Good: Should be required reading in high school. You will say “wow” at least a few times, and for reasons that are not good. (On second thought, perhaps too many of the high-schoolers would say “sign me up for that gravy train!”)

Bad: An org chart and a timeline would be helpful – it skips around a bit and it gets a little confusing as to which crook and which scam is which. They could devote an inch or two on who isn’t up to their necks in it so we can have a little optimism (Gov. Kean comes through fairly unscathed, though).

Ugly: So much material is touched upon, it could be the genesis of a seven-volume set.

Since starting this blog (it has been almost a year already), I have learned a fair bit about our county, our state and our town. This book helps fill in a lot of the background, especially on the state level on why this state is so dysfunctional and how so much money is simply wasted.

And why both of the mainstream parties are practically the same. The book pulls no punches on Whitman, DiFrancesco and other R’s, and they deserve it.

One consequence of the book: it will make you lose hope. The picture it paints is of a state in a death spiral, with no one with the foresight to take their feet off of the throats of the taxpayers for long enough to let the us catch our collective breath. The book makes US Attorney Chris Christie the knight in shining armor, and while he has had an impressive record, he and his team is only scratching the surface. There is simply too much work to be done.

Another unexpected consequence of this book: I lost some respect for David Chase, creator of the HBO Sopranos. After reading this trove of material, you can see how his “ground-breaking and refreshingly creative” series basically wrote itself.

The book is definitely worth the read…and with so many shady things going on, they could probably do bi-annual updated editions.

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