• Smells Like Dead Elephants

  • Dispatches from a Rotting Empire
  • By: Matt Taibbi
  • Narrated by: Peter Johnson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (317 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Smells Like Dead Elephants is a brilliant collection from Matt Taibbi, "a political reporter with the gonzo spirit that made Hunter S. Thompson and P. J. O'Rourke so much fun" (The Washington Post).

Bringing together Taibbi's most incisive and hilarious work from his "Road Work" column in Rolling Stone, Smells Like Dead Elephants shines an unflinching spotlight on the corruption, dishonesty, and sheer laziness of our leaders.

Taibbi has plenty to say about George W. Bush, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, and all the rest, but he doesn't just hit inside the Beltway. He gets involved in the action, infiltrating Senator Conrad Burns' birthday party under disguise as a lobbyist for a fictional oil firm that wants to drill in the Grand Canyon. He floats into apocalyptic post-Katrina New Orleans in a dinghy with Sean Penn. He goes to Iraq as an embedded reporter, where he witnesses the mind-boggling dysfunction of our occupation and spends three nights in Abu Ghraib prison. And he reports from two of the most bizarre and telling trials in recent memory: California v. Michael Jackson and the evolution-versus-intelligent-design trial in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Equally funny and shocking, this is excellent work from one of our most entertaining writers.

©2007 Matt Taibbi. Excerpt from “The End of the World,” from Collected Poems, 1917–1982 by Archibald MacLeish. Copyright 1985 by the Estate of Archibald MacLeish. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Smells Like Dead Elephants

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Story decent but narration too fast

Given the topic of the story (political buffoonery by out esteemed electorate), the narrator is reading way too fast. Need to slow down to I can digest the irony in the story. I've read (listened) to many other Taibi books, so imagine if you're not familiar with this author. You'd be lost by chapter 2.

4 people found this helpful

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Not the right reader for this book

Matt Taibbi is a fantastic writer and I enjoy reading his work, but this reader did not bring life to this book. The essays were funny, colorful and detailed. I abandoned the audiobook to finish in print. That is the first time I've done that. The right reader can add to the book, but in this case, detracts.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Needs a different reader

What would have made Smells Like Dead Elephants better?

Matt Taibbi's writing is brilliant but this reader does not do it justice. He reads too fast and without appropriate inflection. I almost returned the book after the first few chapters, but he does get a little better later on or perhaps I just got used to it. Still, I call this performance "disappointing".

2 people found this helpful

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laughed and cried

great book. i alternated laughing at Taibbi's great writing and crying over the state of US institutions.

2 people found this helpful

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Very Informative!

If you want to understand more about how our government cane to be disfuntional, you should read this book!!

1 person found this helpful

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Takes a long time to get to a point

Taibbi's books are focused on shining a light on an injustice, but this book lacks focus and the beam scatters as the narrative touches on disjoint and (at best) loosely connected aspects. Unlike his more recent books here is a discussion of culture and politics, rather than just politics, and while the two are intertwined, the focus seems off. Broadly this is because it is the culture of the people vs the politics of the governing, and although there is a point to be mad, I am not sure that Taibbi ever gets there, leaving behind a sensation like Jon Ronson's: interesting but what is your point?; and unlike Ronson where the point is the absurdity, here one wonders which aspects of the absurd world we should focus on.

Overall this title is not up to the standard of his later books, in that it deals with a deeper issue, which really is a positive, but also has not arrived at the anger that makes the more superficial works more illustrated or animated. This in turn means the title is less engaging, although really it tries for more contemplation from the audience.

1 person found this helpful

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A MUST READ FOR EVERY AMERICAN

A sobering picture of the so called American democracy. We can delude our self's all we want, but we do not live in a democracy. Everything is for sale to the highest biter and '' Fuck the poor '' is our national philosophy. I hope that people will read this book and be at least informed, about what's going on in America today.

1 person found this helpful

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Great synopses of our leadership woes during the Bush era.

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio book, shined a light - and brought closure to, many issues that I was not quite familiar with during the Bush years.

1 person found this helpful

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Narration is not great.

Story is good. But the narration is not great. The pacing is WAY too fast. It’s kinda hard to process what is being said and absorb the story due to this. No emotion in the reading either. Kind of almost like listening to an old school news anchor reading the news, just really fast.
Wish I could get my credit back.

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Destroyed by narrator

I’ve enjoyed Taibbi’s writing for years.
While i think this would be kind of boring at times anyway, I couldn’t tell you because of the awful narration. The narrator reads as though there is a gun to his head. His poor emphasis plows over every punch line. I had to slow the book down but it didn’t help.