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Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff Paperback – March 27, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Stewart uses extensive sources for his own narration. Chief among these are notes from investigations, court proceedings, and personal interviews. Although the book is non-fiction, it's a page-turner, because the machinations of the perpetrators and their victims are suspenseful, ensnaring, and powerfully emotional. Each of the perpetrators would ultimately explain their deceits as motivated by "loyalty," but this seems mostly self-serving and devious. Whatever loyalty they had in mind was to themselves, as all were readily prepared to let underlings and associates take hard falls to cushion their own. In the end, most of the celebrity liars recovered reasonably, with the exception of Madoff who will be in prison for a long time and has lost the love of his family and seen one of his sons commit suicide pursuant to the shame he showered on them.
These continuing losses of Madoff as well as those of Bonds, recently convicted of obstruction of justice, aren't covered in the book which was written in 2010 although published in 2011.
This book has several strengths, and perhaps just one weakness. The strengths are the readable and interesting writing, about larger-than-life "heroes" turned "villains.Read more ›
That always gets some laughs when I say it to clients and to witnesses I am preparing for testimony. I am not encouraging them to lie under oath; quite the opposite. Instead I am telling them a fact of courtroom life-"there are going to be lies told, and you had better be prepared for them." I explain that the fact that people on the other side may lie, it does not allow lies on our side. My job, as a lawyer, is to ferret out those lies and expose them. Once a witness is revealed as a liar on a subject, the witnesses credibility on every subject is shot.
James Stewart, as a journalist and as a lawyer, has seen this epidemic grow. When the rich and powerful like Bill Clinton, Barry Bonds, Bernie Madoff think nothing of rising their right hands, swearing to tell the truth, and lying through their teeth, something has gone terribly wrong. But although James Stewart's excellent book focuses on the lies of the power elite, the truth is that perjury is probably the single-most common crime in America today. And as Stewart notes, its not just the witnesses, lawyers are often the enablers, the messengers of deceit, spreading the word, "we need you to say X". And when X is really Y, that is perjury.
So where does it stop? Hopefully the end begins now. Our nation cannot endure long if truth is simply a commodity, rather than a sacred flame that lights a democratic ideal.
And in spite of the participation of some lawyers in this culture of deception, many of my colleagues before the bar agree with me. When I tell my joke, most don't crack a smile.
Read this book and join the revolution.
In opening and concluding sections, the author ties the four stories together by shucking his customary objectivity for a jeremiade against perjury and official lying. He has passionate feelings on the subject that no doubt were part of the source of his energy that allowed him to so meticulously record these events. While I am more than sympathetic to his views on this point---in my case he is preaching to the choir---I did not find those parts of the book particularly persuasive; they are not the reason to buy it. This may be in part because of the very excellence---the irrefutable, closely documented objectivity---of the main body of the book. This is one book where reading just the first and last chapters is the exact opposite of what you should do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good attention to detail. I appreciated the summary of each person discussed and the collateral damage incurred by those involved directly and indirectly.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
First rate story teller, no question. However, the author was more enthralled with the details of the lies referenced instead of forwarding a hypothesis or nexus as to HOW these... Read morePublished 18 days ago by are you hep to the jive?
Yes, I bought it twice. So good am passing it along to others.
Here is what I said in my first review: This book is compelling, and excellent read. Read more
Excellent read. Good to read about the ways the rich and powerful try to get away with criminal acts.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I stopped reading this when I got to Barry Bonds, because just at that moment, the en banc court of the Ninth Circuit threw out his conviction. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Gregory Antollino
Just an excellent play-by-play of events surrounding these 4 individuals. Stewart is a gifted author and the pages just fly by. Read morePublished 19 months ago by greg martin
Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff by James B. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Book Shark