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Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Unabridged — 15 hours, 28 minutes

Patrick Radden Keefe

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From the prize-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Pain and Say Nothing-and one of the most decorated journalists of our time-twelve enthralling stories of skulduggery and intrigue

“I read everything he writes. Every time he writes a book, I read it. Every time he writes an article, I read it ¿ he's a national treasure.” -Rachel Maddow
“Patrick Radden Keefe is a brilliant writer, and each of these pieces reminds you that this world and the people in it are more interesting, complicated and moving than you had allowed yourself to imagine. ROGUES is a marvel, showcasing the work of a reporter at the absolute top of his game.” -Daniel Alarcón, author of The King is Always Above the People

Patrick Radden Keefe has garnered prizes ranging from the National Magazine Award to the Orwell Prize to the National Book Critics Circle Award for his meticulously-reported, hypnotically-engaging work on the many ways people behave badly. Rogues brings together a dozen of his most celebrated articles from The New Yorker. As Keefe says in his preface “They reflect on some of my abiding preoccupations: crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, the power of denial.”
Keefe brilliantly explores the intricacies of forging $150,000 vintage wines, examines whether a whistleblower who dared to expose money laundering at a Swiss bank is a hero or a fabulist, spends time in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain, chronicles the quest to bring down a cheerful international black market arms merchant, and profiles a passionate death penalty attorney who represents the “worst of the worst,” among other bravura works of literary journalism.
The appearance of his byline in The New Yorker is always an event, and collected here for the first time readers can see his work forms an always enthralling but deeply human portrait of criminals and rascals, as well as those who stand up against them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 04/04/2022

The 12 essays in this superlative collection from New Yorker staff writer Keefe (Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty) reflect, as he says in his preface, his abiding preoccupations: “crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, the power of denial.” “The Jefferson Bottles” chronicles how the sale of bottles of wine that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson, for hundreds of thousands of dollars, resulted in a lifelong crusade against wine fraud by billionaire Bill Koch. “Crime Family” charts the daily life in hiding of Astrid Holleeder, a Dutch woman who brought down her own crime family by testifying against her brother. “A Loaded Gun” explores why neurobiologist Amy Bishop shot and killed three colleagues at the University of Alabama decades after she was suspected of killing her own brother. “Winning” takes a look at the rise of Donald Trump from the point of view of Mark Burnett, creator of The Apprentice, and in “Journeyman,” chef Anthony Bourdain, more rebel than rogue, muses on dining with Barack Obama. Every one of these selections is a journalistic gem. Immensely enjoyable writing married with fascinating subjects makes this a must-read. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (June)

From the Publisher

A new book by Keefe means drop everything and close the blinds; you’ll be turning pages for hours. “Rogues” is a collection of Keefe’s New Yorker articles about criminals and con artists and more. It’s highly entertaining, of course, but what shines through most brightly is Keefe’s fascination with what makes us human even when we’re at our most imperfect.” 
Los Angeles Times

Library Journal


Keefe (Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty) collects 12 of his New Yorker pieces: thematically (albeit loosely) related examinations of people who live on (or outside of) the edge of the law. What follows is a combination of investigative journalism and personality profiles that often take the author on a globetrotting adventure—complicated stories that have room to breathe in the long-form format. Whether Keefe is exploring the wine fraud that plagues the world of the one percent or digging into a university shooter's past, he shows remarkable skill in explaining complicated schemes and a dogged determination to track down leads. He emphasizes the importance of fact-checking, and he documents his attempts to get as close as possible to his subjects. While El Chapo was not sitting down for interviews, the author does hop on the back of Anthony Bourdain's scooter for a tour of Hanoi. (Yes, the inclusion of the Bourdain profile does seem to stretch the book's premise.) The original essays are unaltered, but Keefe provides updates at the end of each one. VERDICT A strong collection of essays of most interest to true crime readers, but also on display is a model of journalistic credibility.—Terry Bosky

Kirkus Reviews

In these days of disposable tweets, fake news, and celebrity insta-pundits, there is still a place for long-form journalism, as this sharp collection of essays from award-winning writer Keefe shows.

Keefe, a Kirkus Prize finalist for Say Nothing, is one of our most diligent investigators and skilled journalists. In this gathering of his New Yorker articles, the author covers subjects ranging from the counterfeit wine business to Swiss banking to the illegal arms trade. Each piece revolves around a particular person, often a nefarious character—e.g., El Chapo, Dutch gangster Wim Holleeder, and Amy Bishop, a university academic who, after being denied tenure, shot and killed several colleagues. Elsewhere, Keefe profiles a lawyer who specializes in defending serial killers and mass murderers, and Mark Burnett, who created junky but addictive TV shows like Survivor and The Apprentice. In some cases, the author interviewed his subjects; in others, he had to piece the story together from the opinions of other people and public records, a challenge Keefe seems to enjoy. He is aware that examining the background of a criminal can make them seem unduly sympathetic, even like victims themselves. He does his best to stay on the right side of the line, noting that El Chapo, while slightly comical in his liking for Viagra and gourmet food, was responsible for countless murders. Keefe effectively shows how we can seek to understand why people commit evil acts without absolving them. Some of these articles are more successful than others in finding the core of their subject. For example, Keefe clearly respects celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, and he colorfully chronicles his explorations of Hanoi’s hawker stalls. So the fact that Bourdain committed suicide in 2018, mentioned only in a coda, comes as a shock. Nevertheless, there is plenty to like in this book, and as always, Keefe writes with flair, color, and care.

Thought-provoking examinations of human motivation, choices, follies, and morality.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176162998
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 06/28/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews