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Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Convictions is a spellbinding story from the front lines of the fight against crime. Most Americans know little about the work of assistant United States attorneys, the federal prosecutors who possess sweeping authority to investigate and prosecute the nation's most dangerous criminals. John Kroger pursued high-profile cases against Mafia killers, drug kingpins, and Enron ...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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(showing 1-30 of 283)
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David Cook
Dec 22, 2009 David Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kroger is a strange man - introverted, a little naive, overly analytical and a bit of a narcissist, but he seems really decent and likeable. What makes his book so interesting is his honesty and self-reflection. In law, you come across a lot of prosecutors like Kroger - deeply committed to justice and ivory towered. Kroger takes you behind that stilted, opaque robot of a person and shows you his thoughts and motivations.

For instance, I like how Kroger explains that he harbors no real animosity a
Laura Monagan
Jul 09, 2015 Laura Monagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Kroger brings a gift for storytelling to this fascinating memoir of his work as a federal prosecutor in New York. Given some of the murderous defendants he prosecuted, one wonders where these federal prosecutors get the courage to bring them to justice. I found myself fearing for his life as Kroger collected evidence, interviewed the most heinous members of society, grilled them on the witness stand, and sent them packing to prison. He did a fabulous job of explaining some of the intricacie ...more
<0>The author of this memoir spent about 4 years as assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which includes much of New York City outside of Manhattan and the Bronx. It was surprising that he was able to get the position, as when he took the job his only legal experience had been as a clerk for a federal judge. He had graduated from Harvard Law School and had previously obtained a master’s degree in philosophy from Yale, after spending 3 years in the Marines a ...more
Nov 18, 2009 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before John Kroger was elected Oregon attorney general, before he moved to the state to teach at Lewis and Clark's law school, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. From this tough-to-land perch, Harvard Law grad Kroger prosecuted drug crimes, gangsters and eventually the mafia. He also built a strong reputation in elite legal circles, as he's not shy to point out.

This book explores in compelling detail some of the more interesting cases that he tried before he e
Jp Andrews
As a public defender and constant adversary of prosecutors, I resisted reading this book about Kroger's years as a federal prosecutor in New York. In the interest of full disclosure, Kroger and I were classmates at Harvard Law School. We graduated the same year but did not know each other. His photo on the book cover looks only slightly familiar. I enjoyed the book more than I expected. It meticulously traces the evidence and legal strategy in several of Kroger's cases (mafia, drug and Enron pro ...more
Dec 04, 2011 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-in-amerika
This is a surprisingly good book on many levels.

It's somewhat of the genre of Kidder's Soul of a new machine,
and many of Michael Lewis' books,
in that it describes in detail a somewhat obscure job that most people have heard of,
but don't really know what is actually done on a daily basis.

The author includes some discussion about his dissatisfaction with what his job actually accomplishes at the end of the day.
And how it changes his own morals in a way he's not pleased with.

After 3 years he qui
Jan 17, 2010 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHAT a read!! The title pretty much says it all.... Current Oregon State Attorney General writes of his former life as a federal prosecutor for New York City's Brooklyn-Queens district. He's an engaging writer and he tells his stories with a brilliant mix of legal background/facts and first-person reactions to what he encountered. Although his experiences underscore every bit of cynical conclusions about corruption that I presumed to be true (and more) what saves the book from merely salacious d ...more
I am interested in reading this book because John Kroger has a viewpoint about being a federal prosecutor. My experience as a state prosecutor is that we are able to seek justice. He points to some conflicts regarding that goal in the federal system. I like the writing style so far. We'll see

I am so proud to be a prosecutor and I don't know any prosecutors who are interested in convicting innocent people. We would fight to free and vacate convictions that were a mistake. I don't believe in calli
Jul 17, 2008 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding description of what it's like to be an Assistant United States Attorney, and it covers the gamut of cases from white collar to drugs to the mafia to minor cases. Kroger can seem at times a little bit much in terms of the self-analysis, but the result is that he's taken time to think about the moral and ethical quandaries that face federal prosecutors, and about the difficulties of taking what so many declare the best job they've ever had are in terms of exposure to some of ...more
Oct 10, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the law. Of course the author, John Kroger the attorney general of Oregon, makes himself out in a positive light, but the stories he tells of fighting the mafia, drug dealers and transporters, as well as Enron thieves are all engrossing to read. He tells of the strategies, what went well and what did not as his time as a AUSA, an Assistant United States Attorney. He tells of the philosophical quandaries of prosecutions and of the mistakes he made along the way. His writing style is easy t ...more
Jul 30, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great pool book . . . the guy is a major narcissist but obviously bright and dedicated. I love this kind of book, complete with trial strategies and inside glimpses into the mob and drug running, though, obviously, to one not so enthralled with the criminal justice system, this could be a bore. One angle that distinguishes this book from others of its genre is the author's acknowledgement of the tension between truth and justice, the incredible power wielded by United States Attorneys, and the ...more
I expected to begin this book and then drift away from it early on and eventually take it back to the library. This is what happened, but not for the reasons I thought. This book is great! It is witty and interesting and easy to read, and a fascinating look at an area of law most of us non-lawyers probably barely think about. I highly recommend it. It is also a very long book and Kroger won an Oregon book award this year so people at the library requested it before I could finish it. I would lik ...more
Aug 19, 2013 Shalaka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up on a whim and loved it. If you like Law & Order, John Grisham style courtroom drama, mafia and mob stories, or want to know more about the Enron scandal, you will enjoy this book. The author went to be the Oregon Attorney General and is now a college president. He tells a great story, introduces some fascinating social analysis, shares some of his personal emotions, and explains complex legal issues so a common person with no legal background can understand them. I was enter ...more
Jan 29, 2010 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
A story by a federal prosecutor describing some of his biggest cases. The description of the cases was interesting. His long chapters on how to improve law enforcement policy in areas such as the war on drugs, although insightful were a bit dry at times. I was also disappointed to realize that the last chapter and by implication the entire book was a plug for his candidacy in the Oregon Attorney General's race. He also came across as a little arrogant, very eager to point out how talented he has ...more
This guy's job is too cool for school. I liked the insights into the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Attorney's Office including hiring and administrative processes. Talk about making a positive difference in the world -- this guy's accomplishments are inspiring. Still, it's little more than a collection of war stories from his job with a sprinkling of philosophy thrown around in random places to assure us the author is a serious thinker. It fizzles at the end, but still a fun read.
Jun 18, 2015 Kara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I learned some things about John Kroger.
Dec 10, 2012 Danica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book...I can't help feel like Kroger started out as an awesome warrior, became a doubter, and eventually gave up. It seems like the more convictions he got the less conviction he had. Now he's president of some drug using/dealing, pothead college here in Oregon after bailing on being attorney general. Seems like a waste of talent and ambition...but until I spend my life convicting mobsters I guess I have no room to criticize.
His story of being a prosecutor for the Federal Government working (incessantly/obsessively) to build cases against the Mafia, drug dealers, and Enron thieves until the funding is pulled and diverted to "terrorism." Then he bicycles from Washington to Oregon camping, reading, becoming fit and giving up an extreme coffee habit. I read this as he was running for Attorney General of Oregon, which he wins.
Feb 16, 2010 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a few things about federal law enforcement and structure that I wasn't aware of. Kroger writes well, but found my mind wandering a few times and felt frustrated that the book seemed to be framed as a campaign piece, instead of a true autobiography.

It's good to see Kroger, who I admire, admit his mistakes, and it's helpful for anyone who wants to understand the man.
Book club book.

Not something I would pick up on my own, but an interesting look into the life of a prosecutor. Some reviewers say Kroger comes across as arrogant, but to me he only sounds-- like a lawyer. Perfectionistic, not given to excessive self-deprecation, and trying to prove a point-- in this case that he was a good AUSA and will make a good attorney general.
Oct 04, 2008 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely fascinated by this book. I learned about what it's like to be a federal prosecutor (I had no clue) and it has really helped me understand more about our justice system. Kroger is also a very good writer. He is living here in Oregon now, and says nice things about it in his book. Currently he is a candidate for attorney general of Oregon.
Nov 23, 2010 Vivek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
I enjoyed the nuance with which Kroger talked about different experiences he had prosecuting criminals as a US Attorney - he teaches a lot about what AUSAs do while conveying some of the moral complexities of the work. Well written and enlightening.
Very well written memoir of a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the EDNY. Good courtroom drama, insider information on prosecuting big cases, interesting characters. He explains things well and has an interesting point of view.
Jun 18, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, americas
Very satisfying glimpse into the life of a federal prosecutor. I'm glad I don't live in that world - yikes! Mafia bosses, drug lords, Wall Street swindlers. Phew. No wonder he moved to Portland! :-)
Mar 06, 2010 Femmy marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preview-nf-3
I read it to page 21, from the NonFiction Book Club. I love crime and legal TV series, so reading this real-life account should be interesting.
2009 Oregon Book Award winner for Creative Non-Fiction

I tried it, but found Kroger's voice to be too political to really enjoy. I don't think I'll go back to this one.
Jun 12, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. It was interesting and inspired me. It read so much like a piece of fiction, but was about real life. Loved it!
Jun 08, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Surprisingly very interesting & readable. I especially loved his chapters on drug prosecution & on the Enron debacle.
Jul 26, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing this one for the Portland Mercury. I've got to ask the author some questions next week...suggestions welcome!
Aug 11, 2011 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011books
I loved this - definitely recommended for anyone who's a fan of Jeffrey Toobin.
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