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Book details
  • SubGenre:Political Process / Political Advocacy
  • Language:English
  • Pages:440
  • eBook ISBN:9780977389889

The Perfect Villain

John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

by Gary S. Chafetz

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The Perfect Villain: John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff is an exhaustively researched exploration of the Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal, which had been portrayed by the Sen. McCain and the media as an open-and-shut case. The book comes to a controversial conclusion: Abramoff was essentially not guilty of the charges to which he pleaded guilty. The true villains were The Washington Post, Sen. McCain, and the US Department of Justice. This is the story of how a vengeful McCain destroyed a political enemy, a ruthless media created a sensational myth, and all-powerful prosecutors extracted guilty pleas from innocent, but terrified, white-collar defendants
Gary S. Chafetz, a Boston journalist, set out to chronicle the scandal involving the gun-for-hire and super-lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. Instead, he uncovered a Shakespearean tragedy of deceit, betrayal, and political vendetta, in which the true villains were 2008 Republican nominee for President, Sen. John McCain; The Washington Post newspaper; and the US Department of Justice--all of whom participated in the railroading of an essentially innocent man. (Abramoff's transgressions were minor.) Chafetz benefited from exclusive and unconditional secret access to Abramoff and to many never-before-released documents (Chafetz interviewed Abramoff--without the knowledge of the prosecutors with whom he was cooperating or his own lawyers--for two years, both before and during his imprisonment.) The blizzard of stories--Abramoff even graced the cover of Time Magazine--painted Abramoff as an implausibly greedy lobbyist who cheated Indian tribes, bribed politicians, and corrupted the political process--a fascinating tale, but, ultimately, untrue. The true story, that Chafetz recounts in The Perfect Villain, is an even more riveting and compelling story.
About the author
Gary S. Chafetz is a former correspondent for the Boston Globe. In 1991, he won the top prize in General News in New England for 1991. In 1992, he was named Best Print Investigative Reporter of the year by Boston Magazine. In 1993, Boston Magazine named him one of the ten best reporters of the past 25 years. He was nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize by The Boston Globe In 1994, Random House (Crown) published his non-fiction book, Obsession: The Bizarre Relationship Between a Prominent Harvard Psychiatrist and her Suicidal Patient. From September 1983 to February 1984, he organized and led a six-month, $250,000 archaeological expedition--sponsored by Harvard University and the National Geographic Society--in which he searched for the Lost Army of Cambyses in the Great Sand Sea of the Western Desert on the Egyptian-Libyan border. The expedition included 20 Egyptian geologists, drivers, and laborers; a two-person Harvard Film Studies documentary film crew; a National Geographic photographer; subsurface-interface radar; three camels; and an ultra-light aircraft. The story of his expedition was optioned by film director Martin Scorcese and Disney for four years. In 1978, Chafetz won the $3,500 prize for fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. His latest book, The Morphine Dream, co-authored with Donald L. Brown, will be published in the spring of 2011 by Bettie Youngs Books.