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A STONKING GOOD READ!
on 24 October 2010
One of the most readable books I've ever had the pleasure of owning.
Whilst the subject matter is an expose of a bunch of cheating, fraudulent, selfish, and voracious mercenaries operating under, what was in the 1980's the ostensibly respectable guise of investment bankers and arbitragers, it is, nevertheless, a fascinating insight into and exposition of, the world of Corporate Mergers, Take-overs and Financing in the free-wheeling, under-regulated 80's.
Insider trading was the business of the four main racketeers, Dennis Levine, Martin Siegel, Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken, with dollops of tax fraud and money laundering thrown in to demonstrate their criminal versatility. Dennis Levine is shown as a fantasist who rated his own meagre ability as being that of a financial genius but in reality was far from it. Martin Siegel was suave, personable and a very able and respected Investment Banker whose involvement in these crimes was difficult to understand. Whereas Ivan Boesky whose mantra was "greed is all right" outwardly showed all the signs of being morally malleable in pursuit of wealth. Michael Milken, in terms of illicit financial gains was by far and away 'daddy' of them all when it came to sheer greed, and the most complex to understand.
That these guys since their convictions,large fines and prison sentences, are professing to have seen the light, and are now busting a gut to appear to be paragons of virtue intent on helping humanity, does not in any way camouflage the extent of their criminality which resulted in millions of people directly and indirectly being swindled. Yes and that could include you and me!
James B Stewart has written a masterfully gripping book, which reads like a detective story and which guides the reader through the maze of arcane Wall Street dealings in a most interesting and easily understandable manner.