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Download The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America's Most Powerful Trial Lawyer Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of Americas Most Powerful Trial Lawyer Audiobook, by Curtis Wilkie Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.43 out of 53.43 out of 53.43 out of 53.43 out of 53.43 out of 5 3.43 (21 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Curtis Wilkie Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781400189953
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The Fall of the House of Zeus tells the story of Dickie Scruggs, arguably the most successful plaintiff's lawyer in America. A brother-in-law of Trent Lott, the former U.S. Senate majority leader, Scruggs made a fortune taking on mass tort lawsuits against "Big Tobacco" and the asbestos industries. He was hailed by Newsweek as a latter-day Robin Hood and portrayed in the movie The Insider as a dapper aviator-lawyer. Scruggs's legal triumphs rewarded him lavishly, and his success emboldened both his career maneuvering and his influence in Southern politics-but at a terrible cost, culminating in his spectacular fall, when he was convicted for conspiring to bribe a Mississippi state judge. Here Mississippi is emblematic of the modern South, with its influx of new money and its rising professional class, including lawyers such as Scruggs, whose interests became inextricably entwined with state and national politics. Based on extensive interviews, transcripts, and FBI recordings never made public, The Fall of the House of Zeus exposes the dark side of Southern and Washington legal games and power politics: the swirl of fixed cases, blocked investigations, judicial tampering, and a zealous prosecution that would eventually ensnare not only Scruggs but his son, Zach, in the midst of their struggle with insurance companies over Hurricane Katrina damages. In gripping detail, author Curtis Wilkie crafts an authentic legal thriller propelled by a "welter of betrayals and personal hatreds," providing large supporting parts for Trent Lott and Jim Biden, brother of then-senator Joe, and cameos by John McCain, Al Gore, and other D.C. insiders and influence peddlers. Above all, we get to see how and why the mighty fail and fall, a story as gripping and timeless as a Greek tragedy. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • "The Fall of the House of Zeus is a riveting American saga of ambition, cunning, greed, corruption, high life and low life in the land of Faulkner and Grisham. These are good ol’ boys gone bad with flair, private jets, and lots of cash to carry. Curtis Wilkie, a child of the South and a reporter’s reporter, is the perfect match for this wild ride.”

    Tom Brokaw

  • A remarkable illustration of how far the mighty can fall. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • “Reads like a John Grisham novel…An epic tale of backbiting, shady deal-making and greed…Masterful.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Riveting…a remarkable illustration of how far the mighty can fall.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Miller | 2/15/2014

    " Well done account by an author intimately familiar with all of the players and life in upper crust Mississippi. As an honest lawyer and knowing many many other hard working, honest and dedicated lawyers it was good to see these elitist, privileged lawyers go to jail. Their money came from a corrupt political system that they further corrupted and the corruption was both democrat and republican, conservative and liberal. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 2/14/2014

    " Great topic. Poorly written. On topic alone, this should have been much better. Perhaps I received the first draft... as that's how it felt to read. Wilkie should blame his editor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 2/10/2014

    " Good book. Not sure people outside of Mississippi (or people that are interested in the Bidens. Or politics, I guess. Or law.) would be very interested in it, though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 2/3/2014

    " The book had too much detail too keep me interested. I gave up about halfway through. I'd prefer a magazine article about this story to entire book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amelia | 2/1/2014

    " This was complicated but totally engrossing, particularly if one enjoys legal and political intrigue. This probably deserves five stars but from time to time I longed for more thorough characterization of the main figures, I wanted physical descriptions and a more three-dimensional feel of who these guys were. Overall, though, I plowed through this and could hardly put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 1/30/2014

    " Will definitely open your eyes to world of law and politics. I can only hope the whole system is not this corrupt! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 George | 1/30/2014

    " I couldn't finish this book. His 5 to 6 words per sentence, which also made it a per paragraph drove me to abandon ship. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deana Pittman | 1/13/2014

    " I really liked the story in the book....I just got bogged down in the details and the political terminology. Sometimes the characters were a little difficult to remember. I really had no idea that some of those people had such strong ties to Mississippi! I guess I really need to pay more attention to what is going on in my own state and around me, huh? I loved that it was about places familiar and near to me! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica Keen | 1/13/2014

    " Couldn't finish it. Very interesting, but too much legal jargon for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Don Thomson | 1/11/2014

    " Too much detail but overall an interesting read. Watched "The Insider" movie again for more perspective on the lawsuit with Big Tobacco. Gave insight to the lifstyles, privileges and attitudes of the Mississippi wealthy class. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jamie | 1/7/2014

    " I couldn't finish it, made me sick to think people behave like that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerome | 1/5/2014

    " A lot of names to keep track of, a lot going on to keep straight, but a very interesting page in the life of Mississippi politics and law. Makes me glad I live in Missouri. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 12/11/2013

    " Excellent book by a superb journalist--writer in residence at Ole Miss with a lot of inside contacts.Many must be within Scruggs family.Tells the tale of an epic Mississippi scandal.Quick read guaranteed to please.dr. Feelgood "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad | 12/9/2013

    " what you suspected about our political and justice systems, but hoped to be kept in the dark about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hmhouston | 11/1/2013

    " This is a well-researched account of the fall of Scruggs...a must read for anyone with an interest in the Mississippi legal community and/or Southern politics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clara Lee Arnold | 9/28/2012

    " I enjoyed the book for the information it gave me.... I just happened to have found the information terribly disturbing. So much money and power held by so few. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Sachar | 7/30/2012

    " The sad but true story of politics, hatred and corruption in Mississippi. The author pieces together the story despite lawsuits and prosecutions that would seem to make information hard to obtain. Well worth the read. A must read for southern lawyer types. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Cooney | 6/5/2012

    " Loved this book...like a real life thriller. Great narrative/fact balance. Interesting to see people go after someone just because they are greedy "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachelle | 6/8/2011

    " Interesting. Didn't grab me. Mum liked it though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 1/31/2011

    " Very dry, too many facts and not enough story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 1/23/2011

    " There were so many characters in this book that it required a constant review each time I turned a page or two. Yet, it was riveting to see how successful people will sacrifice everything to get more, and how upstanding they seem while they are about it all. How sad! "

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About the Author

Curtis Wilkie has been a staff writer for The Boston Globe since 1975. Now based in New Orleans, Wilkie covers the South and national politics for the Globe. He has written for George, the Nation, the New Republic, the New York Times Book Review, Playboy, and other publications.

About the Narrator

Sean Runnette, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, has also directed and produced more than two hundred audiobooks, including several Audie Award winners. He is a member of the American Repertory Theater company and has toured the United States and internationally with ART and Mabou Mines. His television and film appearances include Two If by Sea, Cop Land, Sex and the City, Law & Order, the award-winning film Easter, and numerous commercials.