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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author with each new book is becoming more mature, so far best Taibbi's book
With `The Divide' Matt Taibbi, an editor of Rolling Stone magazine, returns on the literary scene with his new work after with previous `Griftopia' and `The Great Derangement' he spoke about the America after 9/11 and activities that took place behind-the-scenes of the financial crisis in recent years.

In this last book he touched a theme that is extremely...
Published 9 months ago by Denis Vukosav

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIGHTWEIGHT
It starts well but runs out of steam rather quickly and becomes repetitive to the point of being boring. Immigration injustice, Police corruption and the apparent immunity of the Financial establishment minions are very serious problems not only for the american society but also for the world at large. Unfortunately the whole book gives the impression of having been...
Published 6 months ago by Sheitun


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author with each new book is becoming more mature, so far best Taibbi's book, 9 April 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (Hardcover)
With `The Divide' Matt Taibbi, an editor of Rolling Stone magazine, returns on the literary scene with his new work after with previous `Griftopia' and `The Great Derangement' he spoke about the America after 9/11 and activities that took place behind-the-scenes of the financial crisis in recent years.

In this last book he touched a theme that is extremely painful because it interferes with the justice and concerns a large number of people - he speaks about today's different ways of crimes persecution depending whether they were committed by poor people, while on the other hand the rich people lightly pull out of all the problems thanks to their money and influence, which it carries.

I read his earlier works and though I generally like the uncompromising style that the author fosters, it must be recognized that it is evident that the author with each new book is becoming more mature, and his stories that get better are deprived of general accusations.

Although it is usually not a subject when reviewing this type of book I cannot avoid to mention the great black-and-white illustrations that can be found on the pages of the book, the work of illustrator Molly Crabapple, depicting various motifs associated with justice.

The book is quite extensive, consisting of nearly 500 pages, but it seems that the author didn't need to prepare a lot to spoke with full inspiration about dissatisfaction today's (ordinary) man feels, while on the other side encounters injustice by looking at how those who have a lot, thanks to system are destined to have even more.

Therefore with full right can be said that this is the best Matt Taibbi's book that besides author fans can be recommended to other readers who have not yet been introduced to the work of this author and want to read a good quality non-fiction work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the USA today, all animals are equal - but some are more equal than others, 27 July 2014
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The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (Hardcover)
Following-up on `The Great Derangement' and `Griftopia', Matt Taibbi in `The Divide' examines the processes which have led to the development of a two-tier criminal justice system in the USA. George Orwell's proclamation (by the pigs) in `Animal Farm' sums it up: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." Taibbi's essay focuses on two groups of people at opposite ends of the social spectrum: at one end the poor and disadvantaged, routinely harassed and arrested, put through the meat grinder of the justice system, sent to jail and given criminal records for the most trivial infractions; at the other the rich - especially the super-rich Wall Street class of financiers - effectively exempt from prosecution regardless of the enormity of criminal fraud, embezzlement and theft. Taibbi shows us that not only do most people now unconsciously acknowledge this divide as de facto, but we've come to subliminally agree that some people are just more entitled to civil rights than others (i.e. in Orwellian-speak some are "more equal"), depending on their wealth, status and position in society.

Taibbi's thesis demonstrates that those guilty of `white-collar crime' whose resources can finance armies of highly-paid lawyers are basically too much trouble to indict, that a successful prosecution is a task beyond the energies of all but the most determined prosecutor due to the complexity and arcane detail of the evidence. More often the Wall Street firm admits to `mistakes' and pays a wad of cash into the Federal budget as a fine, admitting no wrongdoing: the fine doesn't dent the firm's profits much, the Government gets US$ millions/billions into its coffers; an expensive protracted court case with a less-than-evens prospect of success is avoided and the perpetrators go scot free to commit the same felony again. It looks like everybody wins but in the long run, everybody loses as society becomes more unequal, more divided along the lines of class and wealth. If you've ever been puzzled/outraged as to why none of those who virtually bankrupted the global economy in 2008 have ever faced justice, let alone seen the inside of a jail cell, Taibbi demonstrates exactly how and why this has happened in astounding detail.

Juxtaposed with tales of Wall Street financiers effectively immune from prosecution, Taibbi journeys to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and to the stifling and miserable NYC courts to document how the poor and disadvantaged are treated by the criminal justice system, and the zealous big-fishing-net approach of the NYPD: scoop up enough people off the streets and you can be confident of finding a small percentage to indict for some infraction, it's just the law of averages. He also spends time with Latino and Vietnamese immigrants working low-paid jobs in a chicken factory-town in Georgia, and shows us the desperate conditions endured by welfare claimants in California (many poor immigrant single mothers) who wait in line all day to be assessed for welfare and can at any time be subject to intrusive domestic search by Gestapo-like officials, or be prosecuted and jailed for unintentionally defrauding the state even where the fault clearly lies with administrators, not with the claimant.

Most of these people at the lower end of society are invisible to the wealthy, who have no contact with and little knowledge of their daily struggles for survival.

It's important to emphasise that Taibbi doesn't advocate that genuine criminal activity or welfare fraud at the low end of society should be excused; he's a champion of equal justice for all and merely shows us that the playing field is not level, that the deck is stacked in your favour if you're rich. It's always been that way (to some degree) in all human societies for time out of mind, but Taibbi argues persuasively that we're now in a new phase where systemic injustice is being institutionalised, and we're in danger of accepting this is Just The Way Things Are And Ought To Be.

Matt Taibbi has matured into a perceptive and intelligent writer and is becoming one of the most important social commentators on the US political scene. He's moreover a hardworking investigator of the old fashioned kind, guiding the reader through complex, arcane pieces of legislation and case histories with great thoroughness which a less diligent journalist might shortcut or avoid (for example, the 54-pages of Chapter 4 contain the most complete, insightful and forensically detailed analysis of the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank you'll ever read - laced with biting humour). He spends days sitting in the public galleries of municipal court rooms, countless hours poring over the minutiae of legal verdicts; looks up obscure congressional memos, visits the oppressed underclass in their pitiful housing projects or in jail, exposes the reality of what it's like at the rough end of the system. Moreover he delivers his essay in a lively and entertaining writing style, engaging the reader with humour, irony and poignancy. He is that rare commodity in the 21st century: a courageous and original campaigner for societal change possessed of an impassioned sense of fairness and natural justice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's the same the whole world over . . ., 14 July 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (Hardcover)
. . . it's the poor that get the blame/It's the rich as gets the pleasure/ Ain't it just a bleedin' shame." An old story, then . . . but one that Matt Taibbi would argue is especially important to take to heart at a time of growing income inequality. For whatever you think of "income inequality," it means, says Taibbi, the wealthy people and the institutions that support their wealth are not subject to the same system of justice as poor people, and that means that our whole system of justice is breaking down and that we therefore need to insist as citizens that the laws of the land are fairly applied. There's something wrong when a welfare mother is jailed for lying about her income on a form -- that is, she's subject to criminal penalties -- while people who robo-sign hundreds of documents supposedly guaranteeing the value of worthless mortgage arrangements rarely come into the ambit of the criminal justice system at all. If action is taken against them, it's in civil court, and if a fine is imposed, it is paid by the firm for which they work. As individuals, they don't suffer at all. In a time when crime is down, more and more law-enforcement resources are deployed to catch relatively small fish, while (especially following the repeal of Glass-Steagall), less attention is paid and less regulatory attention is focused on large banks, insurance companies, and investment management.

Taibbi is a superb story teller, both of the difficulties of the lives of low-income people navigating the welfare system and of the complicated, unethical and frequently illegal behavior of banks and hedge-fund managers, and his book is organized so that the stories of the poor and the rich are juxtaposed, so that we see the difference in treatment. He doesn't pretend to be objective about this -- he thinks the difference amounts to a scandal, and he wants us to be angry. And as we read, we see a lot to be angry about. While the idea of the two separate systems of "justice" broadly organizes the book, the stories he tells aren't all the same. There are many ways in which poor (and often black and brown) people can get in trouble, ranging from immigration issues to welfare to stop-and-frisk. Taibbi doesn't present these people as all "innocent" -- he just wants to insist that punishment for breaking the law needs to be consistent across the board, and as inequality of income increases, the obviousness of the two-tiered system becomes all the more evident to him and, he would hope, to us. Likewise, there is great variety in his stories of rich malefactors, from those who bundle and approve toxic mortgage debt to those who use "aggressive" short-selling strategies to drive companies into bankruptcy and therefore easier to take over, to those who lie to judges about takeover arrangements in order to preserve the personal wealth of those who are doing the arranging. The extent to which the government fails to scrutinize much of this activity -- fails in "due diligence," as the saying goes -- is staggering. And Taibbi pins a lot of the blame on Bill Clinton -- both for acceding to the repeal of Glass-Steagell AND for creating the bureaucracy, in the name of "ending welfare as we know it," that enables law-enforcement to harass the poor to an extent to which much greater malefactors are never subjected. It's clear too that he doesn't think the Obama administration or Holder's Justice Department really care about these problems.

My characterization of the book so far has been very general, and that's because I don't want to "spoil" the stories. This isn't a work of fiction -- it's a work of engaged reportage -- but its stories have a power that I don't want to give away. I would just add that in addition to being a great storyteller, Taibbi is a very clear explainer of complicated stuff (like large-scale short-selling strategies, for example). His ability to combine explanation with gripping narrative in a style that has a demotic edge without loss of precision is something to wonder at. If you read this book and are impressed, go back and try "Griftopia."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars depressing..., 8 Jun. 2014
By 
K. PETERS "tentacle67" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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but I couldn't stop reading it. I think we're in big trouble...I like Taibbi's writing. He makes clear issues that might well bewilder the layman on the street about issues that we really should all be aware about. I recommend this highly and am looking forward to reading some of his other stuff I've bought. Best to incorporate some light fiction in between each of his books so as not to become despondent and give up hope and I mean that in a good way though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anybody who worries about the current drift towards a more ..., 15 Aug. 2014
By 
gwi "GWI" (Brighton, Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Divide (Paperback)
Anybody who worries about the current drift towards a more unequal society should read this. Taibbi has used all his reporting skills to produce a multi-faceted description and analysis of the USA today---and [possibly much of Western Europe tomorrow. Truly un-putdownable!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must purchase - this book tells us what is wrong with the financial, legal and government systems, 28 Oct. 2014
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Stunning read. Well written, brilliantly argued and impossible to put down. My mouth was hanging open at some point as the sheer audacity of the American system became clear. Shocking as well. A must purchase. I can't recommend this enough.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIGHTWEIGHT, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (Hardcover)
It starts well but runs out of steam rather quickly and becomes repetitive to the point of being boring. Immigration injustice, Police corruption and the apparent immunity of the Financial establishment minions are very serious problems not only for the american society but also for the world at large. Unfortunately the whole book gives the impression of having been written for commercial purposes rather than as the result of serious investigations and reflection. A little bit light weight and a missed opportunity.
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The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi (Hardcover - 8 April 2014)
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