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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for Wire addicts
I hesitated a bit before buying this as it seemed from reading some reviews it was just a recap of each episode plus a bit extra. But I'm really glad I bought it. The prologue by David Simon is almost worth the price in itself, he's an eloquent, articulate and gifted writer whose ability to summarise the malaise of innercities - his reason for creating the Wire - is...
Published on 16 Nov 2009 by Z. Goodman

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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old edition - covers only series 1-3. NEW EDITION OUT SOON covering all 5.
***THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE OLD EDITION OF THE BOOK, AND HAS BEEN PUT HERE IN ERROR BY AMAZON***

Hello, my name is Liam, and I'm a Wire-o-holic.

I first noticed the series on Amazon in the DVD sectionThe Wire: Complete HBO Season 1-5. Attracted by the great reviews and the pedigree of the writers and producer, I ordered the first installment. Two...
Published on 19 Sep 2008 by Straightforward


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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old edition - covers only series 1-3. NEW EDITION OUT SOON covering all 5., 19 Sep 2008
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***THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE OLD EDITION OF THE BOOK, AND HAS BEEN PUT HERE IN ERROR BY AMAZON***

Hello, my name is Liam, and I'm a Wire-o-holic.

I first noticed the series on Amazon in the DVD sectionThe Wire: Complete HBO Season 1-5. Attracted by the great reviews and the pedigree of the writers and producer, I ordered the first installment. Two months later and I've got through all but the fifth and final series, which is on pre-order.

The reason I tell you this is to establish where my perspective is on this book; I loved the show, the dialogue, the 'plot arc' (or whatever the new word for storylines is) - it's dazzlingly good.

The first thing that you should know if you're thinking of buying this book is that it was written as they were doing the third series, so it covers less than half the output they've completed now.

When I opened this book, my immediate reaction was one of foreboding - the layout was quite large print with lots of pictures and margin lines in evidence; it's got that look of a magazine style to it (it's like Harpercollins do Dorling Kindersley) - signs of dumbing down or padding out, perhaps. This impression dissipated slightly, but nevertheless stayed with me as I read the book, as perhaps two-thirds of it is written in the form of episode synopses. These were fairly entertaining to recap on, but it felt like I was reading a media studies textbook (as I imagine one to be, anyway) at times.

But the good stuff! The remaining third of the book consists of essays by the writers of the scripts and others, and the amount that they CARE about this project shines through; there's a lot of social commentary on Baltimore, the setting for The Wire and hometown to a seeming majority of those involved in the series, and it's these testimonies that are worth getting this book for.

These's also interviews with some of the actors (another 'magazine - type' thing to do) which were uneven in quality and insight, as well as cast lists at the back.

So, because the book only covers two series and previews the third, and because there's too much synopsis and not enough personal opinion, I can only give it three stars.

I'm still glad I have it at the used price though, as it looks good on the shelf next to the DVDs of the show. Could this be the beginning of OCD?

EDIT 08/08/09: There's a new book out that covers the whole 5 series - see it here. It's bound to be a better choice if you were considering this old edition, especially at the pre-order price.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for Wire addicts, 16 Nov 2009
By 
Z. Goodman "Zozitufnell" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I hesitated a bit before buying this as it seemed from reading some reviews it was just a recap of each episode plus a bit extra. But I'm really glad I bought it. The prologue by David Simon is almost worth the price in itself, he's an eloquent, articulate and gifted writer whose ability to summarise the malaise of innercities - his reason for creating the Wire - is inspiring to read. I'm only a few chapters in, but already it's taken me back to my happy hours watching the Wire unfold and giving me interesting insights into how it all came about and what reality it was showing. If, like me, you are a Wire addict, this will help your craving when you have watched all five series and no TV programme will be the same again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Wired, 17 Dec 2009
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Mr. Antonio Cavaldoro (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent companion to what must be the best TV series ever. There's a lot of insights and things that you might not have known - such as which of the cast were really in the "game", how the show got picked up by HBO and many other snippets. I liked the episode by episode summary, which has encouraged me to watch it all over again. The only part that wasn't quite so fantastic was an interview conducted (oddly) by the tiresome Nick Hornby, which doesn't seem to offer anything. It irritated me because at one point he's asking about why Baltimore's such a great backdrop and starts musing about why he used it in Hi-Fidelity, which of course was set in London when he wrote it. Simon comes out with some nonsense too in that interview, stating he used English actors because it was important to have faces that the viewer didn't recognize as it might distract them. Odd, when elsewhere he goes on about using actors that he knew (about half of them come from Tom Fontana's Oz) and (correctly) states that the reason for it's success is that it tells it's story without attempting to pander to an audience. Anyway, it's a small gripe and Simon's a genius so I'll let him off.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good companion to the series, 17 Mar 2010
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Mr. A. Whiteside "tonyjackie3" (uk) - See all my reviews
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I have to start this review by stating that I think that 'The Wire' is one of the best TV dramas ever and is right up there with Band Of Brothers - Complete HBO Series Commemorative Gift Set (6 Disc Box Set) [2001] [DVD] and Deadwood : Complete HBO Seasons 1-3 (12 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [2004]. I like many others, was sorry to see the series end but in retrospect it probably did finish at the right time. I was hoping that a book would be brought out as a guide to the series and 'The Wire: Truth Be Told' is a very good effort.

There are synopsies for every single episode from the five series, interviews with acors, directors, writers and even true life characters that people from the series are based on. Also featured are loads of photos including some in colour. There is even a short section on the tune that Omar whistled so there is very little missing here. One thing that did niggle with me a bit was the sense of 'we are brilliant and we know it' attitude that does surface from time to time. We all know how great this series was so it doesn't really need this book to remind us in the way it sometimes does.

Still, this is a fine book and very good work has been done by Rafael Alvarez. As a guide to the programme, I don't think it is as good as the excellent Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills which tells the story of that fabulous drama in a, perhaps, more modest way. For all that though, this book is a must have for the many of us that are still mourning the end of the legend that is 'The Wire'.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tapping THE WIRE, 3 Nov 2009
I got into THE WIRE early last year and speedily devoured the first four seasons in order to watch the final one as it was broadcast on FX. Since the final season aired THE WIRE has really tipped into the mainstream, and deservedly so. It has done for television in this decade what TWIN PEAKS achieved in the nineties, which is basically out-do cinema in ambition and scope.

At its heart THE WIRE belongs to its writers. Everyone knows about the vaunted contributions to the series of Richard Price, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane et al, and the fact that it sprung out of two extraordinary works of immersion journalism written by its co-creator, David Simon: HOMCIDE and THE CORNER.

So it seems only fitting that a similarly high end, bountiful book should be released, bringing it all back down to the written word again. Every WIRE fan wants bang for their buck and this delivers in spades. It's full of thoughtful essays from numerous contributors, loads of photographs, as well as superb commentary and observations from Rafael Alvarez (who wrote for the show too).

On top of that there's a knock-out introduction by David Simon, which confirms that although much has been written about THE WIRE, this is definitively the last word.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential companion to the series, 23 Nov 2010
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This review is from: The Wire: Truth be Told (Paperback)
Although each episode is briefly described, this book is so much more than a simple guide. As well as the perspective of the creators and actors, there are fascinating insights and revelations about the real people who inspired the memorable characters. One or two of the articles are a little sanctimonious and preachy, but these do not detract from an excellent companion, which will enhance the enjoyment and appreciation of the series for any Wire fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book is as good as the series, 6 Mar 2014
By 
Veli M (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
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Solid background for an unusually sensible series. Written well, too. If you enjoyed the Wire, you'll like to book as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for The WireFans., 26 Dec 2013
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Got this for my. Son ,one of his stocking presses. He loves it and was thrilled to even know about it. Asked what was best bit he says All of it,!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential ReWiring, 12 Mar 2013
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Excellent value for money (it's a thick book) and essential reading for Wire fans. It brings home just what is so special about this series. A comprehensive episodes guide, it explores the series' themes and the various players - like The Wire itself, it's full of contributions from the people who made it happen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty Of Insights, 2 Jan 2013
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Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wire: Truth be Told (Paperback)
Although it could be argued that Rafael Alvarez's Truth Be Told analysis of TV's The Wire contains around two-thirds of its near-600 pages of (for me) superfluous material, namely a synopsis of every episode (surely just watch the series instead?) together with a host of 'supporting' detail (cast & crew, glossary, etc), the 'critical essays' included here contain such a plethora of interesting and insightful facts, that they alone should be enough to keep any self-respecting aficionado of the series riveted.

Indeed, even if this weighty tome were slimmed down so as to contain only David Simon's 30-page introductory prologue, this of itself would almost (but not quite) justify the book's rather exorbitant RRP of £15. Simon's lead-in provides as lucid and rational an account of the USA's (extrapolated from Baltimore's) social ills, whether these be political, educational or criminal, as you're ever likely to read (and certainly something you could never hope to attain via any US party political manifesto).

In addition to Simon's essay, Alvarez's book contains many interesting snippets, including identifying the wide range of real-life (normally past) politicians, policemen, etc, given bit parts in the series, plus (maybe rather predictably) the fact that Barack Obama is a big fan and gave Andre Royo (Bubbles) a 'shout out' when he spotted him on a film-set in Prague. Also included are a number of individual essays on key series characters, including (I was pleased to see) my four personal favourites - Omar, Bunk, Bubbles and Stringer - as well as McNulty, Frank Sobotka, Ziggy, Prop. Joe and Snoop (this latter giving the true account of Felicia Pearson's life providing another remarkable tale). In addition, in what reads (to me, at least) as something of a defensive one-pager, David Simon has written a glowing appraisal of Jamie Hector's portrayal as Marlo. I would admit to having seen nothing of Hector's other work, but for me Marlo remains one of the (or maybe the only) weakest characters in the series (I would have gone for Gbenga Akinnagbe - who played Chris Partlow - in preference to Hector).

All-in-all then, an essential read for all fans of the series.
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The Wire: Truth be Told
The Wire: Truth be Told by Rafael Alvarez (Paperback - 2 Sep 2010)
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