read. I liked that different people spoke their parts. Quiky and fun book! It made me want to visit Hungary, and Romania...

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Everything an audibook should be

I cannot recommend listening to this book enough. The story is very interesting but the varied voice acting, integration of music, etc make this an all around great, highly entertaining experience!

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11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Hungarian history and a good story to boot

The tale is a good one, one that has its environs in a society under turmoil. If there was ever a case for someone to commit a crime the Whiskey Robber's modus operandi should be followed. The Whisky Robber was a man who became a modern-day folklore hero in two countries because the socio-economic conditions of a post-communist country warrants a man taking the banks, the wealthy, and the government to task with grace. I enjoyed the inclusion of familiar political figures, such as Al Gore. A fantastic look into Hungary’s recent past. Rubinstein was spot on in taking the reader through the complicated times of an unemployed professional hockey player. It makes one think… what would I do in this situation? I recommend this to anyone who wants a well-written view into another world.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully offbeat satire!

This book is fun, quirky, intelligent, and touching. The narration adds surprise, authenticity, and silliness. The book might not be for everyone, but will be a favorite for those who like satire and oddball characters.

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11 people found this helpful

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wonderful "read"

actor portrayal made the impact allowing us to "see" the characters and each scene. carried us along throughout.

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9 people found this helpful

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Interesting

If you could sum up Ballad of the Whiskey Robber in three words, what would they be?

The cast does an amazing job of bringing this book to life. I definitely recommend this one.

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9 people found this helpful