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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 America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer, by Curtis Wilkie Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (276 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Curtis Wilkie Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 United States 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’ 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 DC 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.

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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

  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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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.