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Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Paperback – October 6, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Narrator Arthur Morey provides a smooth, unadorned rendering of a complex story. Eventually, Morey fades to the background as the sad drama that leads to disgrace takes center stage." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Peter Elkind is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of The Death Shift. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Fortune, and Texas Monthly.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (October 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591843928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843924
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Seth Faison on May 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eliot Spitzer provided us newspaper readers with a juicy story - upmarket politician gets caught with upmarket hooker - for a couple of weeks in 2008. There were legal papers that clocked the movements and telephone calls of `Client #9,' with engrossing specificity, as he prepared for assignations with the alluring Ashley Dupree. There were funny details, like his reluctance to take off his calf-hugging black socks during intercourse (unlikely, it turns out). There were those memorable pictures of Ashley unclothed, over pages and pages of the New York Post. More than anything, there was the enduring irony of a man who built a political career on sterling ethics, who presented himself as all goody-two-shoes while he bulldozed sleazy Wall Street practices, getting his ultimate come-down from such a tawdry kind of lawbreaking.

The Spitzer story may have seemed like daily news fodder when it broke. But there was a deeper story here. Peter Elkind, a financial reporter who wrote a good book about the Enron debacle, now makes a fine case for taking the time to go back to the beginning and scope out the whole tale. Spitzer was an iconoclastic, caustic politician. He came out of an intense upper-crust New York family with a superhuman need to succeed. Early on, he was an unlikely politician - awkward, impatient, arrogant. He found his calling as the state's Attorney General, attacking financial practices that everyone thought were untouchable. If he was overzealous and stubborn and unreasonable, voters didn't care. The public hunger for a political leader who could Get Things Done pushed his popularity ever upward. He coasted to victory as Governor. There was talk, and not a small amount, of a first Jewish President.

We like to watch them climb, and man, do we love to see them fall.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did not have a big prior interest in Eliot Spitzer, and he was barely on my radar screen when his career imploded so spectacularly. However, it does get my attention when someone engages in such amazing self-destructivness, so I ordered the book. Normally these biographies which are inspired by one particular event begin with scenes from the event, then go back and do the whole life story -- how his parents met, blah blah blah, and I have to work through those like the meat loaf before I get to the dessert of the real reason for the book. The structure of this book is no different, but Elkind's account of Sptizer's background and rise to power is fascinating. I never thought that I would find much interest in Albany politics, but Elkind's narration is very readable. There is very little salacious detail here, and despite the author's conversations with Spitzer, no attempt to explore why a person in his position would take such huge risks, and the reader can only speculate about the compulsion that Spitzer was operating under. Nonetheless, this was a fast and gripping account of the rise and fall of a man who could have been president.
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Format: Hardcover
"Welcome to a Greek tragedy" were Spitzer's words when his scandal with a prostitute became know. The wealthy Governor, living in a $17,000 a month apartment in Manhattan, was the son of a real estate businessman. He had been a famous prosecutor with notable cases against Wall Street operations and even prostitution services. There are some suspicions that his downfall may have been assisted by someone seeking revenge.

Elliot's father, Bernie Spitzer, was quoted as stating "I play to kill" and fought authority throughout his career. His friends state Bernie raised Eliot to be a "warrior". Eliot attended Princeton where he put together a campus-wide toga party in addition to creating the jocular Antarctica Liberation Front. The group though did declare that student participation on university committees were designed to minimize recommendations from students.

Eliot married Silda Wall, who was unhappily married when she met Eliot. Spitzer became a prosecutor who indicted several organized crime leaders. Spitzer used undercover agents, sting operations, and installing listening devices into Gambino crime organization offices. A high profile trial led to a plea bargain when those accused ended their allegedly illegal operations, paid $12 million in fines, and served no prison time. This did cause an immediate crippling change in mob businesses.

Spitzer then spent 18 months in private practice before deciding to run for Attorney General. His wife was surprised he sought public office before their children were grown. His wife gave birth to their third child five days after he announced his candidacy.

Spitzer self-financed his own campaign. He was in a primary against Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and former State Sen. Karen Burstein.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a big fan of Peter Elkind's The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, which he co-wrote with then-Fortune magazine co-worker, Bethany McLean. That work was turned into an outstanding documentary by Alex Gibney (Catching Hell). Here, Elkind notes that he and Gibney teamed up from the start - Elkind to write his book, Gibney to make a complementary documentary. Each work informs the other. Ken Langone, for example, would not talk to Elkind, but did go on the record with Gibney. So, Elkind's book recounts that exchange. Elkind's hard cover release was called "Rough Justice." The paperback was re-titled "Client 9" to dovetail with the movie.

Elkind is a great writer. This book reads like a taut thriller - as good as any fiction. In fact, if you threw a twist into fiction like the doozy Spitzer perpetrated on the world, you'd think, "Come on! That wouldn't happen!" But happen it did. Eliot Spitzer - in a monumentally stupid, inexplicable act - blew up his career, brought shame on his family and roiled the professional and personal lives of hundreds of his team. I take one look at his vivacious, intelligent, talented-in-her-own-right wife and think: what on earth could you have been thinking to risk losing that? It's not for nothing that Silda Wall's pained, shocked face became the inspiration for The Good Wife: The First Season.
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