• The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless

  • A Novel Based on a True Story
  • By: Matt Bondurant
  • Narrated by: Erik Steele
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (477 ratings)

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The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless  By  cover art

The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless

By: Matt Bondurant
Narrated by: Erik Steele
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Publisher's Summary

Now a Major Motion Picture, Lawless, starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf.

Based on the true story of his grandfather and two granduncles, Matt Bondurant's novel is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder.

The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County during Prohibition and after. The brothers played a central role in a major conspiracy trial and its violent end. In 1935, Sherwood Anderson, working on a magazine story, finds himself driving along the dusty red roads trying to find the brothers and break the silence that shrouds Franklin County.

In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men - their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires - to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.

©2008 Matt Bondurant (P)2008 BBC Audio

Critic Reviews

"Bondurant endows this gritty story with all the puzzle-solving satisfactions of a mystery. It's a gripping, relentless tale, delivered in no-nonsense prose." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just outstanding!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd recommend The Wettest County to anyone. It will appeal to history buffs, people who like mystery and intrigue, and it has its tense, suspenseful, heart-stopping moments as well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Though a semi-minor character my favorite is Howard Bondurant. The reason? It is clear he is a tortured soul, but the author never really elaborates in detail the reasons why. Interestingly, though clearly very troubled, Howard exudes a level of morality that is truly striking considering his chosen profession.

What does Erik Steele bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His cadence and delivery are very strong - it is obvious why he does what he does. What he brought to this story was a wide variety of accents and drawls common to the region and era making the listen truly authentic. Plus, in the few spots where he performs female dialogue he doesn't try to sound like a woman. I really hate it when narrators attempt this. Erik is top notch in the Wettest County.

Who was the most memorable character of The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless and why?

Clearly it is Forrest... Can people, like they say with cats, have 9 lives?

Any additional comments?

The name of this very solid novel is "The Wettest County in the World", period. Just because it has been adapted to a screen play and the forthcoming movie is called "Lawless" let's not be disrespectful and confuse the issue. Do legitimate readers of literature refer to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" as Blade Runner? Audible... have some class.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • RH
  • 08-07-10

EXCELLENT!

I literally (no pun intended) went back to the beginning of the book the instant I finished it, to "read" it again, and am enjoying it just as much the second time around. There's much more here than just bootlegging--the time it takes place in itself; illness, culture, the Great Depression, farm life in general. It's a real history lesson. Bootlegging was not just a pasttime, but a career. The brutality that went on amazes me. From beginning to end, I was glued.

5 people found this helpful

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

I bet the movie will be better

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No.

Would you recommend The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless to your friends? Why or why not?

I would probably recommend waiting for the movie. I found a lot to like about the audiobook but nothing that would make me say to a friend, "You've got to hear this one."

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where Forrest got his throat cut and survived.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, but it was very interesting to hear how white lightning affected the men who drank it.

Any additional comments?

After hearing the book, I am really looking forward to the movie.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

great story

loved the movie so I decided to listen to the book and was not disappointed. similar enough to the movie but original enough to not get bored and still wonder what was going to happen.

3 people found this helpful

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

Extraordinary Story & Family Lore

After watching the movie I wanted to know more about the family. Glad I did! This delves much deeper into the history and includes the extended family that isn't apart of the movie.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • KP
  • 02-07-10

A Little-Written-About Topic

Kudos to the author for writing about the moonshine "industry" in Franklin County VA. I think this would be especially enjoyable to those who are from the area. Wasn't really a fan of how the story was set up (personally thought Sherwood Anderson could have been left out of it entirely) and it dragged on a bit in parts but overall an interesting story and good narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

For Once

Would you listen to The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless again? Why?

A movie that was better than the book. The screen adaptation was an easier version to follow and enriched the characters far better than the book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

So-So

What would have made The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless better?

Hard to follow along at times as the author "jumped around" in time from Chapter to Chapter. Listening on the road was distracting trying to keep a timeline of the story.

Has The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Wettest County

I watched the movie lawless and I was completely mesmerized. The book gave so many more details and it was clearly read and a great voice. I’m pretty sad I’m done with it

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A tale worth telling.

If you could sum up The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless in three words, what would they be?

The reader does a remarkable job telling this brutal tale. I was pulled back to that time and felt as if I was viewing the poverty, the greed, and the tragedy first hand. Well worth taking the time to read/listen to.

1 person found this helpful