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The Wire: Truth Be Told

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  990 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
Welcome to the critically acclaimed HBO drama series "The Wire," hailed as "the best show on television, period" by the "San Francisco Chronicle." "The New York Times" calls it "a vital part of the television landscape...unvarnished realism." "Time" declares that "The Wire," "like its underfunded, workaday cops, just plugged away until it outshone everything else on TV.""T ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Gallery Books
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Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
so, the bedbugs pooped all over my nice hardcover edition of this because

1) bedbugs have zero taste
2) bedbugs are assholes
3) bedbugs are living creatures, and living creatures poop because - science.
4) and i'm just inferring here, but i'm pretty sure bedbugs are racist.

this is not a quiz - all of the above responses are correct. fuck you, bedbugs. fuck you the most.

also - insect poop is called "frass."
consider yourself enlightened.
Paul Bryant

Would you like to read an introduction to Hamlet written by Shakespeare himself? Not if it went something like “I knew when I began Hamlet that I wished to blow the conventions of the revenge tragedy sky-high, and by God that’s what I did. Hamlet’s soliloquies are, I feel, the finest in all my 36 plays and I feel that with the character of Ophelia…I must thank HBO for allowing me the space to demonstrate the full extent of my genius…” And blah
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Arfwedson
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is all about "The Wire", 60 hours of TV spread over 5 years that is, as many before me have said: "The best story ever put on film." It is about inner-city Baltimore the same way "Moby Dick" is about whaling. It looks at drugs, police, docks, politics, schools, journalism, and race in America top to bottom and side to side, with an authenticity, integrity, detail, depth, and bloody honesty usually only associated with the greatest literature. It's as if Charles Dickens, Eldridge Cleave ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the shee-it!

And if you know extactly where that comes from, I hope you are reading this review after you have read the book.

I read an earlier edition of this, and really can't add much to the original review which is .

If you have already read that review, well shee-it, haven't you seen the series yet?

This edition includes some expanded sections from the as well as covering all the seasons - most importantly season 4, which was the best.

Liked the obit for Stringer.
Michael Monforte
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Really thought this book would give a lot more in-depth behind the scenes of the real life stories behind the show. While at times it offered that it mostly was episode recaps which I found pointless. If you bought a book about the show don't you think you would've known what was in the recaps? The recaps themselves were sort of broad anyway but I can't tell if that's a good thing or not.

The best part of the book is the essay by creator David Simon that opens the book. While other parts were in
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Not bad but you can't escape a feeling of exploitativeness, and the fact that 25% of the book is index and other tables, cast and crew lists etc, hardly helps. A lot of the writing is pretty lazy. It's acceptable - in context - for The Wire to be full of swear words but not acceptable for this book to be e.g. an episode summary which refers to someone having "fucked up". Just bad writing Mr Alvarez. The interviews and trivia are entertaining enough and there's some good illustrations/photos but ...more
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Wire Fans
I'm a ravenous fan of the HBO series, The Wire, and there's no reason why people should continue to not watch this show. Three seasons are on DVD already, and now this companion book. I picked this one up in a bargain bin. There because its such a niche book that I'm sure it probably only sold well in Baltimore itself. But if you like the show, it's fascinating to learn about all the real life Omars and Prop Joes and superhero lesbian homicide detectives, etc. But, anyway, just watch the show, a ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Wire is an incredible book that visits the streets where crime happens and shows the day-to-day lives of police who work to set things right.
Feb 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: television
The Wire is over. Long live The Wire.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Strengths of the book? Interviews with writers, actors, etc., that one might not be able to find anywhere else. Valuable? Absolutely.
However, the book was weak in some key points. I found the organization frustrating. First, episodes are generally listed by their place in the overall series (ex. Episode 32, 51, etc) as opposed to their location in the season. The only way to know the season beyond recognition is to look at the header. Secondly, interviews and other secondary analyses are inters
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wire fans
Recommended to Lisa by: Ruth
"Arguably the greatest television show ever made" - Daily Telegraph.

Fun fact: The worst argument that my boyfriend and I have ever had revolved around just that statement. Having not seen The Wire he argued that Six Feet Under deserved this title. He's wrong.

Comprising of season overviews, full episode guides, articles on major characters and themes, with further background on the political and social reality that informed and influenced the series, this book has been put together by those who w
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ANYONE!
This book is an insightful look behind the scenes of HBO's spectacular drama, The Wire. Mr. Alvarez combines terrific interviews with different people around Baltimore, Maryland who have inspired many of the program's distinct characters with articles about various aspects of the show's production and its loyal fan base, compellingly detailed essays about the show's first three seasons and comprehensive episode recaps of seasons one and two. Essays are contributed by reputed authors George Pelec ...more
Niklas Pivic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe I read a 500-page book about a television show and liked it.

Wanted to get it out of the way before Jonathan Abrams’ new work comes out and feel foolish for waiting so long.

The essays give a lot of insight into the show. The episode synopses not so much.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like watching the series all over again, but while they are filming it.
Brian Wadman
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
An episode to episode guide of the TV series along with inside info about what makes the show great. Producer, David Simon, is a bit self-congratulatory in his introduction letter (which he had sent to HBO) explaining the significance of the show. But in truth, this was the greatest television/drama of my lifetime. There is no better book, movie, documentary (maybe Hoop Dreams) play or TV show which explains urban life better. Here, Simon is describing the streets of Baltimore, but it could well ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
For fans of The Wire. A good companion to the series which offers some useful insights and background. I would however say that the episode guide is not a patch on the corresponding wikipedia entries.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: principal
«He gozado con los episodios de las cinco temporadas como leyendo una de esas grandes novelas decimonónicas –las de Dickens o de Dumas– que aparecían por capítulos en los diarios a lo largo de muchas semanas.»

«Hay que guardarla con mimo, como las obras completas de Shakespeare y de Stevenson, las mejores películas (casi todas son buenas) de Ford y de Wilder, las canciones de Sinatra, los discos de Coltrane, los recuerdos maravillosos, esas cosas que con un poco de suerte te van
Graham Tapper
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read for anyone who was into The Wire as much as I was. Written around a synopsis of the complete five series, it contains a wealth of additional background about the writers, producers, directors but, most especially about the actors and the characters that they play.

Some, like Felicia Pearson (Snoop), came from the very streets where their characters live their lives. Her life story could have been told in The Wire and would not have looked out of place. In doing so her life was turned
Andrew Thompson
Dec 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Wire
For fans of The Wire. A good companion to the series which offers some useful insights and background. I would however say that the episode guide is not a patch on the corresponding wikipedia entries. It has however prompted me to start watching the entire series yet again on DVD. This edition of the book covers all 5 seasons. From an aesthetic point of view, it would have been better if there were more colour plates as the numerous half-tones used in the text tend to give the book a slightly ch ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction, usa
I enjoyed reading this a lot, and reliving the series, but with a few reservations - 1) You need to have seen The Wire. All of it. 2) It's a bit piecemeal and there are lots of typos (Prop Joe becomes Pop Joe at times, Carcetti becomes Carecetti etc.) 3) It's a little self-congratulatory. There come moments when you feel the need to hear that David Simon (or whoever) actually gets GROUCHY...

But in return you get to relive the story episode by episode, you get some insight into the basis of the c
Shu Lindsey
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
"We are bored with good and evil. We renounce the theme.

With the exceptions of saints and sociopaths, few in this world are anything but a confused and corrupted combination of personal motivations, most of them selfish, some of them hilarious. Character is the essence of all good drama; and plotting is just as fundamental. But ultimately, the storytelling that speaks to our current condition, that grapples with the basic realities and contradictions of our immediate world -- these are stories t
Doug Stotland
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-wire, tv
Not a good book but the best of the 3 I've read on "The Wire". The essays by David Simon provide fascinating insight on the personality and mentality that created such a great series. Most of the content is pretty lame but I still enjoyed reading blow-by-blow, episode-by-episode accounts of all five seasons. There's also some good background and trivia sprinkled throughout the book.

I've read three books on "The Wire" so far. All were mediocre to bad books but I enjoyed all of them. Someday someo
May 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, but that's because I loved the show. The book makes it clear how much depth of thought was put into the show and its season by season themes, and its interesting to learn more about the lives of the writers.

The episode guide was a bit brief at times, but if it had been comprehensive the book would have been 3000 pages! If you know the show well, it would be interesting to skip the episode descriptions and just read the contributed pieces from fans, writers, a
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting this to be better than it was. Not that there weren't nuggets of goodness (the David Simon essay and interview with Nick Hornby) but the episode summaries weren't well done (they could have done better by simply cut and pasting the wiki entries) and the character analyses were simplistic and without have much depth and the editing was sloppy (mixed up pronouns for example). I'm a big fan of The Wire and there wasn't anything here that was fresh or new - maybe I'm a bigger Wire Ge ...more
Jan Wim
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I can't get enough of it baby .... After finally watching the entire show for all the five years (Yeah I know .... I must be the last person on the planet) why stop there? Reading about all the segments that have been shown with a lot of background stuff about actors, cameo's, scenarios and the political, historical and sociological setting it played in .... brought back good and fond memories. On it's own is hasn't enough merit though, so that's why the series gets a 5-star rating and this book ...more
Dankwa Brooks
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't read this book so much as I skipped through it. Lots of prose from series creator David Simon that doesn't give background on the show inasmuch it gives background on politics etc.

The episode recaps were a little skimpy as well, but with a show as plot rich as 'The Wire' how could you fit it all.

The best parts of the book, and about the only thing I read were the profiles on specific actors and their characters like "Proposition Joe" played insidiously by the late Robert Chew.
Apr 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like The Wire
Used this book a lot in my thesis. I can't say I'd necessarily recommend it unless you, too, are writing about The Wire, since (if you're into the show) you could pretty much learn everything in here on the internet - with the exception, maybe, of the interview with Melvin Williams. Also, there's some interesting info about The Wire's production and Baltimore that you could get hints of on the internet, but not with the same depth. There are also episode guides, but Wikipedia has episode guides ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Nothing really special here, but more extrapolation by David Simon about the themes and goals of the Wire, easily the best show on TV and required viewing...

Rereading the new edition- still some weird parts in the episode write-ups, and a couple of weird things in the interviews (someone was surprised when d'angelo was murdered b/c they thought he was going to be the new kingpin? really?), but some of the other features about characters and people writing and working for the show were much bett
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“The Audacity of Despair
"You can stand your ground if you're white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you're black, you're dead.

"In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.

"If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.

"Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies: Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible. I can't look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.”
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