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The Price of Experience: Money, Power, Image, and Murder in Los Angeles Hardcover – 25 Aug 2000

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 705 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing (25 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871135124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871135124
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,043,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most European and British readers will not have heard of the Billionaire's Boy's Club (BBC) I would guess. I certainly hadn't until I did some searching for literature on police corruption in LA. I didn't find much, but I did end up with the BBC Story.

In brief, the BBC were a group of young, rich, thick young men who during the 1980s allowed themselves to be manipulated and corrupted by an apparent psychopath called Joe Hunt (nee Gamsky). Hunt/Gamsky used the social cache of these LA brats to help him set up a ponzi scheme fraud, and then some of them murdered some people because they couldn't even commit fraud properly, and were running out of money.

That's about it, but the book describes the descent of these thoroughly unlikeable reprobates in excruciating detail. The reader is regailed with descriptions of not only the protagonists, but what feels like their family tree going back three generations, including pets and gardeners. It is at least professionally written and well edited, and there are some nice touched which evoke the LA of the 1980s in elegaic style. I assume, because I've never been to LA.

The central character, Hunt/Gamsky is someone you will feel you know, if not like, by the end of the book. He, and in some senses the book, seems to style himself as a cult leader cum financial whiz, but he failed at both. Anyone in their right mind should know that if someone claims to have discovered a 'system' for beating the commodities markets, or getting a return on investment of 13% per month, they are a deluded con man.

The author is to be commended on his superb research skills and his professional approach to writing, but this book is three times too long and getting to the end was a struggle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put, the best work of non-ficition I have EVER read!! 15 Sept. 2001
By Ramon Gonzalez - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An absolute masterpiece. Unbelievably researched and beautifully written. It's a shame this book never caught the public eye, obviously because the BBC was such a dated subject at the time of publication. There is not a single tome in my entire collection that has brought me as much pleasure and insight. Far more than a mere true crime book, this epic is a stunning cultural history of Los Angeles. In fact, stating that "The Price of Experience" is merely a true crime book is like saying THE GODFATHER is merely a gangster film. Almost everyone I know that has read it agrees it is the finest non-fiction book ever written.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 13 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the great overlooked books of the 90's. It was overlooked, I believe, because of its length and the timing of its release: over a decade after its subjects, Joe Hunt and the Billionaire Boys Club, were in the media spotlight. What a shame because it a flat out masterpiece. As far as true crime books go this is a landmark and the top of the heap. Not only is it incredibly researched and hard to put down, but it is an amazing cultural history of Los Angeles and its reflection of America during the Reagan era. Out of the hundreds of books I have read concerning Los Angeles and American society and culture in general, none depicts so well out obsession with power, money, and image as Sullivan's book does. A hundred years from now I hope it will be read in American Studies, History, and English classes in universities along with such thematically similar books as The Great Gatsby, Sister Carrie, Davis' City of Quartz, Ellroy's LA Quartet and such films as The Godfather, Goodfellas, Chinatown, Mean Streets, LA Confidential, and American Beauty. Let's hope it stays in print. Read this classic.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely fascinating account 4 May 2000
By R. Mullins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the most engrossing books I've ever read. The story of a brilliant, highly principalled, amoral, ambitous, and effective person.
The story of how he acted as his own lawyer and got himself off of murder was utterly fascinating.
The story of someone who you could imagine could do anything he set his mind to. Absolutely anything.
He is really a fascinating character, and if you think about success or ambition, I am sure you will find this a facinating tale.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Astounding Accomplishment 28 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
How this book has failed to be recognized as a masterpiece is beyond me. The Price of Experience is an astounding accomplishment. The only other true crime books that can even bear comparison to it are In Cold Blood and the first half of The Executioner's Song. In fact, it denigrates The Price of Experience to classify it as simply a true crime book. Sullivan's rendition of Los Angeles in the 1980s provides the most vivid and memorable images of both the time and the place that I have ever found on the printed page. And his portrait of Joe Hunt is the the most compelling and insightful depiction of evil as a series of decisions--a process--that I can recall in contemporary literature. The characters ALL are exquisitely drawn and Ron Levin ranks among the most amusing miscreants ever captured in print. The Price of Experience deserves to remain in print for years to come and to appear on college syllabuses across the country.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete Story Of An Exciting & Disturbing True Crime Event 25 April 2003
By ntnrocket - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Before reading The Price of Experience, I had seen television documentaries/docu-dramas and read a primer on the topic. But if you don't know anything at all about the BBC and Joe Hunt, or you want to know a lot more, this book is all you'll ever need to read...ever!!! Sullivan goes into such great detail on every individual involved, including murdered scammers Ron Levin and Headiah Eslamenia, that the reader feels like he now knows each of them personally and could talk about them at great length with anyone. Buy this book because if you don't, you'll merely waste gas driving to the library to borrow it again and again. A modern true crime masterpiece! Both an engrossing narritive and an exhaustive reference book on the Billionaire Boys Club case all at the same time. An off the charts winner. You won't be sorry.
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