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The Perfect Villain: John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Hardcover – September 16, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Martin & Lawrence Press; First Edition edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097738988X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977389889
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,820,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary S. Chafetz is a twice Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist who worked for The Boston Globe for ten years. In 1992, Boston Magazine named him Boston's Best Investigative Reporter. The following year, Boston Magazine named him one of the ten best journalists of the past twenty-five years.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gracchus on September 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago, Gary Chafetz wrote a book on a notorious malpractice case in which he countered the easy, even lazy, journalistic narrative that dominated the headlines. The story had it that an elite Harvard psychotherapist led an unfortunate, confused working-class medical student to despair and suicide. Chafetz' research uncovered a quite different, and more plausible, story that re-focused he narrative and largely exonerated the psychotherapist from the most serious charges leveled against her. It also told a story of a successful professional, who had done much excellent work and was destroyed by the financial costs of defending herself. In his new book he examines Jack Abramoff, whose name has come to exemplify the rotten core of K Street Republican politics. Chafetz's book should be read widely, not only because he casts doubt on this most recent narrative of villainy...this time the story of the evil, powerful lobbyist who has robbed and defrauded naive Native Americans, but also, and more importantly, because he deals quite harshly with the role of John McCain in the affair. According to Chafetz, McCain's desire to destroy Abramoff arose more out of a personal grudge than from his desire to root out corruption nd in the process he was both unethical and dishonest. McCain, in Chafetz's analysis, shows a vindictive and deceitful side, one far from the "straight talk express" so beloved of the sound-bite corporate media. One doesn't have to accept all Chafetz's argument about Abramoff's activities to appreciate what he has accomplished in writing a carefully researched book against the grain of common wisdom and even against such fair-minded commentators as Bill Moyers. It may be that a very flawed man operating in a deeply flawed political culture has been made a scapegoat while another greatly flawed man is now the Republican candidate for the presidency. At any rate, voters should see this book soon.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Deanne R. Peterson on December 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What I find amazing is how did this this reporter ever get Abramoff to talk to him without his own lawyers and the federal prosecutors knowing about it. It's nice to hear the other side of the persuasively and carefully documented. I don't think I'll ever believe anything I read in the newspapers again without a huge dose of skepticism.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book seems to be well researched and makes the point that selective, one-sided, political arguments--political propaganda actually--are the norm in Congress, the Executive Branch and the Justice Department. I think we thoughtful voters realize all that and find it despicable, but what can we do about it? More about this later.**

As you read the book, you realize that corporate money, not the individual voter, runs the country and a majority of our politicians. Greed, an easy term to toss around, often seems to be the politicians' bottom line.

Though I believe he was rooked by McCain and other chameleons I don't come away feeling sorry for Mr. Abramoff, because I do believe that with his experience among the high rollers and his own high intelligence he should have realized that corrupt politicians and their minions play worse than dirty. All one has to do is read the legal loopholes that are often cleverly embedded in lawmakers' bills and you realize they and their staffers have profitably been gaming the system.

The discussion in the book does make me wonder how much we really need to know about McCain's POW days. Some argue that if he were to became president in Jan. 2009 it is not unlikely that he could be blackmailed by those who know the whole truth about his so-called collaboration with the N. Vietnamese while he was their prisoner. Of course, the KGB archives could have additional negative info about McCain's days as a POW, and certain factions could TRY to blackmail him, but at this stage in his life that might be a futile effort on their part. We would know their motivation and perhaps wonder how we ourselves would have withstood inhumane treatment.

**Our beloved country is a mess.
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