The Divide

The Divide

American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

Book - 2014 | First edition
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"Matt Taibbi's genius is in untangling complex stories and making us care about them by providing striking moral clarity and a genuine sense of outrage. He has become among the most read journalists in America, leading the dialogue with epic Rolling Stone pieces that offer an "almost startling reminder of the power of good writing" (Washington Post). In this new work, he once again takes readers into the biggest, most urgent story in America: a widening wealth gap that is not only reshaping our economic life, but changing our core sense of right and wrong. The wealthy 1% operate with near impunity, while everyone else finds their very existence the subject of massive law enforcement attention: from stop-and-frisk programs and the immigrant dragnet to invasive surveillance and the abuse of debtors. Driven by immersive reporting, this is a stunning look into the newest high-stakes divide in our country: between a lawless aristocracy of hyperwealth and the rest of us, living under the shadow of an incipient American police state"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812993424
081299342X
9780812983630
0812983637
Characteristics: xxiii, 416 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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A truly brilliant analysis of what ails America, and to a lesser extent, many other "developed," yet divided countries. Divided in terms of income, resources, education, longevity, and health.

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lukasevansherman
Sep 24, 2016

"If you dig deeply enough in America, the big political swings always have something to do with race."
Odds are that if you're reading Matt Taibbi, a writer for "Rolling Stone" and the author of "Griftopia," then you're pretty liberal. We do tend to read the political books the enforce our own ideas, for better or worse. Regardless, this is a complelling, sometimes infuriarting book about the deeply ingrained injustice in the American system. Using striking examples, Taibbi reveals how those who commit low-level crimes (drug possession, loitering) are far too often poor and non-white and subjected to a draconinan, punitiive system, while the white collar and corporate criminals, whose crimes affect far more people, rarely receive the punishment they deserve. Taibbi is a classic muckracker journalist, who attacks in order to motivate. He reminds me a bit of Thomas Frank, another astute social/political critic.

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Badjuggler
Oct 08, 2015

Entertaining and extremely readable account of our government's inability to put anybody in jail for causing the economic crash of 2008. Harrowingly parallels these tales with the inexhaustible energy used to prosecute minor welfare cheats and innocent people. Shows the obvious class distinctions of our system.

redban May 07, 2015

Taibbi's Griftopia is one of the best works of modern nonfiction, so it is most difficult to follow up.

I think Mr. Taibbi has done an admirable job with this book. I have no idea what commentor Kdinkelspiel's requirements are for a "compelling nexus", Taibbi seems to have explained his thesis (the disparity between the rich and the poor under the law) as clearly as can be. And I completely disagree with just focusing on one half of the topic, that would make this book "hollow".

I will agree that if you find the stories in this book shocking, you have been living under a rock. This book is a mere introduction, for more in-depth analysis there's Chris Hedges' "Death of the Liberal Class" and David Graeber's "The Democracy Project". Even more in-depth, there's anything by Michael Hudson.

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Kdinkelspiel
Apr 04, 2015

Loved Griftopia. In this book Mr. Taibbi tries to draw together two ideas that the poor suffer with an unjust criminal justice system, while the rich, well, there's no justice system that applies them. Either idea on its own would have made a fine topic (though the latter is explored at length in Griftopia), but Mr Taibbi fails to draw a compelling nexus between the two. I appreciated aspects of his reporting on those swept up by, particularly, the ridiculous New York City policing authority, but he seems to have interviewed his subjects to make a point, not so the reader might truly appreciate their lives. He gets close, but in the end their stories feel hollow. Nice try Mr. Taibbi. Perhaps your next book will focus on the entirety of the policing debacle.

admartin861 Mar 15, 2015

Well written book, but would have liked to see more than simply anecdotal evidence. The stories are compelling, and there may or may not be contextual evidence, but this is a great thought provoking read.

p
Persnickety77
Nov 24, 2014

this will make you angry and depressed. but you should read it anyway

a
athena14
Aug 23, 2014

Comparing and contrasting how law and order treat the financial industry versus ordinary Americans is too much for one book. Righteous indignation gets tiring.

KCLSLibrarians May 07, 2014

A well researched, if dismaying, portrait of our legal and political systems. Taibbi contrasts the treatment undocumented workers and ‘welfare moms’ receive in our system to the treatment and consequences visited upon Wall Street before and after the housing market collapse in 2008. In the first- people have zero rights and can be hopelessly caught up in the ‘dragnet’ of local law enforcement and in the second- people literally steal billions of dollars from investors and no one, no one goes to jail. An important read for anyone interested in what being part of the 1% (or not) really means.

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StarGladiator
Apr 07, 2014

If, after reading this book, you still don't understand why Timothy Geithner and the CEOs and senior executives of Chase and Goldman Sachs should be in jail, you are truly dumber than dum! This is a Great Book. Sure, there may be several things I'm not completely in agreement with Taibbi on. Yes, Chase is the King of Dirty, the most crooked and corrupt, the number one criminal organization in America, but WaMu wasn't in the running for sainthood, as congressional investigations rightly showed - - and Linda Almonte a whistleblower? She was right to not sign that major deal, but she should have immediately left, or blown that whistle, the moment she witnessed that major robo-signing operation [filing false affidavits] - - would she still be with Chase had she not had to put her own signature on a major incriminating deal? Most probably. [Keysha Cooper, on the other hand, refused the first crooked loan she was meant to certify, and was fired by WaMu!] This book makes people realize, if they haven't by now, that America is a completely fraud-based society, no other explanation for the large numbers of citizens knowingly breaking the law at all these banks, law firms, pension administrators, financial services firms, hedge funds, private equity/leveraged buyout firms, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! [And be sure to read Nomi Prins' All The Presidents' Bankers.]

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