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|Greg plitt||Nobody goes into the arms business for altruistic purposes. I was pretty excited to read this book after hearing the author describe the story. The hapless end-users were foreigners, and who was going to go the extra mile for them? Publication date. Plus Created with Sketch.|
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An informative and entertaining eye-opener for folks interested in the all-too-often, sordid shallow end of defense procurement or government contracting during the modern era of outsourcing. Caveats and disclaimers. I read the original, long form, Rolling Stone piece years ago. When the movie came out - with two, legitimate, big-screen actors - I saw it and, frankly, found it surprisingly entertaining and compelling, even if it took more than its fair share of liberties.
Finally getting around to reading the book, therefore, proved to be a little of a letdown, since to me the story was familiar, and the increased length merely permitted me to identify irritants and critiques. But, I'm guessing, for most readers, that shouldn't be the case. Final note: I'm a big fan of endings and conclusions, and I place disproportionate stock in them.
Forgive me, for I am weak. I thought that the epilogue was nicely done, and it would be a mistake to give up on the book without reading the closing passages. Aug 11, Lanika rated it really liked it Shelves: pov-changers , in-my-possession , non-fiction , god-tier-nonfiction-investigative. Anyone already slightly disillusioned with government, bureaucracy or the military should not read this book for fear of death from exasperation.
The levels of inadequate and even deliberately vague and ineffective oversight are staggering. The dudes did break laws, but some of the laws were dumb, and all of them were selectively enforced. Efraim was a dick, and probably deserved prosecution, but not really for what he was actually indicted for. That two young dudes without a degree or military Anyone already slightly disillusioned with government, bureaucracy or the military should not read this book for fear of death from exasperation.
These dudes were definitely just the most obvious case to take the fall for the disorganisation, willful ignorance and corruption that went along with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Little to no changes have been made to the system since these indictments, and I'm sure that the US government is still using middlemen contractors like AEY to keep their hands clean from directly dealing with blacklisted gun runners and directly violating arbitrary embargoes in their efforts to quickly arm groups like the Kurds in the fight against Daesh ISIS.
Aug 22, Sydney Lewis rated it liked it Shelves: I rarely listen to audio books because I can barely pay attention to them BUT I did listen to this book and enjoyed it. I was stunned that the government posted contracts for items ranging from helmets to AKs on a website fbo. The first worst part of this book was that i I rarely listen to audio books because I can barely pay attention to them BUT I did listen to this book and enjoyed it.
The first worst part of this book was that it felt repetitive; there are many, many examples of the dudes' antics and dialogue to illustrate "WHOA these guys are crazy!!! The book is also pretty sexist, and while I think that some sexism was necessary to establish setting and characterization, there were some instances that were tangential and try-hard. Overall, it's probably fine to just wait for the movie and see that instead.
Mar 31, Brian Besaw rated it liked it. Dudes comes from the same vein as the works of one of my favorite authors, Ben Mezrich - true stories woven with the flair and dramatic intensity of a tale unconstrained by historical fact.
Three stars, more for the story than for Lawson's rendering. Three twenty-something dudes strike gold within the US government's ill-conceived military contract bid process. Despite a lack of experience, knowledge and funds they land key, lucrative contracts and suddenly bec6me major players in the internation Dudes comes from the same vein as the works of one of my favorite authors, Ben Mezrich - true stories woven with the flair and dramatic intensity of a tale unconstrained by historical fact.
Despite a lack of experience, knowledge and funds they land key, lucrative contracts and suddenly bec6me major players in the international arms market. You'll be amazed by the dudes' exploits and dismayed though likely not surprised at the government's bumbling mess of a procurement system.
So, the story sells itself. Unfortunately, Lawson lacks Mezrich's word craft. With clunky and unimaginative prose, what should be a riveting page-turner becomes a matter of fact recounting. A lot of fun but no magic.
View 1 comment. The fascinating subtext to this book is that while these guys were grifters and hustlers, they were essentially rowing a tiny boat amongst the larger streams and currents of global macro economic trends.
They were casualties in a cutthroat game being played between the US and Russia. The real crime here is not that a 20 something hustled the US government into accepting his munitions, the crime is that the US government essentially knew what was happening, and used a 20 something as a front man The fascinating subtext to this book is that while these guys were grifters and hustlers, they were essentially rowing a tiny boat amongst the larger streams and currents of global macro economic trends.
The real crime here is not that a 20 something hustled the US government into accepting his munitions, the crime is that the US government essentially knew what was happening, and used a 20 something as a front man to buy from sources and disreputable parties that they were legally prohibited from doing so. No one is really innocent here, and there are plenty of victims in the story none really deserve our sympathy.
Aug 17, Rob Murphy rated it it was ok. I was pretty excited to read this book after hearing the author describe the story. It seemed compelling, fantastic and, oddly, entertaining. How could three stoners from Florida become major international gun runners? It seemed too improbable to be true. The book had a great start but I found it lost steam very quickly.
The situations "the dudes" find themselves are straight out of a James Bond novel yet they eventually seemed repetitive. The ending was unsatisfying, too. Yes, this is an indict I was pretty excited to read this book after hearing the author describe the story.
Yes, this is an indictment of military spending and oversight gone horribly wrong but it isn't enough for a whole book. The Rolling Stone article that Lawson wrote probably said everything that needed to be said. Mar 31, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it.
Considering that the material was left-over crap in the hands of Albanian gangsters, what could possibly go wrong? Jul 07, Matt rated it it was ok. I had higher hopes for this book. The premise was compelling but it quickly turned into a slog. Nov 07, Brian rated it liked it. Fun to read, well written and informative, but you might as well just read the Rolling Stone article on which this book is based instead to save time.
This is actually a 3. There's not a lot to say beyond "this is a fun read. Diveroli is a psychopath, but he's mostly a buffoon. And Packouz is a lost kid in over his head. At the end of the day, they only get into trouble because the government - especially under Bush - was utterly incompetent and corrupt. Had they just been slightly more evil, they likely would've gotten away with everything - and Lawson makes clear that even their "crime" was small potatoes in the chaos of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Their only real mistake was not buying enough influence. The true bad guys here are the US government and the powerful corporations that suck on its teat well, and the shadowy cabal of international arms dealers who supply despots and NATO governments alike. Lawson isn't a great stylist, but he keeps the momentum moving and has a gift for distilling complicated information into layman's terms.
He's also blessed with a wonderful sense of humor - necessary for material this dark. He does good, solid reporting here. You'll blow through War Dogs in a few days; it's not the kind of book you sit with and savor. You'll walk away from it angry, bemused, and a little sad - but you'll be glad you read it. The world needs investigative reporting like this - now, more than ever. It took me awhile to finish this book because 1 I kept misplacing it and 2 the numerous government agencies and sub-agencies plus the minutiae about the weaponry and procurement process made for a dense read at times.
However, don't be put off by that; this is a fascinating tale of incompetence and ruthlessness at the hand of the American government that made it possible for a group of somethings to work as war contractors before being prosecuted for Guy Lawson did a spectacular job reporting on both the nitty-gritty details and putting the "official" story in larger context to show that there was so much more to know.
It also doesn't hurt that Efraim Diveroli feels like a Scarface-inspired character: indulgent and reckless, greedy and abusive, yet intelligent enough by his late teens to start his own business in the high-stakes arena of gun running and procurement. Diveroli's self-assuredness that he is always the smartest, most cunning one in the room serves as a cautionary tale, even though Diveroli's fate is not entirely his own fault.
Like his business partners David Packouz and Alex Podrizki, he got swept up by events beyond his reach. The film starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill doesn't delve deeply into these moral and legal quandries, opting instead to focus on the "tales about young people doing f--ked- up things," as Guy Lawson would describe his initial story that ran in Rolling Stone.
But it's worth scratching that surface and looking deeper, and the book does that well. While the film stays on that track, the book widens the scope of this tale significantly. Different interpretations of legal standards, plus differing personalities in different agencies all work against the expediency of getting materiel into the field.
Fascinating look into the hall of mirrors that is Beltway Banditry, international arms dealing, and the lurching machine of US military logistics for host-nation partners. Aug 16, Rick rated it it was ok. I was looking forward to reading this book but I was so disappointed by the mindnumbing tedium of the investigation portion that it wiped away any remaining enthusiasm. It's too bad because the moral ambiguity gave the story a richness that should have weathered the tsunami of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo - it didn't.
I hate to say it, but the writing was just too weak in the last half to sustain my interest. Thank you Goodreads for my copy of War Dogs. Loved the book from start to finish. The author handles complex financial dealings and explains them simply without dumbing down. This book points out the problems with the government procurement process.
If you think this book is a comedy based on Jonah Hill being in a movie adaptation, I can assure you it is much much more. True story which seems unbelievable! Fast paced but at times felt like tabloid journalism. Also makes you wonder were the Army procurement people really that dumb to be so easily conned by these stoner dudes?
But since its true God help us, if our government agencies are this corrupt and incompetent! All I can say is wow! The story does keep one engaged. Saw the movie and was so fascinated with the story told there that I wanted to learn more about the guys behind the movie but didn't want to read it since I basically knew the story so I listened to the audiobook. Enjoyed it. Good book written by journalist so a bit like reading the newspaper sometimes. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. It has been a while since I've finished a book I wanted to keep. It will be a little while longer before I do. I don't say this often, but I think I wasted my money. I saw the movie when it came out. It was good, not great but alright when you see everyone's performance.
It is the performances, and many embellishments, that make the movie work. I am not new to the notion that our government has a tendency to hide behind it's laws. That's the way it is from the top down. The author wants to dig in It has been a while since I've finished a book I wanted to keep. The author wants to dig in and exploit every shortcoming on the part of the government involving the deal. After the first hundred pages or so that's all he really talks about.
The movie attempted to flesh out the characters while the book keeps them rather one dimensional. Ephraim is mostly the same, but Jonah Hill gives the character a few balls. Miles Teller does a lot of heavy lifting and is what I mean when I blame the book for side stepping the dudes after the beginning. Many people have said that the original article would have been enough.
I agree. If you want to deep dive into the many details involving the legal system, enjoy the book. If you were hoping for a balance of research and narrative, stick to the movie. This book, if accurate, paints a damning portrayal of America's time in Afghanistan. It starts with the three "dudes" who were awarded the contract to provide guns and ammunition for the Afghan army, and talks about how they were arrested and convicted of fraud.
Then it spends the rest of the book talking about how they acted just like any other arms dealer and the army knew everything they were doing illegally for months before it came out in a NYTimes article. Then, when the public demanded an This book, if accurate, paints a damning portrayal of America's time in Afghanistan. Then, when the public demanded answers, the army turned on the three guys and tried to save face by having them arrested. The three guys who worked for AEY were just scapegoats and the army is the bad guy here.
It's an interesting book, and a bunch of interesting guys involved. Damning of both the army and law enforcement, which three times set up stings to convince people who weren't breaking any laws to break them and then arrested them despite them repeatedly saying they wouldn't do things because it would be against the law. The author is careful not to lay blame at Bush's feet, but really, his small business initiative is as much to blame as anything else. This was exactly what you might expect it to be an then some.
Corrupt, over-indulgent and totally unhinged. Basically the arms-dealing version Wolf of Wall Street. There weren't many surprises in terms of where the story went to be honest. Some young knuckleheads get a dream, a dream of unlimited wealth, and went after it wi "Once a gun-runner, always a gun-runner.
Some young knuckleheads get a dream, a dream of unlimited wealth, and went after it with no ifs, buts, or maybes. I think this story should be looked at as more of an insight into the military industrial complex, including how the US government was implicated.
Hard to use the word entertaining to describe this, seeing that it's literally a true story, but if you're into those power fantasy stories, this would be your thing. Sign In. War Dogs R R 1h 54m. Play trailer Biography Comedy Crime. Director Todd Phillips. Top credits Director Todd Phillips. See more at IMDbPro. Trailer Trailer 2. Official Trailer.
Clip A Guide to the Films of Todd Phillips. Simple As That. Interview J Smilovic. K Pollak. J Hill. Ade Armas. B Cooper. Photos Top cast Edit. Julian Sergi Rosen as Rosen. Daniel Berson Rabbi as Rabbi. Ana de Armas Iz as Iz. Patrick St. Jeremy Tardy Kip as Kip. Todd Phillips. More like this. Storyline Edit. In , David Packouz lives in Miami, Florida, working as a massage therapist and living with his girlfriend Iz. Desiring an additional source of income, David spends his life savings on high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets, planning to sell them to Miami retirement homes, but this venture fails to produce results.
At a funeral for a friend, David runs into his high school best friend Efraim Diveroli, who had moved to Los Angeles some years prior to work with his uncle selling guns. Efraim has left his uncle and formed his own company, AEY, which fills orders for arms placed by the US government due to the ongoing war in Iraq.
David's life takes another turn when his girlfriend informs him that she is pregnant. Efraim offers him a job at AEY, and even though David and Iz both vehemently oppose the war, David eventually agrees, telling his girlfriend that he has begun selling his cotton sheets to the US government through Efraim's contacts. An American dream.
Biography Comedy Crime Drama War. Rated R for language throughout, drug use and some sexual references. Did you know Edit. Goofs Even If re-packing the AK 7. Quotes Henry Girard : I'm not a bad man, but in certain situations, I have to ask myself: "What would a bad man do?