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Publisher's Summary

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush's America in the post-9/11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, searching for phantom fighter jets in Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Matt discovered in his travels across the country that the resilient blue state/red state narrative of American politics had become irrelevant. A large and growing chunk of the American population was so turned off - or radicalized - by electoral chicanery, a spineless news media, and the increasingly blatant lies from our leaders ("they hate us for our freedom") that they abandoned the political mainstream altogether. They joined what he calls "The Great Derangement."

Taibbi tells the story of this new American madness by inserting himself into four defining American subcultures: The Military, where he finds himself mired in the grotesque black comedy of the American occupation of Iraq; The System, where he follows the money-slicked path of legislation in Congress; The Resistance, where he doubles as chief public antagonist and undercover member of the passionately bonkers 9/11 Truth Movement; and The Church, where he infiltrates a politically influential apocalyptic mega-ministry in Texas and enters the lives of its desperate congregants.

Together these four interwoven adventures paint a portrait of a nation dangerously out of touch with reality and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places.

Funny, smart, and a little bit heartbreaking, The Great Derangement is an audaciously reported, sobering, and illuminating portrait of America at the end of the Bush era.

©2008 Matt Taibbi; (P)2008 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"With his trademark mordant wit, Taibbi explores the 'black comedy' of the American polis. . .thoughtful Democrats, Republicans, and independents will find common ground in this book that punctures pretense, hypocrisy, and know-nothingness." (Publishers Weekly)
"It's a fascinating and hilarious study, fueled by Taibbi's own brand of paranoia, reflecting a cruel light on an America gone wild." (Los Angeles Times)
"Where other mainstream news sources fail, Matt Taibbi madly embraces his role as an honest political observer/writer/citizen in a democracy. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask for Matt's hand in marriage". (Janeane Garofalo)

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  • Overall

A mixed blessing

This is a tough call for me. I think Matt Taibbi is one of the great social commentators of his generation. He is articulate, ironic, incisive, irreverent, and witty. He isn't the least bit shy about skewering pompous, bloviating blowhards regardless of their political persuasion. His insights into the machinations of the primaries and the presidential campaign in "Rolling Stone" and on "Real Time" (HBO) made our quadrennial descent into madness almost bearable for me. So, with that in mind, I looked forward to listening to "The Great Derangement". Unfortunately, it was an underwhelming experience. I haven't seen the book, so I don't know what Audible or Random House removed during the abridgement, but I'm guessing that a lot of excellent stuff ended up on the editorial cutting room floor. I know; caveat emptor when you buy an abridgement (which is why I generally avoid them). Just the same, I was very disappointed. I give it 5 stars for content and the narrator, 2 stars for the abridgement, and a 3 overall. In the end, listening to "The Great Derangement" was like eating half a Snickers bar. What I got was really good, but it would have been a lot more satisfying to have scarfed the whole thing. Here's hoping that his latest book, "Smells Like Dead Elephants", comes to Audible in an unabridged version.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Micah
  • La Verne, CA, USA
  • 01-12-09

Excellent!

I loved it. I am not sure how a previous reviewer who loves Taibbi can complain about what he THINKS he is missing. The book was great. Taibbi has a sharp wit and can exhibit a depth and range of speech that can hit you like a truck after some of his more colloquial language. I will listen to this book more than once, for sure.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I too wonder what was omitted from the abridgment.

What could Matt Taibbi have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It could just be the abridgment, but I would have enjoyed less weight given to the infiltration of Hagee's organization and more war stories.

Which character – as performed by David Slavin – was your favorite?

Lori, who claimed a 189 IQ but did not understand most cultural references and abstractions, and called everyone "Hon." Slavin is a new narrator for me, but I will look for other Audible offerings read by him.

Could you see The Great Derangement being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Not applicable, as it would be more of a documentary. I can't believe Taibi's tenacity in pursuing the Christian indoctrination story, even to approaching strangers in a mall. Now that's dedication to one's craft!

Any additional comments?

I've enjoyed the Audible editions of Taibbi's other titles and gave this one a try. But at under 6 hours' run time, it was not worth spending a credit unless there was exceptional content - and there wasn't. I will be returning it.

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Scary How Spot On Taibbi Is

Taibbi's instincts piloted him to a good place to analyze the disconnect the American population is. Our country is run by a bunch of crooks, liars, and con men that drove our citizens to embrace radical and crazy conspiracy theories and religious beliefs. That's what happens when people don't have anything to believe in. It's. now 2017 and we have a billionaire celebrity charlatan as our President. Trump was years in the making....let's hope we get out of this mess.

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If he only knew

Book before election for song coming I think it's a pretty accurate description how we as a nation point great read

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Disappointing Abridgement

Would you try another book from Matt Taibbi and/or David Slavin?

This author is great, and is the reason I bought this book, however, I don't know what is missing in this version, though it seems they may have cut out a lot of critical content. There is no clear link between the different stories in this abridgment, which is a key part of this type of work.

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Inadvertently Explains Trump

This is a fascinating read from before the 2016 election cycle, made all the more relevant and terrifying with what we're now learning of the political landscape in the U.S.

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  • TM
  • 04-15-15

The Search for Objective Truth

Any additional comments?

I'm relatively new to Taibbi, but I like what I hear. <br/><br/>I started with his book "The Great Divide" which I found valuable, convincing and much more than a typical politically-partisan attack book. <br/><br/>This book "The Great Derangement" helps me see why. Taibbi has equal contempt and disdain for BS of any political stripe. And in this I have found a new brother. Whilst he may have political leanings, as do I, as do we all, he does not allow them to blind him from the bad behaviors of any political group or politician. Thank goodness there is a journalistic voice out there that is not in the tank for one "side" or the other. <br/><br/>There were some moments in the book where I cringed. Such as when I felt he was being mean to the religious right ladies who had been nothing but kind to him. <br/><br/>I also felt that there was a false equivalence by comparing the systemically constructed and demographically large religious right / end times group, with a self-grown, disorganized and demographically small "Truth" movement. Although I do take his larger point that the two ends of the political spectrum are culturally trained to hate each other, to the benefit of the political class overall. <br/><br/>But there are some moments of pure genius. Such as the section where he encapsulates why it is so hard for citizens in America to get a handle on objective truth due to the level of misinformation and outright lying that goes on in politics, journalism and even the commercial messages we are bombarded with.<br/><br/>I feel that struggle, and he captured it perfectly. <br/><br/>Thank you Matt Taibbi for looking in all directions and calling them like you see 'em. <br/><br/>Excellent narration by David Slavin.

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Honest and Insightful

A good appraisal of the disgusting betrayal of our political and religious lives. How do we respond in such confusion and deliberate insanity?

  • Overall

Excellent!

I loved it. I am not sure how a previous reviewer who loves Taibbi can complain about what he THINKS he is missing. The book was great. Taibbi has a sharp wit and can exhibit a depth and range of speech that can hit you like a truck after some of his more colloquial language. I will listen to this book more than once, for sure.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful