Greg Palast likes to read in the loo. He says he wrote his book with that habit in mind—so that any casual bathroom reader could pick it up, skim around and still glean some bit of knowledge. And so, wanting to experience the shiny new hardback with the truest of intentions, I took his advice and settled down a few weeks ago, volume in hand, ready to flip casually through its pages to discover one of today’s most honest forms of truth to power. It did not disappoint.
Who is Greg Palast? If you were playing a round of “Jeopardy,” it would be the answer to the square for $1,000: “The most relevant investigative journalist of our time.” At least that’s what some of us think.
The more straightforward answer is this: Greg Palast grew up in a Los Angeles house pivoted between a landfill and a power plant; studied economics at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Milton Friedman; worked in New Mexico two decades ago as an investigator in the Attorney General’s Office; went on to become a reporter for BBC television, Guardian, Observer and Harper’s Magazine; is the author of three books, including a New York Times bestseller; and exposed the stories of the 2000 Florida election debacle and the oil company frauds that let to the grounding of the Exxon Valdez, among others.