Gravity's Rainbow Group Read | Sections 22-25 | Week 7
Slothrop's Hawaiian Shirt by Zak Smith (2006). I just want to begin by thanking u/Bloomsdayclock for coordinating this endeavor, for all of the previous posts thus far, and for the enthusiastic interaction and scholarship that’s been happening in the comments for each post. This group read has rekindled my love for this book and is helping me understand it in so many different ways and in such greater depth that it's honestly like I’m reading a different book at this point. Also, kudos to each previous poster for creating a coherent post! The book is complex enough on its own but once you start going down the rabbit hole, sussing out the references, reading through some of the scholarship, etc., I almost found myself paralyzed by information overload (kinda feeling a bit like Charlie Kelly trying to figure out who “Pepe Silvia” is :) ). When this reading group started, I was like, “damn, I’m trying to read this insanely complex novel and the group posts are just as long, dense, and complex” and now I’ve gone and written some super long and dense post, too. To paraphrase either Blaise Pascal or Mark Twain (or Woodrow Wilson or apparently a rather large number of dead white guys from history): I would have written a shorter post if I’d had the time! Apologies in advance! Anyways, this post will (attempt to) cover the start of the second section of the novel, Un Perm’ au Casino Hermann Goering. The events that transpire are zany and sinister, titillating and deeply sad. There is a mix of images both gorgeous and disgusting and much of the planning and plotting that took place at “The White Visitation” during the first section are starting to come to fruition in part deux. For each “Episode”, I will provide a general summary of the “action” and then some commentary and we’ll finish this post up with a few discussion questions. Let’s begin! Episode 22 Summary Slothrop is on furlough/leave at a casino in Monaco (from what I’ve read...I thought it was France before, still not completely sure) that’s been renamed in honor of the big fat slob that led Hitler’s air force during the war. He’s in paradise but wakes up “...[waiting] for a sudden noise to begin his day, a first rocket” (p. 181). His friend Tantivy Mucker-Maffick and a somewhat suspicious friend of his, Teddy Bloat (“[there’s] something about the way he talks to Slothrop, patronizing? Maybe nervous…” (p. 182)), are staying down the hall. They’re talking about meeting some girls but, as the first song of the section reminds us, Englishmen can be very shy. Slothrop is happy to help his “buddies” out, but tells them not to “expect [him] to put it in for [them]” (p. 183). Classic Slothrop! Slothrop decides to wear a hideous (or amazing, depending on your sensibilities) genuine Hawaiian shirt that he received from his brother Hogan in the Pacific. The shirt seems to emit a glow (once he steps into the sun, it “blazes into a refulgent life of its own” (!) (p. 184), so Tantivy, “friend” that he is, tries to convince Slothrop to cover it up with scratchy Savile Row coat. The trio hit the beach and the ladies are on them already. They’ve got food and booze and are ready for a nice day on the beach. The morning seems too good even for a bit of the “early paranoia”. And then Bloat ruins everything by drawing Slothrop’s attention to the woman down the beach being attacked by “the biggest fucking octopus Slothrop has ever seen outside of the movies”. Slothrop rushes off to intervene and, left without recourse, starts trying to bash the cephalopod on the head with a wine bottle to no avail. Thankfully, Bloat just happens to have a big, tasty crab on his person, which he tosses to Slothrop with the advice, “It’s hungry, it’ll go for the crab. Don’t kill it, Slothrop.” Slothrop uses the crab to bait away the animal from its current prey, noticing that it does not seem to be in good mental health. He eventually tosses the crab, like a discus, into the sea, and the octopus follows. The damsel has been saved, Slothrop is championed as a brave hero and his first thought is where in the fuck did that crab come from. The exchange: “Tantivy smiles and flips a small salute. “Good show!” cheers Teddy Bloat. “I wouldn’t have wanted to try that myself!” “Why not? You had that crab. Saaay-where’d you get that crab?” “Found it,” replies Bloat with a straight face. Slothrop stares at this bird but can’t get eye contact. What th’ fuck is going on?” (p. 187). The damsel thanks Slothrop. Her ID bracelet identifies her as Katje Borgesius. Slothrop feels like he knows her and “...voices begin to take on a touch of metal, each word a hard-edged clap, and the light, though as bright as before, is less able to illuminate….it’s a Puritan reflex of seeking other orders behind the visible, also known as paranoia, filtering in…” (p. 188). How does Slothrop deal with this? By dividing up his present company into a dichotomy: the increasingly drunk Tantivy, “a messenger from Slothrop’s innocent, pre-octopus past” flirting with the girls and Bloat, “perfectly sober, mustache unruffled, regulation uniform [on the fucking beach!], watching [him] closely” (p. 188). And then there’s Katje, who, with her glance, makes Slothrop think she knows something (what?), asking him “Did you know all the time about the octopus? I thought so because it was so like a dance-all of you” (p. 188). Well, fuck me! Katje then tells “Little Tyrone” to be “very careful” and that “Perhaps, after all, we were meant to meet…” (p. 189). Now that’s a “meet cute” for ya! Commentary/Questions
Is the casino fully owned and controlled by Them at this point (is César Flebótomo (Spanish for “sandfly”) a(n) (un)willing patsy in Their employ?). Is it the “lab” for this “phase” of the Slothrop experiment. Or is it just secured enough to ensure the results of the experiment aren’t tainted by some unforeseen variable/interference?
Teddy Bloat seems like a purposeful pun in reference to the bureaucracy of government/intel agencies
Songs are one way that Pynchon fills his book with “the language of the preterite”, a term from Weisenburger used to describe the “slang, underworld cant, songs, games, folk-genres, and material culture” used by Pynchon to pit “open, unsanctioned, and “low” languages” against the “closed, orthodox, privileged language of a culture”. This idea is expanded on by literary critic/philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin who notes that the “heteroglossic” aspect of novels allows them to be radical, open-ended artworks filled with a variety of voices that each embody a particular time and place (his term for this idea is a “chronotope”).
The whole episode is just soaked in paranoia, from beginning to end. Whatever Slothrop thought he thought he was feeling in Section 1 has been taken up a notch. He senses a plot but keeps playing along.
Is “Borgesius” a tribute to J.L. Borges?
“Little Tyrone” echoes “Baby Tyrone” from Jamf’s experiments and maybe is supposed to make us realize that while the antics in this episode could possibly be construed as a “loss” of Slothrop’s “innocence” that was actually taken from him as a baby.
Episode 23 Summary Dr. Porkyevitch (“Porky the pig”?) and “Grisha” (“[frisking] happily in his special enclosure”) stare back at the “blazing bijou” of the Casino from their ship, contemplating their future now that they may no longer be of use to Pointsman, yearning for traces of the Russia they’ve been exiled from. To the casino: Katje is a vision in shades of green and is escorted by a two-star general and a brigadier. Is it Pudding? RHIP :) Slothrop and Tantivy in the dining room. Slothrop raises the “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” to get the room singing of his friend’s drunken exploits so that he can speak to Katje who uses the cacophony to invite him to her room after midnight! Slothrop then probes his buddy to see if he notices anything funny going on. Tantivy brushes him off a bit (“there’s always, you know, an element of Slothropian paranoia to contend with…”(p. 192)) but then concedes that the bastard Bloat is receiving coded messages. Ha! And it turns out Bloat has become a bit of a different man over the last few years, something more than being “Blitz rattled”. He’s also warned Tantivy away from Katje (“I’d stay clear of that one if I were you” (p. 193)) and Tantivy feels used by Bloat (“being tolerated for as long as he can use me” (p. 193)). The encounter ends with Tantivy telling Slothrop to be careful and, should he need help, he’ll be there for him. At midnight, Slothrop leaves for his rendezvous with Ms. Borgesius, “ascending flights of red-carpeted stairway (Welcome Mister Slothrop Welcome To Our Structure We Hope You Will Enjoy Your Visit Here)” (p. 194). Arriving, he teases her about her date at dinner and then about their slightly sinister “meet cute” while examining her closet which is absolutely filled to the brim with a variety of outfits. The “Too Soon To Know (Fox-Trot)” before they get down to it. As he is undressing her, he notices “...the moonlight only whitens her back, and there is a still a dark side, her ventral side, her face, than he can no longer see, a terrible beastlike change coming over muzzle and lower jaw, black pupils growing to cover the entire eye space till whites are gone and there’s only the red animal reflection when the light comes to strike no telling when the light-” (p. 196). Yikes! As they fuck, she wonders if his “careful technique” is for her or “wired into the Slothropian Run-together they briefed her on”. Either way, “she will move him, she will not be mounted by a plastic shell” (p. 196-197). Then, a slapstick fight with a seltzer bottle (planted by Them?) that has Slothrop looking for a banana cream pie to toss (classic!) after which they fall asleep, lying like two Ss. In the morning, their post-coital bliss is interrupted as Little Tyrone is rudely awakened by the sound of someone robbing his pants in the room next door. He chases after the thief, first naked, then dressed in a purple satin bedsheet. As he’s chasing, from way down the hallway, “a tiny head appears around a corner, a tiny hand comes out and gives Slothrop the tiny finger” (p. 199). Haha! He chases the thief up a tree only to have the tree cut down while he’s in it. The thief escapes and Bloat and some general find Slothrop a mess. Bloat takes Slothrop to his room where, “every stitch of clothing he owns is gone, including his Hawaiian shirt. What the fuck. Groaning, he rummages in the desk. Empty. Closets empty. Leave papers, ID, everything, taken… Hogan’s shirt bothers him most of all” (p. 201). Nobody knows where Tantivy’s gone off to. Bloat gives Slothrop a uniform (“a piece of Whitehall on the Riviera” (p. 201)) which doesn’t fit but the book advises, “Live wi’ the way it feels mate, you’ll be in it for a while” (p. 201). Slothrop ponders the meaning of the architecture and design of his surrounds, but “shortly, unpleasantly so, it will come to him that everything in this room [The Himmer-Spielsaal, no less] is being used from something different. Meaning things to Them it has never meant to us. Never. Two orders of being, looking identical….but, but….” (p. 202). THE WORLD OVER THERE. Against this realization Slothrop issues the only spell he knows, a defiant “Fuck You”. Walking, rainstorm, entertainment at the casino, no one has seen the dancing girls from the drunken breakfast, Slothrop is “finding only strangers where he looks” before freaking out in the casino, then getting wet in the rain, then returning to Katje, the only place he knew to come. Commentary
I love “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” and would like to write a similar tune about the inebriated shenanigans committed by my best friend and I during college.
The bit about Oxford and Harvard not really existing to educate was a nice touch (p. 193)
“Snazzy” is an “Americanism” in the 40s! (p. 195).
Slothrop ponders an impending loss of innocence (but, again, it seems like that has already happened). He has nothing and no one in a foreign country and the sensation that his life is being purposefully, possibly nefariously influenced by forces he can vaguely perceive. “It’s here that saturation hits him, it’s all this playing games, too much of it, too many games: the nasal, obsessive voice of a croupier he can’t see...is suddenly speaking out of the Forbidden Wing directly to him, and about what Slothrop has been playing against the invisible House, perhaps after all for his soul, all day - terrified, he turns, turns out into the rain again where the electric lights of the Casino, in full holocaust, are glaring off the glazed cobbles.” And then, “How did this all turn against him so fast? His friends old and new, every last bit of paper and clothing connecting him to what he’s been, have just, fucking, vanished. How can he meet this with any kind of grace?” (p. 205)
The word “holocaust” is used quite a bit in this story
Setting this all in the casino is a nice touch: there is the illusion of chance and luck in a casino but the house always wins.
The juxtaposition of the comic (seltzer fight) with the tragic (Slothrop alone, trying to understand what’s happening) heightens both effects.
Episode 24 Summary They wake up with Katje calling slothrop a pig, which responds to by oinking. At breakfast, he is taking a refresher course in technical German and learning about The Rocket. His tutor, Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck (who speaks 33 languages!) aiding his understanding of German circuit schematics by way of ancient German runes. Slothrop understands immediately that Dodson-Truck is in on the plot but not sure how (“There are times when Slothrop can actually find a clutch mechanism between him and Their iron-cased engine far away up a power train whose shape and design he has to guess at, a clutch he can disengage, feeling then all his inertia of motion, his real helplessness… it is not exactly unpleasant, either. Odd thing. He is almost sure that whatever They want, it won’t mean risking his life, or even too much of his comfort. But he can’t fit any of it into a pattern, there’s no way to connect somebody like Dodson-Truck with somebody like Katje…. The real enemy’s somewhere back in that London anyways” (p. 207). Back in the Himmler-Spielsaal: “in the twisted gilt playing-room his secret motions clarify for him, some. The odds They played here belonged to the past, the past only. Their odds were never probabilities, but frequencies already observed. It’s the past that makes demands here. It whispers, and reaches after, and sneering disagreeably, gooses its victims. When they choose numbers, red, black, odd, even, what did They mean it? What Wheel did They set in motion? Back in a room, early in Slothrop’s life, a room forbidden to him now, is something very bad. Something was done to him and it may be that Katje knows what. Hasn’t he, in her “futureless look,” found some link to his own past, something that connects them closely as lovers?” (p. 208-209). “It is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola.” No more news from London or Achtung. Bloat is gone now, too. Sir Stephen and Katje with their identical Corporate Smiles to dazzle him while they rob his identity. But! “He lets it happen” (p. 210). Slothrop is getting hardons after his rocket study sessions and then goes looking for relief with Katje. Sir Stephen appears to be timing these erections! So, Slothrop gets the smart idea to get him drunk via a drinking game and many, many people end up getting sloshed on some high class bubbly. Half the room is singing the “Vulgar Song”. Slothrop and Sir Steve get pretty hammered and start walking through a nice sunset, where Slothrop sees robed figures, hundreds of miles tall, on the horizon. Sir Stephen informs Slothrop that he’s got “potency issues” (which makes him the perfect observer for Slothrop’s sexual misadventures… “no nasty jissom getting all over their reports, you know” (p. 216)). He’s about to tell Slothrop the secret of “The Penis He Thought Was His Own”... ...but then starts waxing nostalgic about Sir Stephen’s son and his wife, Nora and her “Ideology of the Zero”. An interlude with Eventyr, Sachsa, Leni… “but where will Leni be now? Either we didn’t mean to lose her - either it was an ellipsis in our care, in what some of us even swear is our love, or someone has taken her, deliberately, for reasons being kept secret, and Sachsa’s death is part of it too” (p. 218). More on Sachsa’s death. Then, Sir Stephen vanishes (“but not before telling Slothrop that his erections of high interest to Fitzmaurice House”). Katje is pissed that Slothy got Sir Steve drunk enough to dish on the plot. They fight and then fuck. More rocket study sessions. The rocket taking off looks like a peacock, def pfau. Slothrop pressing for more information, Katje rebuffing, warning/advising“Oh, Slothrop… You don’t want me. What they’re after may, but you don’t. No more than A4 wants London. But I don’t think they know...about other selves...yours or the Rocket’s. No more than you do. If you can’t understand it now, at least remember. That’s all I can do for you” (p. 224). Then, “They go back up to her room again: cock, cunt, the Monday rain at the windows” (p. 224) (Oh, Tom, you romantic!). And finally, a bit of kazoo music, a final night together, and Katje disappears, too. Commentary
Slothrop makes an important connection to his childhood and wonders if Katje knows about it/whether she’s with him because of it (ol’ Pynch even manages to work in the rocket, too!): “You were in London while they were coming down. I was in ‘s Gravenhage while they were going up. Between you and me is not only a rocket trajectory but also a life. You will come to understand that between the two points, in the five minutes, it lives an entire life. You haven’t even learned the data on our side of the flight profile, the visible or trackable. Beyond them there’s so much more, so much none of us know” (p. 209).
More on the import of setting the action in the Casino: “The Forbidden Wing. Oh, the hand of a terrible croupier is that touch on the sleeves of his dreams: all his life of what has looked free or random, is discovered to’ve been under some Control, all the time, the same as a fixed roulette wheel-where only destinations are important, attention is to long-term statistics, not individuals: and where the House does, of course, keep turning a profit…” (p. 209).
A beautiful passage: “‘Holy shit.” This is the kind of sunset you hardly see any more, a 19th-century wilderness sunset...this anachronism in primal red, in yellow purer than can be found anywhere today, a purity begging to be polluted...of course Empire took its way westward, what other way was there but into those virgin sunsets to penetrate and to foul” (p. 214). Always dualities in this book.
“A pornography of blueprints” (p. 224). is a nice turn of phrase.
Foreshadowing: “She has her hair combed high today in a pompadour, her fair eyebrows, plucked to wings, darkened, eyes rimmed in black, only the outboard few lashes missed and left blond.
Connection to Nabokov: I really do think “Signs and Symbols” influenced this novel. Lines like this, “Here it is again, that identical-looking Other World - is he gonna have this to worry about, now? What th’ - lookit these trees - each long frond hanging, stuny, dizzying, in laborious dry point against the sky, each so perfectly placed…” (p. 225) remind me so much of the atmosphere in the story (itself about paranoia (“referential mania”)). This is a key excerpt from the Nabokov ditty: “In these very rare cases the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy - because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to one another, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His inmost thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing in some awful way messages which he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme.” Obviously this guy is, uh, slightly more clinical, but I still think the atmosphere/tone is similar between the two.
Episode 25 Summary We begin this episode with a Pavlov lecture about the physiological symptoms of hysteria and one of Pointsman’s poems (which he never shows to anyone). Then to the “White Visitation” chaps (Pointsman, Grunton, Throwster, Groast) rumor-mongering about their future. Things are looking bleak. Pudding might cut off funding, “Slothrop’s knocked out Dodson-Truck and the girl in one day” (p. 227), and Sir Steven’s got the P.M.’s son-in-law making embarrassing inquiries. But Pointsman is calm. Very calm. In fact, “[b]y facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of individual men. Oh, and women too, of course, bless their empty little heads. But survival depends on having strong enough desires - on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It’s work, that’s all it is, and there’s no room for any extrahuman activities - they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win, und so weiter” (p. 230). And then we find out that Pointman’s figured out how to play Pudding to keep his support (more on that in a bit…) as he’s figured out Treacle, Groast, and Throwster, how to use them and manipulate them to get what he wants. What a fucking devious guy! Webley Silvernail sticks around after the meeting and imagines the lab animals putting on a beguine performance of a song called “Pavlovia” (right after this realization by Silvernail: “From overhead, from a German camera-angle, it occurs to Webley Silvernail, this lab here is also a maze...but who watches from above, who notes their reponses?” (p. 229)). And it’s all song and dance for a bit but since it’s Pynchon, it’s followed by an incredible poignant/tragic moment of clarity: “They have had their moment of freedom. Webley has only been a guest start. Now it’s back to the cages and the rationalized forms of death-death in the service of the one species cursed with the knowledge that it will die…. “I would set you free, if I knew how. But it isn’t free out here. All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all. I can’t even give you hope that it will be different someday - that They’ll come out, and forget death, and lose Their technology’s elaborate terror, and stop using every other form of life without mercy to keep what haunts men down to a tolerable level - and be like you instead, simply here, simply alive….” The guest star retires down the corridors” (p. 230). What a soliloquy. [Tangent: almost 50 years later, how prescient is this passage?! This little monologue filled me with so many conflicting emotions: hope (because humans like Pynchon exist to dream this stuff up) and also dread because this paragraph describes a fundamental aspect and egregious flaw (or flaws) in human nature. Reading and re-reading this passage depresses me a little (hence my question about mental health below). Now Pudding is sneaking about the bowels of “The White Visitation”. He heads past the cells of loonies on his way to a secret rendezvous. It seems like Pointsman may have drugged him at some point to get at hidden desires. We watch as our dear old Brigadier putters from room-to-room, finding items left for him by Pointsman that mock him and describe his descent into a personal hell (for info on the symbolism, the Weisenburger book is quite helpful). In the final room, Pudding drops to his knees at the feet of his Domina Nocturna (with “her blond hair...tucked and pinned beneath a thick black wig”... “naked except for a long sable cape and black boots with court heels” (p. 233)). Pudding is thinking of the night they first met. He saw “her” “...through the periscope, underneath a star shell that hung in the sky, he saw her….and though he was hidden, she saw Pudding. Her face was pale, she was dressed all in black, she stood in No-man’s Land, the machine guns raked their patterns all around her, but she needed no protection. “They knew you, Mistress. They were your own. And so were you” (p. 233). And then he offers her a “nice” memory of a legion of Franco’s troops killing and getting killed at a massacre at Badajoz for which he is “rewarded” with her beating and then pissing and shitting in his mouth… … … … However off-putting this may be for some (most), it does something for Pudding. He needs pain. “They have stuffed paper illusions and military euphemisms between him and this truth, this rare decency, this moment at her scrupulous feet….no it’s not guilt here, not so much as amazement - that he could have listened to so many years of ministers, scientists, doctors each with his specialized lies to tell, when she was here all the time, sure in her ownership of his failing body, his true body: undisguised by uniform, uncluttered by drugs to keep from him her communiqués of vertigo, nausea and pain. Above all, pain. The clearest poetry, the endearment of greatest worth…” (p. 234-235). Munching down on a hot turd makes Pudding think of the horrible smells of his service during WWI: putrid mud, rot, death, “...the sovereign smell of their first meeting, and her emblem” (p. 235). After eating her shit, he jerks off (his release), in a style that Domina Nocturna has learned from watching Captain Blicero and Gottfriend (at this point, it is safe to say, Domina Nocturna is Katje. Will we ever be able to look at her the same?). Pudding is then dismissed to “...a late-night cup of broth, routine papers to sign, a dose of penicillin that Pointsman has ordered him to take, to combat the effects of E. Coli” (p. 236). So thoughtful, that Pointsman... Commentary
The Silvernail hallucination/phantasmagoria seems like something straight out of “The Big Lebowski” had Jodorowsky had a bit of influence over the Coen Bros. art direction. Many of the songs in this section feel “Lebowski-esque” but this one especially so to me. Maybe its the detailed choreographic notes: “They dance in flowing skeins. The rats and mice form circles, curl their tails in and out to make chrysanthemum and sunburst patterns, eventually all form into the shape of a single giant mouse, at whole eye Silvernail poses with a smile” (p. 230).
The Franco bit is a nice way of linking facism and death worship
Pudding eating Domina Nocturna’s shit really, to quote an earlier passage, gave “de wrinkles in mah brain a process!”. There is so much symbolism there! Instead of ascending to heaven, Pudding heads down to hell. We have so many dualities linked in the act: between young and old, sacred and profane, pleasure and pain, pleasure through pain, WWI and WW2, man and woman, life and death, the general as a slave, even the food transformed through Katje into waste, all linked through the act of eating shit. For a moment they are linked so intimately, so delicately. No parabolas, a circle. And, of course, there’s also the diabolical Pointsman in the background, pulling the strings and manipulating to keep Pudding in line. I remember reading this for the first time and just being shocked and confused and now reading it again and finding so much meaning. That ol’ Pynchon is a devious bastard, hiding such loaded symbolism in such an obscene encounter. The Pulitzer committee had no idea what was coming for them!
So, if you’ve reached this point, congratulations and I am sorry! Here are my discussion questions. Looking forward to future posts! Discussion Questions Both On Topic and Tangential
Why is paranoia described as a “Puritan reflex” in Episode 22?
In Episode 23, as Slothrop peruses Katje’s extensive wardrobe, what is the significance of the line, “Aha! wait a minute, the operational scent in here is carbon tet, Jackson, and this wardrobe here’s mostly props” (p. 195)?
In Episode 24, what’s the significance of “the watchmen of world’s edge”? Is this an intrusion of the spirit world? Is Slothrop just hallucinating?
In Episode 24, when Peter Sachsa gets the blow to the temple from Schutzmann Jöche, why is his last thought, “How beautiful!” (p. 220)
In Episode 25, there’s a line in the part where Pudding is sneaking around: “A voice from some cell too distant for us to locate intones:...” (p. 231). Why us here? Why the change in perspective?
How’s this book affecting everyone’s mental health (you know, given that we’re in the end times right now)? Seriously, though, there are times when this book makes me so happy to be alive and proud of humanity and also times where it depresses the everloving shit out of me and makes me think that, as a species, we’re doomed to continue making the same mistakes, over and over again, until we end up destroying ourselves.
In a similar vein, do you think people as prodigiously talented and brilliant as Pynchon have any responsibility to counter the evil they see in the world? Is writing books enough or should they do more (lead, teach, etc.) to fight against the awful things they are able to see before the rest of us do?
A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times
This story was published in Frank's Report. Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.Frank Reportis one of the internet’s best destinations for true, unfiltered, hard-hitting journalism run by the acclaimed journalist Frank Parlato. Since 2015, articles published onFrank Reporthave exposed major scandals and criminal enterprises (including the NXIVM Cult. Frank Parlato has been cited as a source by hundreds of major media outlets around the world, including the New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Albany Times Union, New York Post, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Oxygen, Hollywood Life, E! News, CBS Inside Edition, Televisa (Mexico, Stern (Germany, Brisbane Times (Australia, Sun (UK, Hamilton Spectator (Canada), Haaretz (Israel), Tibetan Journal (Tibet), Dnevnik (Croatia), New Zealand Herald, Sputnik News (Russia), Voici (France), Blich (Switzerland), Pour Femme (Italy), CM Journal (Portugal) and more. Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery’s 2 hour blockbuster special ‘The Lost Women of NXIVM.’))))) From sex trafficking cults disguised as self-empowerment groups to government cronyism depriving citizens of tax-funded programs, Frank Report doesn’t just turn stones – it outright obliterates them. Welcome to Frank Report, one of the internet’s finest examples of real, unbridled journalism.
Ghislaine Maxwell – Silver Spoons and Hard Times
August 9, 2020 By Paul Serran https://frankreport.com/2020/08/09/ghislaine-maxwell-silver-spoons-and-hard-times/ http://archive.is/by7md Ghislaine Maxwell led much of her life under the world’s fascinated microscopic view, always enthralled by her – famous and infamous – as it watched her fortunes wax and wane. From the celebrated miracle daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell; to the broken young woman who fled scandal in the UK to a small New York apartment, trying to launch a new life; the rebirth Jet-set Ghislaine, who was everywhere at once, longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, a man even richer and more shady than her father; the sophisticated middle age woman, a runaway alleged criminal trying hard to avoid detection by her pursuers – finally, to the incarcerated, indicted suspected sex trafficker and perjurer. Ghislaine was Robert and Betty Maxwell’s miracle baby, born on Christmas Day, 1961. Two days after that, their eldest son suffered a fatal car accident. In 24 hours, it all had been somehow foretold: joy – and then tragedy. During the Swinging Sixties, Robert Maxwell served two terms as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham. He led a multimillionaire lifestyle, and was the host of star-studded parties at Headington Hill Hall, his baronial fifty-three-room Oxford mansion. The Maxwells spent a million dollars redecorating the mansion. In a stained glass window scene for the imperial staircase, Israeli sculptor Nehemia Azaz depicted Robert Maxwell as the biblical hero Samson tearing down the gates of Gaza: “a titan of luck, impossible achievement, and unlimited wealth”. They had the use of chauffeured luxury cars. They traveled the world in Robert’s Gulfstream IV Jet and his sleek 180-foot yacht, named Lady Ghislaine. “If Bob Maxwell didn’t exist, no one could invent him,” Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock celebrated the bombastic, demanding mogul who dined with kings and presidents and had a bottomless appetite for family, food, fortune, and fame. The first brush with financial and professional hardship came at a age when young Ghislaine would have been mostly sheltered from it. In the early seventies, after Robert Maxwell tried similar shenanigans in a failed attempt to swindle the American financier Saul Steinberg, who was interested in a strategic acquisition of Pergamon Press. Steinberg claimed that during negotiations, Maxwell falsely stated that a subsidiary responsible for publishing encyclopedias was extremely profitable. At the same time, Pergamon had been forced to reduce its profit forecasts for 1969 during the period of negotiations, leading to a suspension of dealing in Pergamon shares on the London stock markets. It was found that Maxwell had contrived to maximize Pergamon’s share price through transactions between his private family companies. This was a criminal practice he would utilize again in the future. Inspectors from Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry declared Maxwell unfit to run a public company: “Notwithstanding Mr. Maxwell’s acknowledged abilities and energy, he is not in our opinion a person who can be relied on to exercise proper stewardship of a publicly quoted company.” ‘Captain Bob’ established the Maxwell Foundation in tax haven Liechtenstein, in 1970. By the 1980s he come back roaring, prompted by money later said to have originated in the Soviet Union. He bought the Mirror Group built and a massive media conglomerate. The good times were on: Ghislaine was nicknamed “The Shopper” because of her wild spending funded by Robert’s millions. He also bankrolled her failed corporate gifts business. During this period, she reportedly had a VERY close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father’s favorite child. In Oxford, Ghislaine led a student life of wealth and privilege. Her father would send Filipino servants to the college house she shared to clean, arrange the table and cook, in the event of a party. Her career piggybacked on her father’s businesses. She was made director of the Oxford United, and later, put in charge of “special projects” of the New York Daily News. With her father’s money, she found her way into society, especially in New York — a haven where she could escape his complete control. But the good times were not to last. Overextended and over-leveraged, Maxwell’s empire was about to crumble. At this time, Maxwell reportedly was a regular at London’s casinos, playing three tables at once, even dropping $2.5 million in a single night. For years, he had been an inveterate gambler, but this was the behavior of a desperate man whose time was running out. “He was a very crude man,” said a female writer for Time magazine. “His polish was not very deep. If you were with him for any length of time, it peeled away. I was in his library in the Maxwell House penthouse—a beautiful apartment with marble and servants all over the place—and while I was admiring his books, his valet said to me, ‘You should see Mr. Maxwell’s collection of pornographic tapes’.” Ghislaine visited her father in his office before he flew off to Gibraltar. “He was looking for an apartment in New York—a sort of pied-à-terre, where he could talk and have meetings—and he wanted me to help him,” she told Vanity Fair. “He asked me to go see a particular apartment. He said, ‘If you like it, I’ll make time to see it and come to New York.’ ” But the next time Ghislaine saw her father, he was dead. ”Ghislaine is the baby of the family and the one who was closest to her father,” her mother Betty told Vanity Press. ”The whole of Ghislaine’s world has collapsed, and it will be very difficult for her to continue.” When she finally appeared before the reporters, she had collected herself. “How did your father die?” a journalist shouted at Ghislaine Maxwell. “He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered. ” Maxwell, it turned out, had debts of nearly $5 billion, and had stolen hundreds of millions from the Mirror Group’s pension funds to shore up his faltering companies. That left 32,000 employees exposed to retirement ruin. The irony was not lost on the hard-hitting British press: Robert Maxwell, a socialist, stealing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Mirror’s pension fund! He swindled money from two of his public companies, transferred millions in and out the secret family trusts in Liechtenstein, to manipulate the share price of his Corporation. Robert was called “rogue,” “crook,” “bully,” “thief,” “megalomaniac,” and “gangster.” The press told lurid tales of his sex orgies with midget Filipino hookers. He was seen as a 310-pound aberration gorging on spoonfuls of caviar. An erratic and cruel tyrant who used Turkish towels for toilet paper. Journalists wrote that he was a spy for the K.G.B. or Mossad or Czech intelligence—or all three. “My daughter Ghislaine has no money, no trusts, no funds anywhere.” her mother Betty told Vanity Fair. “Neither of [my children] had any money. Their father never gave them any money.” Their assets were frozen. His son Kevin’s house was put up for sale, as were the Lady Ghislaine and the Gulfstream IV Jet. Their passports were seized. A friend told TheTimes of London, “[Ghislaine] had always been the life and soul of the party wherever she wanted to go in the world and never had to worry about money.” Now she was the broken child of a monster, his name forever synonymous to scandal. “She was catatonic,” the friend said. Forced to vacate her huge company-provided residence, she moved into a small apartment. When a friend came to visit, Ghislaine told her, “They took everything—everything—even the cutlery.” Little did she know how many more times things in her life would shift from silver spoons to hard times. A woman brought up in luxury, she had everything taken from her, before she came to the United States to begin again. “He wasn’t a crook,” Ghislaine told Vanity Press. “A thief to me is somebody who steals money. (…) Did he put it in his own pocket? Did he run off with the money? No. And that’s my definition of a crook.” “I’m surviving—just,” she said. “But I can’t just die quietly in a comer. I have to believe that something good will come out of this mess. It’s sad for my mother. It’s sad to have lost my dad. It’s sad for my brothers. But I would say we’ll be back. Watch this space.” Ghislaine Maxwell was also being hunted by the tabloids. The Maxwell name was so detested in London that she is said to have had to walk around in a blond wig so people wouldn’t recognize her. Ghislaine Maxwell’s reinvention didn’t take long. Maxwell moved to the United States just after her father’s death. Her photograph boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic caused outrage – her father had just defrauded pensioners out of 750 Million Sterling Pounds. According to the Mail on Sunday: “Unnoticed by almost everybody, traveling with her was a greying, plumpish, middle-aged American businessman who managed to avoid the photographers. It is to this man that 30-year-old Ghislaine has turned to ease the heartache of her father’s shame.” “His name is Jeffrey Epstein.” “Whose house is this, Ghislaine?” a friend asked her in the early 1990’s. “Who lives here?” My friend,” Maxwell replied. “Well, is he banging you?” the friend demanded. “What’s the scoop here?” A trust fund is said to have provided her with an income of $145,000 a year. A far cry from her previous seemingly unending wealth. She “never, ever had any cash. Lots of credit, of course, but no cash”, one friend recalled to the press. And yet, she lived the high life. She was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Had a “reputation for being charming and funny, and a glittering lifestyle straight out of the pages of a society magazine”. She was now “far from the ever watchful eye of the British press,” Hello! magazine wrote in 1997. “She is proud of the fact that her new life is all down to her own hard work and has her elegant apartment to show for it,” the magazine mistakenly added. One day, she would “get married and have kids. But it has never been a focus: My focus is my business.” Ghislaine’s presence added more fuel to the question: “How did Jeffrey Epstein amass his fortune?” For one of the most propagated theories is that Maxwell’s father Robert bankrolled him with funds hidden from the UK authorities. Jeffrey Epstein built a 21,000-square-foot mansion on a massive ranch in New Mexico, which – he boasted – made his New York townhouse “look like a shack”. He named it the Zorro Ranch. He also acquired a 72-acre island in the Virgin Islands and an 8,600-square-foot home in Paris, with a specially built massage room. She had found a path back to the lifestyle she’d lost when her father died. “She was used to living very well,” says a friend who knew her then. “She didn’t want to go back to where she was.” All she had to do to keep it was to give ‘the monster’ what he wanted. Maxwell was expected to drop everything to serve Epstein. She had to keep everyone in line, because one misstep would unleash the wrath of Epstein, one of the few people who could make Maxwell cry. “He would be screaming over the phone,” recalled an Epstein victim, “and she would burst into tears.” The New York townhouse became a social nexus; guests could have included members of the Kennedy and Rockefeller clans, “along with the requisite sprinkling of countesses and billionaires,” according to The Times of London. She was “a modern-day geisha” in a “domain filled with the richest people in the planet. “It’s a world frequented by young half-naked girls in bikinis, billionaires and lavish lifestyles, but it borders on the grotesque. You are never really sure what is going on behind closed doors.” Royalty was specially prized, which is why her friendship with Prince Andrew became so treasured. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a Prince Andrew’s party at the Queen’s Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England. It has been reported that the event was in honor of Maxwell’s 39th birthday. And yet, Ghislaine began trying to distance herself from Epstein long before he went to jail. In the early 2000s, she hooked up in California with a man much richer than Epstein: Ted Waitt. Waitt lived in a seven-bedroom, 14-bath mansion in La Jolla, sailed the world aboard a 240-foot mega-yacht, the Plan B. It was equipped with a helipad, Jacuzzi, elevator, gym, and HAD AN ONBOARD SUBMARINE, which Maxwell soon was licensed to pilot. After Epstein went to prison in Florida for a short period, Maxwell saw the silver spoons turned into hard times again. Acquaintances that crossed her path reported how she was almost unrecognizable. She was not stylish and attention grabbing anymore, seemed determined to go unnoticed. Her face had no makeup. There was a hint of gray in her black hair, she put on some weight. “I was so shocked by her look,” a friend recalled to the British press. “I didn’t recognize her.” She even gave up her once proud name, sometimes introducing herself to new acquaintances only as “G.” “Where are you living, Ghislaine?” the friend asked. “I lost touch with you.” Maxwell suddenly went blank. “Oh,” she replied, “a little bit everywhere.” December 2014: Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida describing Maxwell as Epstein’s “primary coconspirator and participant in his sexual abuse and sex trafficking scheme.” Maxwell made a huge mistake, issuing an “urgent” statement to the media dismissing the claims as “obvious lies.” That allowed Giuffre, to sue Maxwell for defamation in federal court in New York, a lawsuit “widely viewed as a vessel for Epstein’s victims to expose the scope of Epstein’s crimes,” according to the Miami Herald. Maxwell affirmed her innocence with fury, at one point of her testimony banging her fists on the table. She also, according to charges filed by the DOJ SDNY, committed two counts of perjury. 2019: when the SDNY reopened the criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine was far away, living the high life. She met with her friend Prince Andrew in Buckingham Palace, and participated in “Cash & Rocket”, an annual charity road rally. Between races of the rally, she joined the super rich in attending a Masquerade Ball in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as a White dinner at La Reserve in Geneva and the Red party at the Yacht Club de Monaco. Those were to be her last reported events. Cash & Rocket scrub Maxwell’s photo from its website once Epstein was arrested and the scandal assaulted the headlines again. On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport, arriving from Paris. The FBI raided his mansion, and charged him with sex trafficking of minors. “Epstein’s pimp girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a very well-connected Brit socialite cannot just walk free,” actress Ellen Barking tweeted the day after Epstein’s arrest. “This woman is his pimp. She pilots planes [sic] to and from the island. I know because she told me.” Maxwell again went into hiding, unreachable during legal proceedings. It surfaced in December 2019 that Maxwell was among the people under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein’s crimes. She was faced with a tabloid frenzy even bigger than the one that accompanied the death of her father. She again uprooted herself and tried to start over in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a quiet village 30 miles north of Boston, she lived for a time in the $3 million, five-bedroom colonial home of Scott Borgerson, CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics. Since Epstein was found dead in jail, last August, she is reported to have moved 36 times, out of fear for her safety. Credible Death threats arrived by social media, email, phone, text, and postal service. It began in earnest with Epstein’s arrest, multiplied with his death, and accelerated in the months that followed. They soon became a routine part of her life. She hired a professional security firm, with operatives that are veterans of intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This photoshopped photo of Maxwell surfaced last year to mislead the public into thinking she was in Los Angeles. Frank Report was the first to report the photo a fake, a story that went viral.
“Where in the world was Ghislaine Maxwell? Everyone, it seemed, had a theory, each wilder than the last. She was said to be hiding deep beneath the sea in a submarine, which she was licensed to pilot. Or she was lying low in Israel, under the protection of the Mossad, the powerful intelligence agency with whom her late father supposedly tangled. Or she was in the FBI witness protection program, or ensconced in luxury in a villa in the South of France, or sunning herself naked on the coast of Spain, or holed up in a high-security doomsday bunker belonging to rich and powerful friends whose lives might implode should Maxwell ever reveal what she knows—all the dirty secrets of the dirty world that she and Epstein shared.” (Vanity Fair – Jul 3, 2020)
Maxwell remained at large, beyond the reach of attorneys, tabloid reporters, and a 10,000-pound reward from The Sun in London. “It’s a little bit like Elvis—you get lots of reports but they’re hard to verify,” a victim attorney said in May. She was periodically said to have been spotted around the world, usually in places where she was not. Reporters scoured the globe. Some said she was in Russia trying to get a Oligarch to protect her. Others pointed to Israel or Brazil, China, Singapore, the Middle East, England. She was “both everywhere and nowhere,” lamented UK’s The Guardian. On August 2019, she was apparently photographed eating a burger and fries in the Cahuenga Boulevard, in the San Fernando Valley. She held The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. Given Ghislaine and her father Robert’s alleged ties to Intelligence Services, this choice does not seem accidental. Papers were running out of incredible stories to account for her disappearance. A bizarre new theory emerged she could be hiding in a submarine which – as we saw – was not downright impossible, since she DID have a license to pilot underground vehicles. On July 2nd 2020, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI and NYPD in the small New England town of Bradford, New Hampshire. It is situated at driving distance of the NYSD. They finally found her in a luxurious four-bedroom, 4,365-square-foot home on a wooded lot, called Tuckedaway. Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with six federal crimes: luring and enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury. The crimes took place between 1994 and 1997, the years of her “intimate relationship with Epstein,” when she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls.” One of the three unnamed victims was “as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.” FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. described Maxwell as “one of the villains of this investigation,” who had “slithered away to a gorgeous property” in New Hampshire, where she was “continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.” “I am optimistic about my future,” she said in 1997, “and believe things will continue to improve for me as time passes.” Now, according to sources close to her, “I don’t think [Ghislaine] sees there is a future,” came the reply. If found guilty of all charges, Maxwell could face a prison sentence of 35 years. She denies the accusations, and has pleaded not guilty to all six charges. She will await trial locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center, in Brooklyn. A dreadful prison that is as removed from her previous “silver spoon” upbringing as it’s possible in the US. Hard times. She used to be a larger than life character, who once hosted a dinner for NY socialites on ‘the fine art of giving a blow job’. But then, she really blew it. A report from a source familiar with the Metropolitan Detention Center gives a glum picture of Ghislaine Maxwell’s present conditions. She is in the women’s section and believed to be confined to a solitary cell. Because of the past history of the MDC, it is not impossible to suspect that Ghislaine could be having sexual relations with one or more corrections officers, either male or female. Her available wealth would permit her to buy some privileges directly from the corrections officers who could smuggle in items for her. MDC has a history of guards, male and female, enjoying sex with prisoners and smuggling in everything from alcohol to cell phones to drugs. While she is not enjoying what anyone would call a privileged life, and is most likely [because of Covid protocols] confined to her cell, dank and cold [in summer] perhaps as much as 23-24 hours per day and possibly getting only one hot meal per day, our source says, with her wealth and talent to charm, if there is any privilege, any opportunity, any luxury to enjoy at MDC, she is enjoying it. Of course, she is probably under near-constant surveillance, for no guard wants to go to prison for letting her get murdered or commit suicide – as did her former lover Epstein. It is not known how frequently she is meeting with lawyers in special rooms set aside for the purpose. But an MDC source tells Frank Report that prison officials are known to eavesdrop on those conversations with lawyers and defendants and do so on high profile cases. Whether they report to the prosecution what they learn is unknown. In the end, Maxwell has a hard road to hoe and will remain in the brutal and unsanitary MDC until she stands trial or makes a plea deal or dies. The possibility of additional charges other than those currently charged against her – for hebephilia crimes in the last century – remain a possibility. The late Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted hebephile, a person who has urges for post pubescent but under the age of consent children. Is Ghislaine one also? And are there others, famous and prominent men of power who have indulged as Jeffrey and allegedly Ghislaine have done? The ace in the hole for her, obviously, is, if she has info on other prominent hebephiles that the DOJ for its own partisan or PR reasons might like to selectively prosecute, she can trade that info for a lenient sentence and hopefully not be murdered for doing so. Her former lover, Jeffrey Epstein, might have committed suicide, as the Mainstream Media and the US Govt. urges you to believe, but there are some who find the coincidences, cameras being off, bones broken indicating he was strangled, guards happening to fall asleep as they were assigned to watch the most famous prisoner in the world, such that that it just might cause reasonable people to doubt the official narrative a little more than the corporate media and prison officials would wants us to doubt. The same fate might befall Ghislaine and we may never know just what she did. Whether her crimes were confined to herself and Epstein or whether there was a vast network of hebephiles joining in – or – in fairness to her – she is innocent as she claims, something that a trial, if she makes it to trial, might help us determine. stretcher during the funeral service in Jerusalem’s main convention hall on Nov. 10, 1991. The body is laying on a stretcher, draped in a white Jewish prayer shawl with black stripes as is it tradition of Jewish burials in Israel. (AP Photo/Natik Harnik) Ghislaine is fourth from the left. https://preview.redd.it/vnzmapdilrg51.png?width=432&format=png&auto=webp&s=bde723c918da88ce07aa1091b70c77baa76c0562 https://preview.redd.it/6v6qco3llrg51.png?width=509&format=png&auto=webp&s=7531e39667e4ee9f869b6c56ef8c53e118a8909f https://preview.redd.it/xu6z62snlrg51.png?width=574&format=png&auto=webp&s=c96a9decc1af25e8adc0e31b9cdad1d51c67faee
Hey reddit, Was thinking about going to encore tonight (2/8). I’m from Portland so I have either Hollywood in Bangor, oxford (both of which I’ve been to and aren’t anything particularly special) or encore which I’ve yet to go to. I’ve seen a few reviews on here for encore but they’re all a few months old from around the time it originally opened. Main question is about table minimums at craps and blackjack. Maine casinos I can find $5 min craps and $10 min blackjack. Does anyone have any idea what the table mins are like at encore? Also I was curious if the craps tables ever shut down. Hollywood and oxford usually close their craps tables by 1 or 2am. Any other info or opinions on the casino is of course welcome
I made a list of content from the current wave of Boxsets and whether DGM sells them [Part 1]
You can find Part 2 here Based on a previous post, I decided to make a list of every disc from each of the currently available King Crimson boxsets. I do not include the content from the original Court of the Crimson King boxset from 2009 as that is long out of print and King Crimson is going to be redoing that set in the future. Where possible, I will include links to DGM if the discs are available for sale digitally through their store, in case you aren't interested in the sets as a whole, but might still want portions of them. If the disc is exclusive to the boxset, then I will make a note of it. This list is in order of when in King Crimson's history the boxsets cover, not necessarily the release order the sets came out in. For the sake of condensing the list as well as ease of reading the list, I will leave off the Discs that do not include studio releases as the main focus of this post is to show where on DGM Live you can purchase the content of the boxsets without having to purchase the entire boxset.
Sailors' Tales (1970-1972)
Sailor's Tales Having lost half the band after In the Court of the Crimson King, Fripp would convince Greg Lake and Michael Giles to return as session musicians for In the Wake of Poseidon, but after that he would need a new overall lineup if King Crimson were to continue. This second Lineup would encompass In the Wake of Poseidon post-studio recording through Islands. This boxset covers the Islands era of King Crimson at the beginning of the 1970's. It was released on November 10, 2017. CD Content-
In the Wake of Poseidon - Studio Album 2010 Stereo Mix
Cat Food (Single A Side)
Groon (Single B Side)
Cadence and Cascade (Guide Vocal; Greg Lake)
In the Wake of Poseidon (Take 3)
The Devil's Triangle (Part I Early Running Mix)
The Devil's Triangle (Part II Fripp/Tippett Overdubs)
The Devil's Triangle (Part III Steven Wilson Mix)
Peace - An End (Alternate Mix)
Lizard - Studio Album 2009 Stereo Mix
Indoor Games (Alternate Take)
Happy Family (Alternate Take)
Lady of the Dancing Water (Alternate Take)
Prince Rupert Awakes (Jon Anderson, Vocals 2017 Mix by David Singleton)
Prince Rupert Awakes (Keith Tippett, Piano)
Bolero - The Peacock's Tale (Original Studio Recording, Bass Overdubs: Tony Levin)
Prince Rupert's Lament (Alternate Take, 2015 Mix by Jakko Jakszyk)
Islands - Studio Album. 2010 Stereo Mix
Formentera Lady (Take 2, 2010 Mix by Steven Wilson)
Sailor's Tale (Alternate Guitar Takes, Remix by Alex R. Mundy)
Ladies of the Road (Rehearsal/Outtake, 2010 Mix by Steven Wilson)
Prelude - Song of the Gulls (String Section, Take 2)
Islands (Original Studio Recording, Vocal Overdub: Jakko Jakszyk)
This is available as disc 2 of the King Crimson Club Special Edition album called Ladies of the Road: Live 1971-1972. It is not available as a digital purchase from DGM Live, however, you can purchase a CD copy currently from DGM USA or from DGM UK
Larks' Tongues in Aspic: The Complete Recordings After the Islands Lineup Broke up, Robert Fripp would recruit Bill Bruford of Yes, John Wetton of Family, and David Cross to form the lineup that would run for the rest of King Crimson's 70's career. This Boxset picks up where Sailors' Tales left off, covering Late 1972 and 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic Studio Album. The boxset was released on October 15, 2012. CD Content-
Larks' Tongues in Aspic Session Reels - Not on DGM Live
This Disc has one track that is 1:19:16 long, which is every first take the band made during the recording of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, with studio talk between the band members and the engineer between each song.
Larks' Tongues in Aspic - Original 1973 Stereo Mix 30th Anniversary Remaster
US Radio Ad
Easy Money (edit)
Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II) - Not sure what is different on this. It is about 12 seconds shorter than the non-bonus Part II.
Alternate Takes & Mixes (Box Set has this listed as Disc 13. The DVD is Disc 12)
This is the tracklist for the Larks' Tongues in Aspic Studio Album made up of alternate takes or mixes of said tracks. The exception is that this disc has an extra Easy Money at the end.
Larks' Tongues in Aspic - 2012 Stereo Mix (Box Set has this listed as Disc 14. The DVD is Disc 12)
Starless. But not Bible Black? This Boxset takes place between Late 1973 and Early 1974, sandwiched between Larks' Tongues in Aspic and The Road to Red. This Boxset was released on October 20, 2014. CD Content-
Essentially, this disc seems to include live recordings that do not really fit anywhere else, including for example the complete Mincer improv minus the overdubs, the final tracks of University of Texas that didn't fit on Disc 21, Dr. Diamond from Atlanta, etc.
Palazzo Dello Sport, Udine, Italy March 19, 1974 - First half of Disc 7's Content
DVD Disc 2 Content
Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, USA April 29, 1974 - Not on DGM Live
More accurately, this is only a small portion of the concert. The whole concert is available in The Road to Red Boxset. This portion is not available separately on DGM Live, but the whole concert is on DGM Live. I will include a link to the concert under the concert in The Road to Red.
The Road to Red
The Road to Red Rounding out the end of the 1970's saga of King Crimson, as well as the Larks' Tongues era, John Wetton's and David Cross' tenure, and even the final tour before Robert Fripp discovers Dapper Dan in the 1980's, we have The Road to Red. This Boxset picks up days after Starless leaves off in 1974 and goes through the American tour King Crimson embarked prior to the release of Red. This boxset was released on October 14, 2013. CD Content-
On (and off) The Road After a nearly 7 year hiatus, King Crimson is back after Fripp brought back Bill Bruford and enlisted Americans Tony Levin and Adrian Belew into a very different iteration of King Crimson, one that wasn't even originally going to be called King Crimson. This box set covers this era, encompassing the 1980s and the associated studio albums of Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair. This Box set was released on October 28, 2016. CD Content-
This is a set of studio recordings made that would eventually be scrapped in favor of what would become Three of a Perfect Pair. This was previously available in the King Crimson Collector's Club, but this version has 2 additional tracks. The DGM Live purchase lacks the additional tracks as well. The additional tracks are:
Adrian and Robert
Three of a Perfect Pair
Absent Lovers- Not on DGM Live
This is not available as a Digital purchase from DGM Live, however you can purchase a CD copy of it from DGM USA or DGM UK.
Absent Lovers- Second half of Disc 7's content
Are you recording Gary? - Not on DGM Live
This disc is similar to Larks' Tongues in Aspic's Session Reels in that it is a behind the scenes look at King Crimson in the studio. The title track is 15 minutes of King Crimson jamming and chatting working out material. The other three tracks are essentially abridged versions of the three albums of the era showing various portions of the albums in work in progress states.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age takes everything to love about classic JRPGs and refines them to their utmost. The result? Absolute brilliance. If you had to pick just one JRPG to own on a modern platform, then let it this be the one.
Enix, and by proxy Square, have found myriad ways to repackage the journey of Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age proves that they haven't run out of ideas yet. It's one of the easier modern Dragon Quests to get into precisely because it gets back to basics. If you've been pining for an older-school character-focused RPG instead of the player-created party focus of IX and the MMO aspect of X, the wait has ended.
Dragon Quest XI is, from end to end, an iconic example of everything that Dragon Quest has stood for since way back in the 80's. It's charming and has a colourful energy that makes it very hard to put down.
If you have been missing the pure, genuine adventuring encouraged by the JRPGs of old, and you have been eager to see what the most traditional incarnation of the genre could achieve when paired with top-notch production values, this is most definitely the game for you.
Dragon Quest XI brings the legendary Japanese RPG franchise to consoles (properly) for the first time in 13 years, and it's a mostly fantastic new chapter of the series. Its story, gameplay, characters, and visuals all work to blend timeless series elements with newer-era genre refinements, and most of the time, the results are great. Unfortunately, there are a few times when honoring tradition is a weakness, not a strength—most specifically in the case of the game's protagonist.
I have a weird love-hate relationship with Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. At times, its nostalgic, its nicely written story and its unique design just blows me away but at other times, I simply hate its poorly designed interfaced, its lack of innovation and the simple fact that it never dares to try anything new. When it does something, it does it perfectly, but it simply doesn't feel enough in 2017. It plays it way too safe for its own good.
If you've been waiting since DQVIII for a Dragon Quest title to hit your PlayStation, you'll be glad it's finally here. It may not do a lot to push the genre forward, but like the game's design so clearly sets out to do, Dragon Quest XI is an homage to the JRPG and its fans. It's an immense, addictive, and joyful experience from the first moment on. I cannot recommend it enough.
Dragon Quest XI is the perfect game to kick off the annual Fall glut of games, simply based on the merits of it being a massive sprawling JRPG that could easily carry you into the Winter months if you want it to. There's so much to do and it's so easily to get lost for hours just exploring the world trying to find the right materials to craft some better gear, or to finish up that side-quest that you picked up in Puerto Valor, or maybe the casino is more your style? Dragon Quest XI is easily one of the best JRPGs this generation, and it would be a shame if you missed it.
Dragon Quest XI is a stellar game that displays a great command of the ins and outs of its genre the way few other games can and do. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with its confident execution of ideas, showing that a game doesn't need to be revolutionary or the freshest thing on the block to be an incredible experience. With a memorable cast of characters, a well-told, briskly paced story, stunning and vibrant visuals, and a beautiful and extremely varied world as its setting, Dragon Quest XI serves as yet another excellent instalment in this amazingly consistent franchise.
Dragon Quest XI is a big game with lots to see and do, and you won't breeze through the game in a weekend. If you are willing to put in the time and see it to the end, though, the game is highly rewarding as a JRPG with a surprising amount of depth. Some of its larger story moments are enjoyable in their own right even if they can be derivative or are mere shadows of specific moments from classics of the genre, but while the game may not reinvent the JRPG, I had a blast making my way across Erdrea.
Dragon Quest series hit its peak with Dragon Quest XI offering one of the most engaging stories in a JRPG full of unforgettable characters and a turn-based combat system that can tailor to your experience. This is a classic JRPG that is worthy of being considered one of the best games released this generation.
Dragon Quest XI Echoes of an Elusive Age is as much of an homage to the older Dragon Quest titles as it is a new step foward for the series. With a great story, a superb set of characters and loads of content to discover, Dragon Quest XI is one of the best JRPG to come out in recent years
Dragon Quest XI excels when it emphasizes fighting bad guys, exploring dungeons, and finding treasure. It’s a visual feast populated by a cast of colorful monsters more engrossing than its main characters. Uneven story beats and some icky bits sometimes slow Dragon Quest down, but superb mechanics remain the focus, making Echoes of an Elusive Age a top-tier JRPG for the modern age.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is not a perfect game but it is a perfect Dragon Quest. Full of winks dedicated to his most loyal followers, but also thought for the good grade to new generations.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a phenomenal game that JRPG fans will want to play. The brief break gave Dragon Quest XI a chance to improve a number of things and that certainly paid off. The storyline is interesting and engaging, something that will suck players in and hold their attention until the very end. And, outside of the main story, there is a wide variety of things for players to do. Needless to say, if you feel like recent JRPGs have been lacking, then you'll probably enjoy Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.
DQ XI is classic in its shape,despite some additions and new features, but the game managed to surprise us in a beautiful way due to its scenario. Epic and surprising for the series, he will affect palyers looking for a very good JRPG with texts translated into french. We would have liked to have a better technique especially for the score. But its richness, its characters are also here to give us a nice adventure. And it's seems obvious that all the fans have to buy the game.
In conclusion, everything I have said about Dragon Quest XI being one of the best games of all time is definitely correct, because I played the game in Japanese for 300 hours. I wouldn't have done that if it weren't a masterpiece.
Dragon Quest XI is one of the best games ever made. From its deep gameplay and charming characters to its gorgeous visuals and stunning music, Echoes of an Elusive Age is a game that no one should miss out on.
PlayStation LifeStyle - Lucas White - 9 / 10.0
I have my issues with Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. It's a bit clunky when it tries to pretend it's cool like other video games. I wish I had vocations instead of skill points to play with, and it would be nice if I could get from point A to B a bit faster, or have more to do along the way. But at the same time, I found myself engrossed in the usual grind I've come to love over the years, the silly and fantastical creatures from my favorite artist, and the storytelling that met and even rattled my expectations. There's even a neat little crafting system I didn't have room to mention, secrets to find, and of course hours and hours of post-game content. If you want to go on an adventure, and I mean a real adventure that tugs on your heartstrings, makes you smile, and yells puns at you constantly, do not sleep on Dragon Quest XI.
PlayStation Universe - Garri Bagdasarov - 10 / 10.0
An incredible achievement, and even after 150 hours in we didn't want it to end. From an emotional story, simple yet engaging combat, and gorgeous visuals. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is simply remarkable and shouldn't be missed.
Dragon Quest 11 is a beautiful example of what a JRPG can be after 30 years of lovingly guided evolution. Its success is irrevocably tethered to those decades of development, though, and that means you probably already know if this is a game for you. If you're not already one of the faithful, Dragon Quest 11 is unlikely to make you a convert.
Dragon Quest XI is the best looking in the long running franchise, and at its core, while unchanged, remains solid and funny. Still, we would like to see some major changes and improvements in the next installment.
While Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age doesn't push the boundaries of RPG design in any new way, it is an enjoyable and refined return to the Dragon Quest franchise. Some might decry its lack of ambition, but for fans of the genre and the series, new experiences like this are few and far between.
If you're a fan of Dragon Quest VIII, you'll find a lot to love about Dragon Quest XI. Its character-driven plot and skill system recall the series' breakout PlayStation 2 installment, though Dragon Quest XI's lively world and expressive monsters lend it a unique feeling and flavor. Some fans might feel let-down about Dragon Quest XI's lack of job system or other options that let you fine-tune every aspect of your party (what I wouldn't give to see Dragon Quest V's monster-friending system make a return), but if you're in the market for a turn-based RPG that feels nostalgic but doesn't force you to deal with old genre mechanics, you won't find a better quest.
Dragon Quest XI is an incredible example of how to take a classic series and modernize it with updated graphics and voice acting while still keeping what made the original so charming. If the story stayed strong all the way through, it would be my favorite in the series hands-down. Nevertheless, it's still in the top three Dragon Quests that I've ever played.
This isn't the end-all, be-all of JRPGs, but it's still a damn fine Dragon Quest game, not to mention a great introduction to the genre for newcomers. Think of it as JRPG comfort food and you'll have no trouble whatsoever.
Formatting provided by OpenCritic. (Will be updated as reviews come in.)
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Every weekday evening at around 9pm, in the Daily Mail’s headquarters in Kensington, west London, the slightly stooping, six-foot three-inch figure of Paul Dacre emerges into the main open-plan office where editors, sub-editors and designers are in the final stages of preparing pages for the next day’s paper. The atmosphere changes instantly; everyone becomes tense, as though waiting for a thunderstorm. Dacre begins with a low growl, like an angry tiger. His voice rises as several pages are denounced, along with those responsible. Imprecations reverberate across the office, sometimes punctuated by the strangely anomalous command to a senior colleague, “Don’t resist me, darling.” Pages must be replaced or redesigned, their order changed, headlines altered. New pictures are required with new captions. Dacre waves his long arms, hammers the air with his hands, shouts even louder and, if particularly agitated, scratches himself. Nobody tries to argue. For all the fear and exasperation – “He never thinks of logistics and he has no idea of what’s an unreasonable request,” says one former sub-editor – there is also admiration. Dacre, Fleet Street’s best-paid editor, who earned almost £1.8m in 2012, has been in charge of the Mail since 1992 and, by general consent, is the most successful editor of his generation. The paper sells an average of 1.5 million copies on weekdays, 2.4 million on Saturdays. Only the Sun sells more but, on Saturdays, the Mail has just moved ahead. Its 4.3 million daily readers include more from the top three social classes (A, B and C1) than the Times, Guardian, Independent and Financial Times combined. Its long-standing middle-market rival, the Daily Express, slightly ahead when Dacre took over, now sells less than a third as many copies. Under Dacre, the Mail has won Newspaper of the Year six times in the annual British Press Awards – twice as many prizes as any other paper. If anything, its authority and clout have grown in the past two years as Rupert Murdoch’s Sun has struggled with the fallout from the hacking scandal. Politicians no longer fear Murdoch as they once did. They still fear Dacre. The opposition from Murdoch’s papers to the government’s proposals that a royal charter should regulate the press is muted. Dacre’s Mail is loud and clear about the threat to “our free press”. Summoned twice before the Leveson inquiry – the second time because he had accused the actor Hugh Grant of lying in his evidence – he didn’t give an inch. Everyone who has ever worked for Dacre, who has just passed his 65th birthday, praises his almost uncanny instinct for the issues and stories that will hold the attention of “Middle England”. No other editor so deftly balances the mix of subjects and moods that holds readers’ attention: serious and frivolous, celebrities and ordinary people, urban, suburban and rural, some stories provoking anger, others tears. No other editor chooses, with such unerring and lethal precision, the issues, often half forgotten, that will create panic and fear among politicians. “He’s the most consummate newspaperman I’ve ever met,” says Charles Burgess, a former features editor who also occupied high-level roles at the Guardian and Independent. “He balances the flow of each day’s paper in his head.” “He articulates the dreams, fears and hopes of socially insecure members of the suburban middle class,” says Peter Oborne, the Mail’s former political columnist now at the Daily Telegraph. “It’s a daily performance of genius.” But Murdoch’s decline leaves the Mail under more scrutiny than ever. Is Dacre at last running out of road? Rumours circulate in the national newspaper industry that members of the Rothermere family, owners of the Daily Mail, are increasingly nervous of the controversy that Dacre stirs up, notably this year with its attack on Ralph Miliband, father of the Labour leader, as “the man who hated Britain”. More than any other editor since Kelvin MacKenzie ruled at the Sun – and, among other outrages, alleged that drunkenness among Liverpool football fans led to the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 – Dacre attracts visceral loathing. His enemies see the Mail, to quote the Huffington Post writer and NS columnist Mehdi Hasan (who was duly monstered in the Mail’s pages), as “immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting”. The loathing is returned, with interest. In Dacre’s mind, the country is run, in effect, by affluent metropolitan liberals who dominate Whitehall, the leadership of the main political parties, the universities, the BBC and most public-sector professions. As he once said, “. . . no day is too busy or too short not to find time to tweak the noses of the liberalocracy”. The Mail, in his view, speaks for ordinary people, working hard and struggling with their bills, conventional in their views, ambitious for their children, loyal to their country, proud of owning their home, determined to stand on their own feet. These people, Dacre believes, are not given a fair hearing in the national media and the Mail alone fights for them. It is incomprehensible to him – a gross category error – that critics should be obsessed by the Mail’s power and influence when the BBC, funded by a compulsory poll tax, dominates the news market. It uses this position, he argues, to push a dogmatically liberal agenda, hidden behind supposed neutrality. Scarcely an issue of the Mail passes without a snipe and sometimes a full barrage in the news pages, leaders or signed opinion columns at BBC “bias”. To its critics, however, the Mail is as biased as it’s possible to be, and none too fussy about the facts. In the files of the Press Complaints Commission, you will find records of 687 complaints against the Mail which led either to a PCC adjudication or to a resolution negotiated, at least partially, after the PCC’s intervention. The number far exceeds that for any other British newspaper: the files show 394 complaints against the Sun, 221 against the Daily Telegraph, 115 against the Guardian. The complaints will serve as a charge sheet against the Mail and its editor. This year, the Mail reported that disabled people are exempt from the bedroom tax; that asylum-seekers had “targeted” Scotland; that disabled babies were being euthanised under the Liverpool Care Pathway; that a Kenyan asylum-seeker had committed murders in his home country; that 878,000 recipients of Employment Support Allowance had stopped claiming “rather than face a fresh medical”; that a Portsmouth primary school had denied pupils water on the hottest day of the year because it was Ramadan; that wolves would soon return to Britain; that nearly half the electricity produced by windfarms was discarded. All these reports were false. Mail executives argue that it gets more complaints than its rivals because it reaches more readers (particularly online, where the paper’s stories are repeated and others originate), prints more pages and tackles more serious and politically challenging issues. They point out that only six complaints were upheld after going through all the PCC’s stages and that the Sun and Telegraph, despite fewer complaints, had more upheld. But the PCC list, though it contains some of the Mail’s favourite targets such as asylum-seekers and “scroungers”, merely scratches the surface. Other complainants turned to the law. In the past ten years, the Mail has reported that the dean of RAF College Cranwell showed undue favouritism to Muslim students (false); the film producer Steve Bing hired a private investigator to destroy the reputation of his former lover Liz Hurley (false); the actress Sharon Stone left her four-year-old child alone in a car while she dined at a restaurant (false); the actor Rowan Atkinson needed five weeks’ treatment at a clinic for depression (false); a Tamil refugee, on hunger strike in Parliament Square, was secretly eating McDonald’s burgers (false); the actor Kate Winslet lied over her exercise regime (false); the singer Elton John ordered guests at his Aids charity ball to speak to him only if spoken to (false); Amama Mbabazi, the prime minister of Uganda, benefited personally from the theft of £10m in foreign aid (false). In all these cases, the Mail paid damages. Then there are the subjects that the Mail and other right-wing papers will never drop. One is the EU, which, the Mail reported last year, proposed to ban books such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series that portray “traditional” families. Another is local authorities, forever plotting to expel Christmas from public life and replace it with the secular festival of Winterval. It does not matter how often these reports are denied and their flimsy provenance exposed; the Mail keeps on running them and its columnists cite them as though they were accepted wisdom. The paper gets away with publishing libels and falsehoods and with invasions of privacy because the penalties are insignificant. Often the victims can’t afford to sue and, if they can, the Mail group, with £282m annual profits even in these straitened times, can live with the costs. The PCC, even when its rules allow it to admit a complaint, has no powers to impose fines or to stipulate the prominence of corrections. Besides, many victims don’t pursue complaints because they fear the stress of going to war with a powerful newspaper. They included the late writer Siân Busby who, the paper wrote in 2008, had received “the all-clear from lung cancer” after “a gruelling year”. In fact, the diagnosis had come less than six months earlier and she hadn’t received the “all-clear”. More important, as her husband, the BBC journalist Robert Peston, explained in the James Cameron Memorial Lecture in November this year, she wanted to keep the news out of the public domain to protect her children. “The Mail got away with it,” Peston said. “As it often does.” (The Mail, in a statement after the lecture, said the information had been obtained from Busby herself and that the reporter had identified himself as a Mail writer.) In his 2008 book Flat Earth News, the Guardian journalist Nick Davies compared the paper to a footballer who, to protect his goal, will deliberately bring down an opponent. “Brilliant and corrupt,” Davies wrote, “the Daily Mail is the professional foul of contemporary Fleet Street.” Even a list of official complaints and court cases doesn’t quite capture why the Mail attracts such fear and loathing. It has a unique capacity for targeting individuals and twisting the knife day after day, without necessarily lapsing into inaccuracies that could lead either to libel writs or censure by the PCC. For instance, as publication of the Leveson report on press regulation approached, the Mail devoted 12 pages of one issue – and several more pages of subsequent issues – to an “exposure” of Sir David Bell, a name then almost entirely unknown even to well-informed members of the public. A Leveson assessor and former Financial Times chairman, Bell was allegedly at the centre of a “quasi-masonic” network of “elitist liberals”, bent on gagging the press and preventing freedom of expression. This network, based on the “leadership” training organisation Common Purpose, had spawned the Media Standards Trust, of which Bell was a co-founder, which in turn had spawned the lobby group Hacked Off, an important influence on Leveson. To the Mail, this was a perfect illustration of how well-connected liberals, through networks of apparently innocuous organisations, conspire to undermine national traditions and values. The paper also targets groups, often the weak and vulnerable. The Federation of Poles in Great Britain complained to the PCC that the Mail ran 80 headlines between 2006 and 2008 linking Poles to problems in the NHS and schools, unemployment among Britons, drug smuggling, rape and so on. Most of the stories, as the federation acknowledged, were newsworthy and largely accurate. The objection was to the way they were presented and to the drip, drip effect of continually highlighting the Polish connection so that, as the federation’s spokesman put it, the average reader’s heart “skips a beat . . . with either indignation or alarm”. The PCC eventually brokered a settlement that led to publication of a letter from the federation. ￼ Yet there is something magnificent about the Mail’s confidence and single-mindedness. Other papers, trimming to focus groups, muffle their message, but the Mail projects its world-view relentlessly, with supreme technical skill, from almost every page. It is a paper led by its opinions, not by news. It is not noted for big exclusives, nor even for rapid reaction. “We were often known as the day-late paper,” a former reporter recalls. “Dacre wouldn’t really be interested in a story until he’d seen it somewhere else. We would sometimes give our exclusives to other journalists. Dacre surveys all the other papers, selects the right lines for the next day and follows them.” Although Dacre has little enthusiasm for new technology – he still doesn’t have a computer on his desk – his paper is perfectly primed for the age of instant 24-hour news, when the challenge is not so much to find and report news as to select, interpret and elaborate on it. Long before other papers recognised the merits of a features-led or views-led approach, the Mail under Dacre was doing it. The Mail gives its readers a sense of belonging in an increasingly complex and unsettling world. Part of the trick is to make the world seem more threatening than it is: crime is rising, migrants flooding the country, benefit scroungers swindling the taxpayer, standards of education falling, wind turbines taking over the countryside. Almost anything you eat or drink could give you cancer. Above all, the family – “the greatest institution on God’s green earth”, Dacre told a writer for the New Yorker last year – is under continuous assault. The Mail assures readers they are not alone in their anxieties about this changing world. It is a paper to be read, not on trains or buses or in offices, but in the peace and quiet of your home, preferably with an old-fashioned coal fire blazing in the hearth. “Readers like certainty,” says a former Mail reporter. “Newspapers that have a wavering grip on their ideology are the ones that struggle. The Mail is like Coke. It’s consistent, reliable. Dacre is one of the best brand managers in the business. He lives the brand.” Dacre lives mostly in the shadows. His two appearances before the Leveson inquiry gave the wider public a rare glimpse; apart from Desert Island Discs in 2004, he never appears on television or speaks on radio. If the Mail needs to defend itself (and it deigns to do so only in the most desperate circumstances), the job is assigned to an underling. Requests for on-the-record interviews are invariably refused, as they were for this article. A rare exception was made for the British Journalism Review, whose then editor, Bill Hagerty (a former editor of the People), interviewed Dacre in the tenth year of his editorship. There was also that audience with the New Yorker last year. Public lectures are equally unusual for him, though he gave the Cudlipp Lecture (in memory of Hugh Cudlipp, a Daily Mirror editor who was an early hero of his) in 2007, and addressed the Society of Editors in 2008. Even former staff members mostly prefer not to be quoted when talking about Dacre. If they agree to be quoted, they wish the quotations to be checked with them before publication. BBC Radio 4 used actors for several contributions to a recent profile. The journalists’ fear is not only that they may be cut off from future employment or freelance work – “The Mail pays far better than anybody else and you don’t want to jeopardise the £2,000 cheque that might drop through the letter box,” said one writer – but also that the Mail may hit back. These concerns are shared by many politicians, who are equally reluctant to be quoted. Dacre has few social graces and even less small talk. His body language is awkward, his manner prickly. He seldom smiles and, according to one ex-columnist, “He doesn’t laugh, he just says, ‘That’s a funny remark.’” He treats women with old-fashioned courtliness, opening doors and helping them with coats, but is otherwise uncomfortable with them, perhaps because he was one of five brothers, went to an all-male school and has no daughters. He speaks gruffly, with a slight north London accent and an even fainter trace of his father’s native Yorkshire. He sometimes buries his rather florid face deep in his hands, as though exasperated with the world’s inability to share his simple, common-sense values. He became notorious for the ripeness of his language – so frequent was his use of the C-word, almost entirely directed at men, that his staff referred to “the vagina monologues” – but when Charles Burgess told him women didn’t like hearing it he was profusely apologetic. On Desert Island Discs, he confessed to shouting at staff. “Shouting creates energy,” he said. “Energy creates great headlines.” He still shouts, but in recent years, as an insider reported, “He’s no longer the expletive volcano he once was; his barbs these days tend to concern the brainpower of his target and their supposed laziness.” He owns three properties: a home with a mile-long drive in West Sussex (known to Mail staff as Dacre Towers), a more modest weekday residence in the central London district of Belgravia and a seven-bedroom house in Scotland with a 17,000-acre shooting estate. He is a member of the Garrick Club, and sometimes takes columnists to lunch at Mark’s Club in Mayfair, which one recipient of his hospitality described as “very decorous, the sort of place you could have gone to in the 19th century”. He sent both of his sons to Eton. There are no stories of past or present indiscretions involving women, alcohol or drugs. Jon Holmes, a contemporary at Leeds University who is now a sports agent, recalls him as “a very cold fish; he never, ever, seemed to go out in a group for a drink or a meal or anything”. A former Mail reporter says: “We’d all be in the Harrow [a Fleet Street pub, heavily frequented by Mail journalists], and he would come in, buy a half-pint, take it to the opposite end of the bar, drink alone, and leave without speaking.” He has an apparently stable and successful marriage to a woman he met at university, which has lasted 37 years. He frequently attends Church of England services, but is not a believer. He likes and sometimes goes out to rugby union matches, the opera and theatre – the last partly because his wife, Kathleen Dacre, is a professor of theatre studies and partly because he has a son who is a successful director and producer with surprisingly avant-garde leanings. Asked what television he watched, he once mentioned Midsomer Murders and nothing else. He mostly eschews the trappings and opportunities of wealth and power. It is impossible to imagine him as a member of the Chipping Norton set or anything like it. He rarely dines or lunches with the powerful or fashionable, nor does he attend glitzy parties and social events. Frequently, he lunches in his office on meat and two veg. Sometimes he will lunch with politicians, but he has little respect or liking for them as a class and thinks it wise to keep his distance; Oborne recalls how, one evening, he ignored at least five increasingly urgent requests to take a call from a senior Tory minister. He declines nearly all invitations to sit on committees; his chairmanship of an official inquiry into the “30-year rule” (under which Whitehall records were kept secret for three decades) was unusual. “Editorship is not for him a route to something else,” says a former employee.
Dacre was born and spent much of his childhood in Enfield, an unremarkable middle-class suburb of north London whose inhabitants, he told the New Yorker, “were frugal, reticent, utterly self-reliant and immensely aspirational . . . suspicious of progressive values, vulgarity of any kind, self-indulgence, pretentiousness and people who know best”. Though his parents divorced late in life, his family was then (at least in his eyes) stable, happy and secure. But the more important clue to him and his relationship with the Mail’s Middle England readership is the Sunday Express of the 1950s and 1960s under the editorship of John Gordon and then John Junor. “That paper,” Dacre told the Society of Editors, “was my journalistic primer . . . [It] was warm, aspirational, unashamedly traditional, dedicated to decency, middlebrow, beautifully written and subbed, accessible, and, above all, utterly relevant to the lives of its readers.” Talking to Hagerty, he described Junor’s Sunday Express as “one of the great papers of all time”. After leaving school in Yorkshire at 16, his father, Peter Dacre, joined the Sunday Express at 21 and stayed there for the rest of his working life – mainly as a show-business writer but also, for short periods, as New York correspondent and foreign editor. Each Sunday that week’s paper was discussed and analysed over the Dacre family dinner table. It was then in its heyday, selling five million copies a week, and it didn’t go into severe decline (it now sells under 440,000) until the 1980s. It was a formulaic paper, which placed the same types of stories and features in exactly the same spots week after week. As Roy Greenslade observes in Press Gang, his post-1944 history of national newspapers, it was “virtually devoid of genuine news”; what it presented as news stories were really quirky mini-features, starting, as Greenslade put it, “with lengthy scene-setting descriptions or homilies”. Its staple subjects were animals, motor cars and wartime heroes. Its biggest target was “filth”, in the theatre, the cinema, books, magazines and TV programmes. It particularly deplored any assault on the delicate sensibilities of children. Dacre’s father criticised the BBC in 1965 for the unsuitable content of its Sunday teatime serials. Lorna Doone, he wrote, ended “gruesomely”, with a man drowning in a bog, and in the first episode of a spy serial the actors used such expressions as “damn”, “hell” and “silly bitch” at a time supposedly reserved for “family viewing”. “Have the men responsible for these programmes,” asked the elder Dacre, “forgotten that there can be no family without children? What kind of men are they? Do they have families of their own?” Another piece denounced the BBC’s Sunday evening play for “an overdose of twisted social conscience”. The young Dacre was hooked by newspapers. He only ever wanted to be a journalist and he always had his eyes on editing: “I’m a good writer, but not a great writer,” he told Hagerty. As a child in New York, during his father’s posting there, he would wake to the clattering of the ticker-tape telex machine outside his bedroom. In school holidays, he worked as a messenger for Junor’s Sunday Express and then spent a gap year before university as a trainee on the Daily Express. At the fee-charging University College School in Hampstead, north London, he edited the school magazine, and once ran, he told the Society of Editors, “a ponderous, prolix and achingly dull” special issue about the evangelist Billy Graham. It “went down like a sodden hot cross bus”, teaching him the essential lesson, which the Mail remembers every day on every page, that the worst sin in journalism is to be boring. To his disappointment, his application to Oxford University failed. He went instead to Leeds, where he read English and edited Union News, taking it sharply downmarket from, in his own description, “a product that looked like the then Times on Prozac” to one that ran “Leeds Lovelies” on page three. It won an award for student newspaper of the year. The paper supported a sit-in (led by the union president, Jack Straw, later a Labour cabinet minister), interviewed a student about “the delights of getting stoned”, wrote sympathetically about gay people, immigrants and homeless families, and called on students to help in “breaking down the barriers between the coloured and white communities of this town”. At the time, he subsequently claimed, he was left-wing, though Jon Holmes, who worked on Dacre’s Union News, says: “I never heard him express a political view except in favour of planned economies for third-world, though not first-world, countries.” His left-wing period, as he calls it, continued until the Daily Express, which he joined as soon as he left Leeds, sent him to America in 1976. He stayed there for six years, latterly working for the Mail. “America,” Dacre told Hagerty, “taught me the power of the free market . . . to improve the lives of the vast majority of ordinary people.” The Mail brought him back to London in the early 1980s and made him news editor. According to various accounts, he would “rampage through the newsroom with arms flailing like a windmill”, shouting “Go, paras, go” as he despatched reporters on stories. He climbed the hierarchy until in 1991 he became the editor of the London Evening Standard, then owned, like the Mail, by the Rothermeres’ Associated Newspapers. Circulation rose by 25 per cent in 16 months and Rupert Murdoch sounded him out about the Times editorship. To stop him leaving, the Mail editor David English resigned his chair, recommended that Dacre should replace him, and moved “upstairs” as editor-in-chief, another title that Dacre eventually inherited after English died in 1998. Dacre’s editorship has been more successful than his mentor’s but most staff do not love him as they did English. English, though capable of great coldness to those who fell into disfavour and no less likely to fly off the handle, had charm and charisma. “He would be delighted when you rang,” a former foreign correspondent says, “and he’d want to gossip and know about everything that was going on. Sometimes we’d talk for an hour. But Paul doesn’t give good phone.” He will invite writers into his office, push a glass of champagne into their hands and start saying their latest story is rubbish even as he does so. “And you hardly got time to finish the bloody drink,” a former reporter complains. A former executive says: “His track record for creating columnists is nil. He buys them up from elsewhere. He doesn’t home-grow talent because he doesn’t nurture and praise it. That’s where he’s unlike English.” Dacre is a passionate and emotional man. Though the story that he sometimes sheds tears as he dictates leaders is probably apocryphal, nobody who has worked with him doubts that he is sincere in the views he and the Mail express. “He’s not an editor who wakes up in the morning and wonders what he should be thinking today,” says Simon Heffer, a Mail columnist. Another columnist, Amanda Platell, a former editor of the Sunday Mirror and press secretary to William Hague during his leadership of the Conservative Party, says: “When I was an editor, I had to second-guess my readership because they weren’t my natural constituency. Paul never has to do that.” But while his views are mostly right-wing, he is not a reliable ally for the Conservative Party, or for anyone else. This aspect of his way of working is little understood. More than most editors, it can be said of him that he is in nobody’s pocket, not even his proprietor’s. He inherited from English a paper that was slavishly pro-Tory (“David was always in and out of No 10,” said a long-serving Mail editor), firmly pro-Europe and read mainly by people in London and the south-east. Dacre changed the politics of the paper and the demographics of its audience. Today, it is resolutely – some would say hysterically – Eurosceptic and a far higher proportion of its readership is from Scotland and the English north and midlands. The Mail has ceased to take its line from Tory headquarters or to act as a mouthpiece for Conservative leaders. Indeed, every Tory leader since Margaret Thatcher has fallen short of Dacre’s exacting standards. That applies particularly to John Major and David Cameron. According to a former columnist, Dacre regards the latter as “brash, shallow, unthinking and self-advancing” and he takes an equally jaundiced view of Boris Johnson. Twice he backed Kenneth Clarke for the party leadership, despite Clarke’s enthusiasm for the EU. Clarke is a model for the politicians Dacre generally favours even if he disagrees with most of what they say: earthy, authentic, unpretentious, consistent in their values. Jack Straw and David Blunkett – both, like Clarke, from humble backgrounds – are other examples. For a time, Dacre took a relatively kindly view of Tony Blair, having been impressed by the future prime minister’s “tough on crime” approach as shadow home secretary. But he was always suspicious of Blair’s socially liberal views on marriage, gays and drugs and he told Hagerty that once Labour attained power, he saw the new government as “manipulative, dictatorial and slightly corrupt”. He wished, he added, that Blair had “done as much for the family as he’s done for gay rights”. Gordon Brown, however, was smiled upon as no other politician had ever been. The two men developed a strange friendship, involving meals together and walks in the park, which one Mail columnist described to me as “the attraction of the two weirdest boys in the playground”. Brown, Dacre told Hagerty, was “touched by the mantle of greatness . . . he is a genuinely good man . . . a compassionate man . . . an original thinker . . . of enormous willpower and courage”. At a Savoy Hotel event to celebrate Dacre’s first ten years as editor, Brown was almost equally effusive, describing the Mail editor as showing “great personal warmth and kindness . . . as well as great journalistic skill”. “We tried to tell Dacre,” says a former Mail political reporter, “that Brown was not a very good chancellor and the economy would implode eventually. But frankly, Dacre has poor political judgement. They were united by a mutual hatred of Blair. Both are social conservatives; they’re both suspicious of foreigners; they both have a kind of Presbyterian morality. Dacre would say that Brown believes in work. It’s typical of him that he seizes on a single word as the key to his understanding of someone else.” It is inconceivable that the Mail would ever back a party other than the Conservatives in a general election, but Dacre’s support can be cool, as it was in 1997 and 2010. Although he described himself to Hagerty as “a Thatcherite politically” and though self-made entrepreneurs are among the few people who can expect favourable coverage in the Mail, Dacre is, to most neoliberals, a tepid and inconsistent supporter of free enterprise. Nor is he a neocon. The Mail opposed overseas military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has denounced Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition and torture. It may be hard on immigrants and benefit scroungers, but it is often equally hard on the rich and famous, pursuing overpaid bosses of public-service utilities to their luxurious homes, exposing “depravity” among the well-heeled and high-born, and rarely treating TV and film celebrities with the deference that is the staple fare of other tabloids. Many Mail campaigns have centred on liberal or environmental causes: lead in petrol, plastic bags, secret justice, the extradition to the United States of the hacker Gary McKinnon, and so on. For a time, the Mail furiously campaigned to stop Labour deporting failed (black) asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe, even though, almost simultaneously, it was berating ministers for allowing too many illegal immigrants to stay. Other campaigns, such as those against internet porn and super-casinos (both of which influenced government action), though reflecting the Mail’s conservative social agenda, highlighted issues that concern many on the left. Dacre’s most celebrated campaign, which even some of his enemies regard as his finest hour, was to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice. In 1997, over the five photographs of those he believed were responsible, he ran the headline “MURDERERS” and, beneath it, asserted: “The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us”. It was hugely courageous, but did it exonerate the Mail from accusations of racism? Critics point out that the paper rarely features black people except as criminals, though this is not exceptional for the nationals. The “soft” features on women, fashion, style and health are illustrated almost entirely by white faces and bodies.
Dacre’s somewhat belated support for the Lawrence campaign was prompted by a personal connection: Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, had worked as a decorator on Dacre’s London house of the time, in Islington. The Mail’s campaign, critics argue, was based on substituting one frame of prejudice for another. Young Stephen eschewed gangs and drugs, did his homework and wanted to go to university. His parents were married, aspirational and home-owning. In everything except skin colour, the Lawrence family represented Middle England, while his white alleged killers were low-class yobs who threatened the safety of all respectable folk. In that, as in much else, Dacre’s Mail recalls 1950s Britain, which rather patronisingly welcomed migrants from Asia and the Caribbean as long as they behaved as though they and their ancestors were English. “If you’re in twinset and pearls, your colour is irrelevant,” says a former Mail journalist. “And Dacre’s attitude to gays changed when he realised it’s possible to be an extremely boring gay person.” The Mail’s attitudes to drugs are also redolent of the 1950s. Writing about the disgraced Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers, Stephen Glover – the Mail columnist whose views, according to insiders, track Dacre’s most closely – criticised commentators who “concentrated on his financial unsuitability”, placing “relatively little emphasis” on his “moral turpitude”. Most of all, the Mail seems determined to uphold the 1950s ideal of womanhood: the stay-at-home mother who dedicates herself to homemaking and prepares a cooked dinner for her husband on his return home every night. That, the paper’s defenders say, is something of a caricature of the Mail’s position. It objects not so much to working mothers as to middle-class feminists who insist that women can “have it all”. English aimed at turning the Mail into “the women’s paper”, and succeeded: it became the only national newspaper where women accounted for more than half the readership. That remains true, and yet Dacre sometimes seems determined to drive them away. The paper subjects women’s bodies, clothes and deportment to relentless and detailed scrutiny, and often finds them wanting, particularly in the thigh and bottom department. It gives prominent coverage to research that warns of the negative effects of working mothers on children’s lives. The Mail’s poster girl is Liz Jones, the columnist and fashion editor celebrated for her self-hatred and misery. “She has so much,” says another Mail journalist, “lots of money, expensive houses, the newest clothes. But she’s never had a child, she hasn’t kept hold of a man, and she’s unhappy. The message is: it’s what happens to you, girls, if you pursue worldly success. You can succeed but, oh boy, you will suffer for it.” The Mail’s punishing hours, requiring news and features executives to stay at the office until late into the evening (not uncommon in national newspapers), and its largely unsympathetic attitude to part-time employment make it an unfriendly environment for working mothers. When Dacre took over at the Mail, he immediately appointed a female deputy, which, said another woman who then had a senior role in the group, “was quite a statement”. But the paper now has few women in its most senior positions, other than the editor of Femail (though sometimes even that post is occupied by a man), and few staff have young children. Yet in some respects, the Mail, even though it does not recognise the National Union of Journalists, is a good employer. Unlike the Mirror, it is not under a company ruled by accountants who single-mindedly seek “efficiencies”. Unlike the Times and the Sun, it does not have a proprietor who touts his papers’ support to the highest bidder. Unlike the Guardian and Independent, it is not beset by financial problems. The proprietor, Viscount (Jonathan) Rothermere, whose great-grandfather Harold Harmsworth founded the paper with his brother Alfred in 1896, allows his editors wide freedom, as did his father, Vere Rothermere, who appointed Dacre. The Mail, alone among national newspapers, has had no significant rounds of editorial redundancies in recent years and its staffing levels (it employs about 400 journalists) are comparable to what they were a decade ago. Dacre’s paper is his sole domain; MailOnline is run separately (though Dacre, as editor-in-chief, has oversight) and although the website carries all daily and Sunday paper stories, much of its content is self-generated and the editorial flavour is distinct. Dacre demands, and mostly gets, a generous budget, paying high salaries for established editorial staff and columnists and high fees for freelance contributors. Journalists are driven hard but, at senior levels in particular, they rarely leave, not least because Dacre is as loyal to them as they mostly are to him. Outright sackings are rare and nearly always accompanied by large payoffs. Those who do leave often reach the top elsewhere. The current editors of both Telegraph papers – Tony Gallagher at the daily and Ian MacGregor at the Sunday – are former Mail executives. Despite more than two decades at the helm, Dacre shows few signs of slowing down. After heart trouble some years ago – which caused an absence of several months from the office – his holidays, which he usually takes in the British Virgin Islands, have become slightly longer and more frequent. But he still routinely puts in 14-hour days. Nevertheless, speculation about his future has grown among journalists on the Mail and other papers. At the end of November, Dacre sold his last remaining shares in the Daily Mail and General Trust, the Mail’s parent company, for £347,564; he disposed of the majority in 2012. His latest contract, signed on his 65th birthday, is for one year only. Geordie Greig, the 53-year-old editor of the Mail on Sunday, is widely regarded as the most likely successor, though Martin Clarke, the abrasive publisher of the phenomenally successful MailOnline, now the most visited newspaper website in the world, is also tipped and Jon Steafel, Dacre’s deputy, is favoured by most staff. The surprising announcement in November that Richard Kay, the paper’s diarist and a long-standing friend of Dacre’s, is to leave his position looks like another straw in the wind, particularly given that his almost certain replacement is Sebastian Shakespeare, previously the diary editor at the London Evening Standard, where Greig was editor before he moved to the Mail on Sunday. Fleet Street rumour has it that Kay is being moved because he upset friends of Lady Rothermere, the proprietor’s wife, and that she is also behind the abrupt departure of the columnist Melanie Phillips, apparently on the grounds that her style – particularly during a June appearance on BBC1’s Question Time – is too shrill. Lady Rothermere, it is said, is desperately keen to oust Dacre in favour of Greig. Senior Mail sources pooh-pooh such tales, but they stop short of outright denials that Dacre is nearing the end of his days on the paper.
My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.
This is my third list for this sub. I hope you enjoy it. ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS. The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars. The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers. The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that. Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor. The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years. The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada. I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis. The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python. The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner. The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right? The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list. Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art. Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing. The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down. Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about. Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher. Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques. Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft. Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously. Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice). Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever. CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD. American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category). At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though. Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up. Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel. Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth. Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book. Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States. Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up. El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess. Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book. Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection. The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most. Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing. The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down. Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son. Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling. McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow). Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography. Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story. Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection. Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them. News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event. The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches. No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story. Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar. The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country. The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty?He’s in the car. Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale. Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book. Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you?Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning. Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America. CONMEN, IMPOSTORS. The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that. Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund). Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened. Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course). Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out. Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that. The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to. The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit. The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at. Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more. Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too). A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief. Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being. Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack). A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history. The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too. HACKERS. The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy. Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system. Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI. The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017. MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS. Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money. The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian. The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful.Guard: People kept robbing it.Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance. Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island. The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure. To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige. POLITICAL CRIMES Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash). The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject. Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball. The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House). A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination). The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations. The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book. The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down. ROBBERIES, HEISTS. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief. Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book. Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact. Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic. The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery. Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How hard is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think. Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane). A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York. Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?) The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief. WHITE COLLAR CRIMES. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year. Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels. Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi schemes in the 1920s Chicago. The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon). Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too. Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read. Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book. The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop. OTHER. American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy. Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book. Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page. Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those. The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor. The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye. Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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