Author bio

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi - book author

Matt Taibbi is the author of books: Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire, Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire, Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season, The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing, The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing


Author books

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Title
Description
01
The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history
 
The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power for a generation, transferring wealth upward through increasingly complex financial mechanisms and political maneuvers. The crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi here unravels the whole fiendish story, digging beyond the headlines to get into the deeper roots and wider implications of the rise of the grifters. He traces the movement’s origins to the cult of Ayn Rand and her most influential—and possibly weirdest—acolyte, Alan Greenspan, and offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals that decided the winners and losers in the government bailouts. He uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world, and he shows how finance dominates politics, from the story of investment bankers auctioning off America’s infrastructure to an inside account of the high-stakes battle for health-care reform—a battle the true reformers lost. Finally, he tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of politics and finance in this country, and the profound consequences for us all.
02
NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE WASHINGTON POST "AND NPR
A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:
"Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles."
"Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail."
In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends--growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration--come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime--but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.
In "The Divide, "Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice--the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights.
Through astonishing--and enraging--accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all.
Praise for "The Divide"
" "
"Ambitious . . . deeply reported, highly compelling . . . impossible to put down.""--The New York Times Book Review"
"These are the stories that will keep you up at night. . . . "The Divide" is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest.""--Los Angeles Times"
"Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants. . . . "The Divide" is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking.""--The Washington Post"
"Captivating . . . "The Divide" enshrines its author's position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism."--"The Independent" (UK)
"Taibbi [is] perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street's crimes in the modern era."--"Salon
03
A revelatory and darkly comic adventure through a nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown--from the halls of Congress to the bases of Baghdad to the apocalyptic churches of the heartland.

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush's America in the post-9/11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, following a trail of pork through the halls of Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

He discovered in his travels across the country that the resilient blue state/red state narrative of American politics had become irrelevant. A large and growing chunk of the American population was so turned off--or radicalized--by electoral chicanery, a spineless news media, and the increasingly blatant lies from our leaders ("they hate us for our freedom") that they abandoned the political mainstream altogether. They joined what he calls The Great Derangement.

Taibbi tells the story of this new American madness by inserting himself into four defining American subcultures:
• The Military, where he finds himself mired in the grotesque black comedy of the American occupation of Iraq;
• The System, where he follows the money-slicked path of legislation in Congress;
• The Resistance, where he doubles as chief public antagonist and undercover member of the passionately bonkers 9/11 Truth Movement; and
• The Church, where he infiltrates a politically influential apocalyptic mega-ministry in Texas and enters the lives of its desperate congregants.

Together these four interwoven adventures paint a portrait of a nation dangerously out of touch with reality and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places. Funny, smart, and a little bit heartbreaking, The Great Derangement is an audaciously reported, sobering, and illuminating portrait of America at the end of the Bush era.

"The funniest angry writer and the angriest funny writer since Hunter S. Thompson roared into town."
-- James Wolcott

"…[A] scabrous, hilarious vivisection of our disintegrating nation. …Taibbi shines a light on the corruption, absurdities, and idiot pieties of modern American politics. Beneath his cynical fury, though, are flashes of surprising compassion for the adrift credulous souls who are taken in by it all."
-- Michelle Goldberg
04
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy's uncertain future, by the country's most perceptive and fearless political journalist.

In twenty-five pieces from Rolling Stone--plus two original essays--Matt Taibbi tells the story of Western civilization's very own train wreck, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.

Taibbi captures, with dead-on, real-time analysis, the failures of the right and the left, from the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the flawed and aimless Hillary Clinton campaign; the rise of the "dangerously bright" alt-right with its wall-loving identity politics and its rapturous view of the "Racial Holy War" to come; and the giant fail of a flailing, reactive political media that fed a ravenous news cycle not with reporting on political ideology, but with undigested propaganda served straight from the campaign bubble. At the center of it all stands Donald J. Trump, leading a historic revolt against his own party, "bloviating and farting his way" through the campaign, "saying outrageous things, acting like Hitler one minute and Andrew Dice Clay the next." For Taibbi, the stunning rise of Trump marks the apotheosis of the new postfactual movement.

Taibbi frames the reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Insane Clown President is not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy. It offers the riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight.

"Scathing . . . What keeps the pages turning in this so freshly familiar story line is the vivid observation and original turns of phrase."--San Francisco Chronicle
05
A work of riveting literary journalism that explores the roots and repercussions of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police—from the bestselling author of The Divide.

On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of Garner's life were captured on video and seen by millions. His agonized last words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the officer who wrestled Garner to the pavement.

Matt Taibbi's deeply reported retelling of these events liberates Eric Garner from the abstractions of newspaper accounts and lets us see the man in full—with all his flaws and contradictions intact. A husband and father with a complicated personal history, Garner was neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family, bedeviled by bad luck, and ultimately subdued by forces beyond his control.

In America, no miscarriage of justice exists in isolation, of course, and in I Can't Breathe Taibbi also examines the conditions that made this tragedy possible. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street and inside our Kafkaesque court system, Taibbi's kaleidoscopic account illuminates issues around policing, mass incarceration, the underground economy, and racial disparity in law enforcement. No one emerges unsullied, from the conservative district attorney who half-heartedly prosecutes the case to the progressive mayor caught between the demands of outraged activists and the foot-dragging of recalcitrant police officials.

A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can't Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice.
06
Part tirade, part confessional from the celebrated Rolling Stone journalist, Hate Inc. reveals that what most people think of as "the news" is, in fact, a twisted wing of the entertainment business

In this characteristically turbocharged new book, celebrated Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi provides an insider's guide to the variety of ways today's mainstream media tells us lies. Part tirade, part confessional, it reveals that what most people think of as "the news" is, in fact, a twisted wing of the entertainment business.

In the Internet age, the press have mastered the art of monetizing anger, paranoia, and distrust. Taibbi, who has spent much of his career covering elections in which this kind of manipulative activity is most egregious, provides a rich taxonomic survey of American political journalism's dirty tricks.

Heading into a 2020 election season that promises to be a Great Giza Pyramid Complex of invective and digital ugliness, Hate Inc. will be an invaluable antidote to the hidden poisons dished up by those we rely on to tell us what is happening in the world.
07
Smells Like Dead Elephants is a brilliant collection from Matt Taibbi, “a political reporter with the gonzo spirit that made Hunter S. Thompson and P. J. O’Rourke so much fun” (The Washington Post).

Bringing together Taibbi’s most incisive and hilarious work from his “Road Work” column in Rolling Stone, Smells Like Dead Elephants shines an unflinching spotlight on the corruption, dishonesty, and sheer laziness of our leaders. Taibbi has plenty to say about George W. Bush, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, and all the rest, but he doesn’t just hit inside the Beltway.

He gets involved in the action, infiltrating Senator Conrad Burns’s birthday party under disguise as a lobbyist for a fictional oil firm that wants to drill in the Grand Canyon. He floats into apocalyptic post-Katrina New Orleans in a dinghy with Sean Penn.

He goes to Iraq as an embedded reporter, where he witnesses the mind-boggling dysfunction of our occupation and spends three nights in Abu Ghraib prison. And he reports from two of the most bizarre and telling trials in recent memory: California v. Michael Jackson and the evolution-vs.-intelligent-design trial in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Equally funny and shocking, this is excellent work from one of our most entertaining writers.
08
The 2004 Election Was a Circus, and Matt Taibbi enjoyed a Front-Row Seat.

As a correspondent for the New York Press, The Nation, and Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi scoured the political landscape for hard-hitting news stories. But the closer he got to the politicians, the more pompous and vapid they appeared. How could he write anything meaningful about these puffed-up martinets, much less vote for them? Nevertheless, Taibbi forged on and continued his responsibilities as a serious campaign reporter—though not without frequent bouts of blind panic, drug use, and donning a gorilla suit.

Spanking the Donkey indicts the surreal irrelevance of today’s mainstream politics with barbed wit and caustic intelligence. Follow Taibbi as he covers the primary for the 2004 presidential election, joining him for a spot on John Kerry’s campaign plane, face-to-face encounters with John Edwards’s pancake makeup, enough Howard Dean press conferences to memorize the good doctor's stump speech by heart, and—just to spice things up—a two-month stint working undercover in a Republican campaign office in Orlando, Florida. Brimming with uncensored opinions and total truth, Taibbi captures the real American political mind; as a patron at Flo’s Bar in Manchester, New Hampshire, eloquently puts it: “They all suck . . . who’s running?”

“Gonzo journalist Matt Taibbi will do anything . . . to bring political reporting back to life. Spanking the Donkey is all the more necessary in the aftermath of an election that harnessed enough liberal outrage to light the Vegas strip, cost more than a billion dollars, absorbed hundreds of hours we will never get back, and achieved absolutely nothing.” —Salon

09
Matt Taibbi's serialized book, co-authored with a national drug dealer.
10
In real life, there is a person like “Anonymous”, who, for the sake of this story, I’ll call Huey Carmichael. I was friends with this person for a while before I learned about his other life. The real Huey knows more than a thing or two about the weed business. He keeps rules.

The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing tells the story of a hyper-observant, politically-minded, but humorously pragmatic weed dealer who has spent a working life compiling rules for how to a) make money and b) avoid prison.

Each rule shapes a chapter of this fast-paced outlaw tale, all delivered in Huey’s deliciously trenchant argot. Here are a few of them:
• No guns but keep shooters.
• Stay behind the white guy.
• Don’t snitch.
• Always have a job.
• Be multi-sourced.
• Get your money and get out.

Part edge-of-the-seat suspense story, part how-to manual in the tradition of The Anarchist Cookbook, The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing is as scintillating as it is subversive. Just reading it feels illegal.