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Publisher's Summary

The radio cabaret style performance of this award-winning book features Eric Bogosian, The Daily Show's Demetri Martin, Tommy Ramone, writer/performer Jonathan Ames, bestselling writers Gary Shteyngart, Arthur Phillips, and Darin Strauss and Pulitzer-Prize winner Samantha Power. With music by One Ring Zero.

Winner of Borders "Original Voices" Book of the Year and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.

Welcome to Julian Rubinstein's uproariously funny and unforgettable account of crime in the heart of the new Europe. Part Unbearable Lightness of Being, part Pink Panther, and part Slap Shot, Rubinstein's tale is a spectacular literary debut - and a story so outrageous that it could only be true.

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

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Finalist, Achievement in Production, 2007

"Must be heard to be believed." (The Onion) "Offers that simple pleasure, a great story." (Esquire) "Outrageously entertaining." (San Francisco Chronicle) "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." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ken P.
  • Sacramento, Ca.
  • 03-11-13


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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great! Great! Great! Great! Great!

Where does Ballad of the Whiskey Robber rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

1st one ever

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The presence of many different narrators like an audio soap opera

Which scene was your favorite?

When Attila escapes from jail

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

Not extreme, it was really enjoyable, it made me laugh

Any additional comments?

Keep writing on true crime....

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dann
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 06-08-12


This would be pretty funny as a comedy film. Somebody's gotta pick this up and run with it.

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

  • Overall
  • Anna
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 07-03-11


I lived in Hungry and Romania... this is a wonderful book with good history too

  • Overall

Clever, funny, yet informative

This book does several things well.
1. The humorous narration can make you laugh out loud.
2. The story of the tumultuous life of Attila Ambrus, his family, friends and acquaintances is emotionally gripping. Rubenstein does an excellent job of making Ambrus come to life and--despite all the anarchy--make sense. Though a criminal, Ambrus is an innately intelligent survivor worthy of biography in his own right.
3. The socioeconomic context of post-Soviet Hungary is well-researched and accurately analyzed. Most westerners still know very little of what the people of these ex-Soviet satellite countries have gone through and are still experiencing. This is an important subject about which much can be learned painlessly through The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber.

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  • Katie
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • 01-04-10


This is a fantastic book and the audio version is great! I totally recommend this story. It's interesting and at times seems fiction but it's completely true!

  • Overall

Excellent Audio Production

This is an great example of how a modern Audiobook production can really enhance the spoken word. The production, voice-overs and snippits of Waits-like music are top class.

A charming true story of an 'underdog' trying to make his way in post-Soviet Eastern Europe. Exciting and funny, give it a try. I'd never have picked up on this one if it wasn't for Audible.

  • Overall
  • Greg
  • San Marino, CA, USA
  • 08-09-06

Go whiskey robber

I loved this book. You will find yourself cheering fo Atilla the Whiskey Robber. I can not wait until the movie comes out. The audio portion was one the best including the music.

  • Overall
  • Caroline
  • Morgan Hill, CA, USA
  • 10-07-06

Not All That Good

I have listened to 50 or so audio books that I just loved, and this one was just kinda OK. It was a more of a disaster of a life and the unfortunate total run down and corruption of eastern block countries. In my opinion, this is a story that probably 1,000's of every day people have in that corrupt and damaged part of the world who are trying to make ends meet when the government can't finds it's head with two hands.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful