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The Wire: Truth Be Told Paperback – May 5, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
After HBO launched its gritty, Baltimore-based series, The Wire, in 2002, it ran for five seasons and 60 episodes. The show was created by former Baltimore Sun crime reporter Simon, who pitched the drama series as an anti–cop show and as a novel for television, bolstering his writing staff with such novelists as Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, and George Pelecanos. Initially perceived as a crime show, Simon wanted to explore larger themes of politics, sociology, and economics while depicting all angles of life in Baltimore, from news media mediocrity to the life of addicts, dealers, whores, johns, and the homeless: This is the world of The Wire, the America left behind. Low ratings were followed by critical acclaim. In addition to detailed episode guides, total cast/character breakdowns, crew listings, 300+ b&w photos, and a glossary of the street slang employed in the show's dialogue, the book includes a dozen insightful, informative contributions by a variety of journalists, directors, screenwriters, and novelists, including Pelecanos, Laura Lippman, and Nick Hornby, who interviewed Simon. Other interviews include Little Melvin Williams, one of the legendary kingpins in the annals of Baltimore narcotics, who from prison went into the show's third-season cast. Weaving a sprawling tapestry of both the TV drama and the Baltimore cityscape, Alvarez, a Baltimore Sun reporter for 20 years and The Wire staff writer, has compiled engrossing, definitive coverage certain to lure HBO viewers into bookstores. (May)
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"The Wire will knock the breath out of you . . . literary television that broadens the mind and blows the heart open . . . a beautiful, brave series." -- Virginia Heffernan
"The breadth and ambition of The Wire are unrivaled . . . taken cumulatively over the course of a season--any season--it's an astonishing display of writing, acting, and storytelling that must be considered alongside the best literature and filmmaking in the modern era." -- Tim Goodman
"Not the usual coffee-table photo book, but something substantial, complex, honest, challenging, revealing, funny, and also unprecedented, and unique--a book, in other words, worthy of The Wire." -- Tony Kushner
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Top Customer Reviews
Imagine my surprise when this copy of the book only has up to the end of the second season in the episode by episode guide . The hard copy has the entire series. Kind of feel scammed.
I think this book is an absolute must-have for any fan of The Wire. Those who have already watched the show will find lots of background information. Those who are watching the show for the first time will find the book helpful to keep track of the multitude of characters, although I really think the better approach is just to immerse yourself in the show, and become the fly on the wall as you piece it all together. I envy anyone watching The Wire for the first time. I remember what that felt like. The Wire is one smart and profound show! This book is it's definitive and authoritative reference work.
I thoroughly enjoyed the interviews (such as the one with a real-life drugs kingpin), background stories (like the tale of the "real Bubbles") and trivia (cameo roles, music picks etc.) They brought a lot more depth to the show and made me love it even more.
Episode capsules from the first two seasons take up quite a bit of the book, but there's still plenty to discover for devoted fans. Those unfamiliar with the show should probably start with the DVD sets before picking up this book.