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Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist Hardcover – November 7, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: WND Books; 1 edition (November 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936488442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936488445
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arguably one of the world's most famous lobbyists and former Washington power players, Jack Abramoff's rollercoaster life story might as well be a major motion picture. In fact, it is. Already two major motion pictures based on Abramoff's story have hit the silver screen. Dubbed on the cover of Time Magazine as the "Man Who Bought Washington", Abramoff rose to become the nation's most successful and prominent lobbyist, before becoming enmeshed in the most harrowing political scandal since Watergate.

Having served 43 months in federal prison, Abramoff is out and ready to speak. Few know more than he about how Washington really works. Abramoff once famously labeled the dysfunctional and Byzantine system which has become our federal government as the "favor factory". None can better show why this factory needs to be shuttered, so good government and democracy can prevail.

Born in Atlantic City, raised in Beverly Hills, California, Abramoff was graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in English Literature and Opera. At Brandeis, Abramoff commenced his political career, heading the state-wide College Republican group and was credited with delivering Massachusetts to Ronald Reagan in 1980, the first time since Eisenhower that a Republican would win the Bay State. With that victory notched on his belt, Abramoff was elected as the national chairman of the College Republicans and built that organization into the largest student political organization in the free world.

His next position foreshadowed his rise to national prominence, as he was chosen to head President Reagan's grassroots lobbying organization. In this role, Abramoff honed the lobbying skills he would later deploy to become the nation's top legislative advocate. Under his leadership the organization moved major Reagan administration initiatives through the Congress and sponsored the world's first convocation of anti-Soviet forces in the bush of Southern Africa.

As the Reagan era wound down, Abramoff moved from the world of politics to the world of cinema, becoming a motion picture producer - making action adventure films, including "Red Scorpion". His international experience in structuring motion picture finance made him a popular lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, where he had been graduated in 1986; but the siren call of power drew Abramoff back to his roots, and in 1994, he joined the lobbying division of the law firm headed by Bill Gates' father. Abramoff put his extraordinary talents to work and, within a few years, built one of the nation's most prestigious and profitable lobbying practices. As Abramoff continued to build, his political base expanded and soon he found himself at the top of his profession.

When a corporation, Indian tribe, or foreign nation needed to win, they went to Abramoff. With his eclectic hand-picked team of lobbying guns, Abramoff never lost, and his clients reaped billions of dollars of benefit.

Abramoff's arsenal included his Signatures restaurant, one of the Capital's finest, some of the best sports tickets in the nation, and an unlimited capacity to raise funds to fuel the political system which made his power possible.

Abramoff had it all. And then it was gone. In an instant, his world collapsed and Abramoff fell into the abyss, eventually landing in federal prison, his name becoming synonymous with corruption and what's wrong with our government.

The fall from grace changed Jack Abramoff. The shocking wake-up call woke him up. And now, Abramoff is determined to do all he can to identify and help end the corruption of the system he so well played. His book Capitol Punishment will not only serve as a cautionary tale, but as an historic platform for reform of the system.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has its interesting moments, and it could have been a really good book. But listening to Abramoff brag on himself page after page after page takes so much away from the story. His self love is a major distraction. But the book is also very revealing - on two levels. One is the revelations he intentionally shares about Washington, lobbying and politics (as well as his experiences in Hollywood and with Imelda Marcos and his treatment in prison). The other is his unintentional revelations as to what kind of person he is. You can't read this book without seeing him for the narcissist he is. To hear him tell it, most people are self-serving, lazy, greedy and bad - everyone but the people he loves like Tom DeLay and his other "friends." From his perspective, he's generous to a fault, kind, godly, and is smarter and works harder than anyone. Anyone who has ever worked on Capitol Hill or in politics will very quickly see through Abramoff's self promotion.

Don't get me wrong. This book is interesting and telling at times (such as the way he portrays Ralph Reed, experiences with members of Congress, battles like the one he had with movie producers who set up shop outside his restaurant, etc.), and I don't regret reading it. But this is not a five-star book, and I really don't understand the unconditional raves for this book or the fact all reviews before mine were five star. A couple of them don't even sound like they read they same book I read. But read the book and judge for yourself. I noticed that this is the first review ever posted by several five-star reviewers, and it is the second or third review for all the other five-star reviewers.
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Format: Hardcover
This is my first review for Amazon, but after reading the big difference in opinions about Jack Abramoff's book, I wanted to add my thoughts. After watching Abramoff on 60 Minutes and the Colbert Report and other shows, I decided to read his book. I found him more appealing on those television shows than I did in this book. Reading his book did not leave me with the same favorable impression I got from watching his interviews.

I don't understand reviewers who bill his book as a cure for what ails politics. Jack Abramoff and people like him are what's wrong with politics. He can blame it on the system all he wants and act like his working within this system or his working the system were simply a reflection on the political system and not on himself, but he would be wrong. The bottom line is that the majority of people serve and work in the political system without being corrupt like Jack Abramoff was or without corrupting others as he says he did.

I also don't know where people are getting that his book is one of great repentance or contrition. I didn't get much of that at all. Instead I got that he would prefer to blame the system rather than truly examine himself and accept blame for his consuming greed. I'm not saying there aren't reforms that need to take place in politics. Of course there are. I'm just saying that even with reforms, corrupt people like Jack Abramoff would still exist. They exist in all fields of work. There are bad apples in every profession.

Abramoff wants people to think that his book is an indictment of the political system, but really it is an indictment of himself. Some of these reviews that fawn over him and talk about how he has the cure for what ails politics are giving him too much credit.
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2 Comments 40 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Bob on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In short: The addage "I was born at night, but not last night" has to apply in this case. I purchased this book not knowing much about Mr. Abramoff or the scandals that he was notorious for and, generally speaking, felt that he was probably treated unfairly in the past 6 or 7 years or so. Having read this book, from his point of view, I'm fairly confident that Mr. Abramoff is a bit of an unsavory character and probably deserves much of the criticism he's gotten.

This book seems to try and redeem him. He acknowledges that he did wrong and that he should pay for his offenses. However, he glosses over some of the more egregious topics covered (Suncruz), readily points the fingers at others, portrays himself as more religious than the Pope, and, perhaps most perplexing, expects the reader to suspend common sense. When the author spends so much time and energy providing details about benign / useless events and conversations and then skips through seemingly big parts of the story, the suspicion I think rightly points to the fact that there's a lot more there than meets the eye.

This book, I think, is just a means for the author to make money. I can't help but think of Kevin Trudeau. I feel sleezy having contributed to this guy's pocket (and this, from someone who politically sees the world the same way). If I can dissuade someone from buying this book to save yourself the same feeling - all the better. I've never written a review before, but having read this book, feel pretty passionately that anyone contemplating should satisfy themselves with some decent fiction.
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