Matt Taibbi’s Russia Book: Nonfiction

The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia is the title of a book co-authored by Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi, published in the year 2000.

Taibbi Russia Book

Inside what is described as a memoir of the pair’s time in Moscow are anecdotes of their having engaged in jaw-dropping sexual harassment and debasement of Russian women, including their employees.

A female American colleague chastised them then:

“You know I’m not PC. But there’s a limit. You go too far. You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs. It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny,” Kara complained.

“But . . . it is funny,” Matt said.

Among many accounts of misogyny and salaciousness, there was one episode about having sex with a 15-year-old girl. And there’s a bragging incident of Ames forcing a girlfriend to have an abortion, then mentally torturing her about it.

Matt Taibbi Abortion

When asked by critiques about the book in recent years, both Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames have defended themselves by claiming it is a work of fiction, a satire.

At the time of the book’s publication, however, they went out of their way to insist that what they related in the book happened. In fact, the book’s inside cover states:

“This is a work of nonfiction. While all of the characters and events depicted in this book are real, certain names and identifying details have been changed.”

Matt Taibbi Russia Book

What do you think?

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For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Public Library classifies it as a biography.