Ballad of the Whiskey Robber – Review [CC]


Hi, YouTube. It’s Kathy.
Also, hi to the VimPs, or the Victorians in my Pants, which is the name of the Nerdfighter
book club here in Victoria. This month, we were reading Ballad of the Whiskey Robber
by Julian Rubinstein and I won’t be at the meeting because I will be in Mexico celebrating
the fact that I’m turning 30. Yay! Thanks Mom.
As promised, I’ve read the book early and am going to do my review video now. For anyone
who’s not read this book, spoilers ahead. It’s weird to shoot this video for a couple
of reasons. 1) I promosed it to my book club. 2) I’m shooting at the end of the day, so
the sun’s just about to go down because I just got back from work. 3) I just got back
from work so my hair is in braids and that’s different and weird.
For anyone who just wants to know about the book before they skip off in case of spoilers,
this book is about Attila Ambrus; it’s a true crime story. And he was the most prolific
bank robber in all of Hungary’s history. It’s actually pretty cool stuff. I mean, the
subtitle of this book is “A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt
Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts”.
So if you like any of those things, you’ll probably get a kick out of this book.
To start with, I’m to go through the title 1) Bank Heists!
There were a lot of them! Can you believe how much money this guy got away with stealing?
And while drunk!? I don’t think I could steal anything while I was drunk. I would probably
just knock things over, and people would notice I was doing it, and I would run away. Really
awkwardly. Number 2) Ice Hockey!
It’s amazing that he played professional ice hockey in Hungary for, what, seven years,
and never made a penny doing it. It’s such a difference between over in North
America how we pay our athletes I think sometimes too much, and over there they don’t pay their
athletes at all. Although it didn’t seem like they were at,
you know, NHL level. Also the team wasn’t very good so there could have been something
in there about that but… Number 3) Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling. Hurray!
Finally a book has taught me where Transylvania is, because for the longest time, I was like,
did it used to be it’s own country and it’s not a country any more? Now I understand that
it’s a region in what is now Romania, but used to be Hungary. And border disputes.
Okay, perfect. Number 4) Moonlighting Detectives.
I really enjoyed the play that Attila had against the detectives in his story and just
the complete and utter chaos when it came to how corrupt the system was and then just
this one cop that’s trying to catch him with his team, who also seemed like they weren’t
corrupt. But the rest of the system was. It was a really interesting read in that regard.
and 5) Broken Hearts. This is the one part of the book where I’m
like, suck it up. What does he spend half his time doing? Going to casinos and buying
hookers. If the girls that he’s dating happen to want to sleep with other men, apparently
that’s a terrible thing, but the fact that he’s banged most of Hungary, meh, who cares?
It’s just what men do, right? I mean, some do, and that’s fine, but the
double standard is complete bullshit. For a long time while I was reading this book,
I was thinking about how there was a lot of back story in kind of the social and political
aspects of Hungary at the time, and for the first little while, because that’s not something
that I was specifically reading the book for, of course I was there for the bank heists
and that type of thing, I just got kind of bored by all those details.
And went, all right, yeah, you did your research, woo-hoo for you.
But eventually I came to realize if it hadn’t been for the socio-economic and political
stand point of Hungary at the time, none of this would have really been able to occur.
It was just in that time frame where security was being upgraded, the police where so corrupt
that even if you called them, you wouldn’t even necessarily get police on time. So as
the book progressed, that type of information was more and more interesting to me.
Also, have any of you looked him up online now that you’ve finished the book? Because
I really wanted to know if he stayed in jail the entire sentence, if the sentence was shorter
or longer. Turns out, he got out in 2012. And so far, according to his Wikipedia page
anyway, he hasn’t commited any more robberies. And he’s just spending his time doing pottery.
Which is kind of amazing. Also, if you really liked this book, or you
just really like true crime or both, I have two recommendations. One is In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote. It is so well written. It seems like it’s fictionalized, but it’s all
the actual facts put together in more of a fictional telling, which I absolutely loved.
The second one is Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. This one is amazing. It
seems like you’re reading a fictional book, but it actually is the Life, Death, and Hope
in Undercity Mumbai. It is so well written. So those are my thoughts in a nutshell about
the Ballad of the Whiskey Robber. Anyone who’s watching this as a subscriber, thank you for
sticking through this different type of content. Anyone who’s watching this for my book club,
yay! Please leave comments down below with what
you guys thought about the book because I, again, I won’t be there and I really want
to know what you guys thought. I’m going to miss you guys. It’s going to be weird. And
I’ll see you guys next month with a different book. Let me know what we’re reading. And
everyone else, I will see you soon. Bye! For anyone who wants to know the basic premise
before they switch off the video in case of spoliers, The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber
is about Attila AmBrus? Ambus? Umbres? What is your name? Ambrus. Yup.

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