Tangled Webs by James B. Stewart


8 Critic Reviews

Stewart has a prosecutor’s ability to reconstruct dizzyingly complicated stories about who said what to whom and to organize them as intelligible narratives.
-NY Times


Bestselling author James B. Stewart's newsbreaking investigation of our era's most high-profile perjurers, revealing the alarming extent of this national epidemic.

Our system of justice rests on a simple proposition: that witnesses will raise their hands and tell the truth. In Tangled Webs, James B. Stewart reveals in vivid detail the consequences of the perjury epidemic that has swept our country, undermining the very foundation of our courts.

With many prosecutors, investigators, and participants speaking for the first time, Tangled Webs goes behind the scene of the trials of media and homemaking entrepreneur Martha Stewart; top White House political adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby; home-run king Barry Bonds; and Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff.

The saga of Martha Stewart's conviction captured the nation, but until now no one has answered the most basic question: Why would Stewart risk prison, put her entire empire in jeopardy, and lie repeatedly to government investigators to save a few hundred thousand dollars in stock gains? Moreover, how exactly was the notoriously meticulous Stewart brought down?

Drawing on the accounts of then-deputy attorney general James Comey and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Stewart sheds new light on the Libby investigation, making clear how far into the White House the Valerie Plame CIA scandal extended, and why Libby took the fall.

In San Francisco, Giants home-run king Barry Bonds faces trial due to his testimony before a grand jury investigating the use of illegal steroids in sports. Bonds was warned explicitly that the only crime he faced was perjury. Stewart unlocks the story behind the mounting evidence that he nonetheless lied under oath.

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme is infamous, but less well known is how he eluded detection for so long in the face of repeated investigations. Of the four he is the only one who has admitted to lying.

The perjury outbreak is symptomatic of a broader breakdown of ethics in American life. It isn't just the judicial system that relies on an honor code: Academia, business, medicine, and government all depend on it. Tangled Webs explores the age-old tensions between greed and justice, self-interest and public interest, loyalty and duty. At a time when Americans seem hungry for moral leadership and clarity, Tangled Webs reaffirms the importance of truth.

About James B. Stewart

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James B. Stewart is the author of Heart of a Soldier, the bestselling Blind Eye and Blood Sport, and the blockbuster Den of Thieves. A former Page-One editor at The Wall Street Journal, Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading. He is a regular contributor to SmartMoney and The New Yorker. He lives in New York.
Published April 19, 2011 by Penguin Books. 496 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on May 15 2011
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Tangled Webs
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

NY Times

on Jul 15 2011

Stewart has a prosecutor’s ability to reconstruct dizzyingly complicated stories about who said what to whom and to organize them as intelligible narratives.

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NY Times

on Jun 12 2011

Mr. Stewart has done a grand job...consistent narrative drive and admirable balance. I loved it.

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LA Times

on May 11 2011

In his new book, "Tangled Webs," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart dives deeply into four recent cases of high-profile conspiracies of lies.

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Oregon Live

Above average
on Apr 30 2011

James B. Stewart's new book on the epidemic of lying in America is timely and uses recent cases...to show how perjury and false statements are overwhelming the legal system and every aspect of our culture.

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Denver Post

Reviewed by Sissela Bok on May 25 2011

As in earlier books...Stewart offers riveting accounts of the unfolding of each drama. He brings to bear his superb skills as an investigative reporter, interviewing the main participants in the four cases, and acquiring previously secret grand jury transcripts and notes...

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The New Republic

Below average
on May 29 2011

...the book is not well thought out. There is no reason to write about these four cases together except to exploit their high profile...the cases provoke little serious interest and lack public importance.

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Business Week

Above average
on Apr 21 2011

...what Stewart has put together is less a fretful rumination on this country's moral failings than it is an extraordinary forensic analysis of the high-stakes American liar.

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on Aug 13 2012

...“Tangled Webs” appeals to a wide audience, and is a fascinating dissection of these prominent instances of perjury in our justice system and their continuing implications.

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