- Paperback: 396 pages
- Publisher: Trine Day (April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781937584894
- ISBN-13: 978-1937584894
- ASIN: 1937584895
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie Paperback – April, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"[H]is book on Christie may well be his best read, since it comes right in the middle of Bridgegate and other questions. Manzo’s book offers support to people such as Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who have also raised concerns about the Christie administration [...] The book shows a step by step process in which Christie allegedly steered the system of justice to his own ends.” —Al Sullivan, reporter, Hudson Reporter
"If you want to understand hardball politics, or if you live in New Jersey, you'll want to read this." —Susie Madrak, crooksandliars.com
About the Author
Louis Michael Manzo is a former state assemblyman and the author of God’s Earth Also Cries. He lives in Belmar, New Jersey.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-8 of 21 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This new book, "Ruthless Ambition," illustrates that Krugman correctly identified the real scandal as potential partisanship by those retained as “loyal Bushies” in 94 regional U.S. attorneys offices.
Author Louis Manzo provides a riveting account of how Christie abused his prosecutor’s post to save his job — and then won two terms as governor beginning in 2009. This positioned Christie by early this year as a front-runner for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination.
The author is a former Jersey City mayoral candidate whom Christie’s successors arrested in 2009 on corruption charges. Manzo then vindicated himself in 2012 from claims he had accepted a bribe from Solomon Dwek, a government informant Christie recruited to pose as a corrupt donor to Democrats.
Manzo, a former city health director with a talent for research, probably dooms any hope Christie may hold for future elective office. The book's revelations help both Republican and Democratic critics of Christie.
Years ago, Krugman’s column helped prompt me to write investigative reports for the Huffington Post and elsewhere documenting dubious prosecutions by those like Christie permitted to keep their prosecutor jobs during the 2006 political purge. Later, I founded the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project to monitor such cases more systematically.
That perspective has enabled me to chronicle and assess for more than four years Manzo’s brave fight against the odds. Some 97 percent of those federally accused plead guilty, thereby giving prosecutors near unlimited power. Once indicted, a defendant typically loses friends, job, savings — and often freedom, family and self-respect.
Manzo lost his home and savings, but he persevered to win his freedom. Now he provides a devastating and rare account of the purge scandal’s consequences, most notably in showcasing what it takes for a politician (Christie in this instance) to ascend from the pack to nationwide stature.
This is not a book for everyone, in part because of the level of detail he alleges about abuses in New Jersey. But for those with an interest in the law or government it is not necessary to remember the names or the specifics to see that the horse-trading -- particularly involving judgeships and prosecutions -- is totally appalling even if only a small part might be verifiable outside of newspaper clippings.
The Christie camp’s rebuttal falls flat. “He [Manzo] was the beneficiary of a change in federal law, and he was never declared or found ‘innocent,’” longtime Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
But anyone who has served on a criminal case jury has heard the judge instruct the jury that defendants are presumed innocent unless prosecutors prove guilt. Similarly, Drewniak and his boss cannot credibly argue that prosecutors deserve more deference than judges in determining a law’s scope. In this instance, judges repeatedly ruled in Manzo’s favor and concluded that no trial was necessary.
More generally, the book traces the impact of Christie’s record as a Bush Administration appointee. Christie, nominated in 2001, served until December 2008 before he announced his gubernatorial campaign.
His successors helped him by orchestrating the largest federal arrest in the state’s history, the so-called “Jersey Sting” in July 2009 coinciding with the gubernatorial campaign season.
Christie’s prosecution-office successors — a dozen of whom he hired as governor after he won the election — assigned hundreds of federal agents to arrest Manzo and 44 other corruption suspects in headline-grabbing raids.
After the election, trial evidence showed how prosecutors staged the show.
Most shocking, prosecutors recruited as their star witness the con man Dwek. He was a brothel/casino operator, and had been arrested in 2006 for trying to pass two phony $25 million checks to shore up his Ponzi scheme that had scammed more than $100 million from investors.
Instead of prosecuting Dwek in a slam-dunk $50 million bank fraud case, Christie and his team promised the defendant leniency if he helped plot the arrests of others.
Authorities wired Dwek for sound and turned a blind eye when a bankruptcy court gave him living expenses averaging $12,000 a month tax-free, which were siphoned from a fund for his scam victims. In Dwek’s role as a real estate developer, he drove a new Lexis supplied by the government. He donated more than $400,000 in federal taxpayer funds to local candidates.
Ever the entrepreneur, Dwek franchised the operation by paying other criminals huge fees to help him find local candidates who might accept donations in circumstances that could imprison them. The FBI reported that thousands of text instructions between Dwek and his FBI handlers were lost and thus unavailable for study by the defendants, as required.
All but one of the indicted political defendants were Democrats because authorities steered Dwek away from most Republicans.
Manzo’s concise, well-sourced narrative suggests an answer to one of the most puzzling aspects of the 2006 U.S. attorney scandal: why didn’t the Obama administration investigate partisan tactics in violation of DOJ guidelines more thoroughly and end the most dubious prosecutions?
A crackdown would have embarrassed the Justice Department and created inconvenient political problems for Obama, according to Ruthless Ambition and my previous research in many columns and my latest book, "Presidential Puppetry."
Spokespeople for the Obama Justice Department, not surprisingly, have repeatedly informed me and others that they pursue the facts and enforce the law fairly in all such cases.
Half the book focuses on Christie’s governorship, and national ascendancy.
Manzo portrays Christie as a skilled politician who rose from humble roots. Bush strategist Karl Rove nicknamed Christie as “Big Boy” and assisted the prosecutor’s political ascent.
As a former state assemblyman, Manzo provides an informed description of Team Christie’s adept and occasionally sinister strategic decisions to protect and enrich allies, enforce reprisals against opponents, and occasionally double-cross one-time GOP allies.
As examples, Manzo portrays Christie’s self-focused 2012 GOP nominating speech for Mitt Romney and Christie’s friendliness with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy as strategic payback to Romney for omitting Christie from the 2012 ticket.
These steps helped position Christie for, among other things, more control over federal aid plus increased popularity during his 2013 re-election campaign in a blue state. Also, Christie reduced the odds that a President Romney would be running for re-election in 2016.
Christie won re-election last fall with an impressive 60 percent of the vote. Christie’s successes made him the early favorite in polls for the 2016 GOP nomination.
Then emails produced via litigation revealed that Christie’s staff had intentionally created a massive tie up in Fort Lee for four days last September. Although the scandal is a serious blow to the governor and has prompted investigations, Christie has proven skills in handling previous direct threats from Democrats and the media.
My prediction is that his biggest threat will come from his own party, whose kingmakers are most comfortable with the kind of dynastic ties, family wealth and long visibility represented by Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney.
As it happens both Bush and Romney currently carry negatives from the previous Bush presidency and Romney’s 2012 defeat. But those memories will seem less important as time passes.
In the meantime, the two separately deny any plans to run for office even as they burnish their popularity as party elder statesmen by lending a helping hand as needed this year.
Each as an undeclared candidate benefits in the short run from helping Christie stay viable and overshadow potential fresh 2016 rivals in the GOP’s “center-right” space. Christie this year chairs the Republican Governors Association, which means that party leaders have the incentive to pull together to make his year a success despite by the bridge-lane scandal, which is relatively trivial compared to Manzo’s material.
Do we need a crystal ball?
Even the well-spoken, well-groomed and otherwise gentlemanly Bush and Romney have minions, at least a few of whom may not be above using Manzo’s book as part of their opposition research to chart Christie’s downfall at the right time.
Christie did not invent payback, ambition, or the rest of rough-and-tumble politics. Any fingerprints will look like ones from Democrats and the media.
“Big Boy” is likely to get a nudge sometime later this year from an unknown hand. It will help him star in his next role, Humpty Dumpty.