Tangled Webs:How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff, by James B. Stewart, part 1

Tangled Webs by James B. Stewart: Book CoverRating so far 4/5, current events, 441 pages

When I was offered the chance to read this book for the TLC book tour I jumped at the chance.  I follow the news fairly voraciously (at least I did before Gage was born) and I was interested in the four stories this book covers: Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Barry Bonds, Bernie Madoff.  I knew the most about Libby and Madoff.  I am embarrassed to say that I am only halfway through the book, so I will write about the first two cases today and you can come back on Friday for the last two and my final thoughts.

To lie, or not to lie, that is the question.  In my humble opinion, which is also the law of the land, it is illegal to lie to the police or government officials.  Stewart, a Pulitzer Prize winner, argues that these high-profile cases show how morally corrupt we’ve become.  In so many instances the lying and cover-up is so much worse than the crime.

Martha Stewart was and is a successful businesswoman.  She was and is a woman who lied and to presecutors and got an assistant to erase an incriminating email.  She was first investigated for insider trading, but they couldn’t prove that.  Had she not lied she never would have gone to prison, end of story.  I am not a Martha fan, don’t watch her show or read her books or magazines, but I have purchased her products and liked them very much.  Only now I’d think twice.  Not only is she not a very nice person, but to maintain that you are innocent against clear facts otherwise is insulting to my intelligence.

The Scooter Libby case is one that I was the most familiar with and so I was surprised that of all the myriad of people involved in this story he was the one I felt the most sympathy for, maybe because he got thrown to the wolves.  The case stemmed from a Novak article that gave the name of a CIA agent (Valerie Plame).  This is illegal.  He had two sources who in the course of the investigation outed themselves, Richard Armitage and Karl Rove.  They broke the law.  What happened to them?  Nothing.  President Bush said he would fire anyone who leaked information and even when Karl Rove admitted he was one of the leakers, President Bush kept him in the White House.  I remember being disgusted by it at the time and still am.  So, if these were the main culprits why did Libby get in trouble?  Because he lied to investigators.  Or at the very least has a very, very bad memory which is hard to believe of someone of his success.  The rule breakers got away with it, but the liar did not.

I have taken two main points from the first half of the book.  This book is for detail oriented readers and will appeal to them best.  There are lots of details and they sometimes repeat themselves a few times in a few different recollections. The second and most sad for me is that people don’t seem to be swayed by the truth.  Do they like the fact that you bake a pretty cake on tv?  Then you are being railroaded.   Are you a Republican or Democrat?  Because whatever I’m not is wrong 100% of the time.  Both of these drive me crazy.  You are allowed to still like a person if they broke the law, but please don’t make excuses for them.

Part 2 reviewed here.

This book was sent to by the publisher for this book tour.

James’ Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 11th: Take Me Away

Thursday, May 12th: Laura’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 17th: Power and Control

Tuesday, May 17th: Marathon Pundit

Wednesday, May 18th: Man of La Book

Wednesday, May 25th: Stacy’s Books

Wednesday, June 1st: Bibliophiliac

Monday, June 13th: Lisa Graas

Tuesday, June 14th: Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms

Wednesday, June 15th: Deep Muck Big Rake