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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Streetby Kate Kelly
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.
Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oiland#160;production was in steep decline and natural gas wasand#160;hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nationand#8217;sand#160;already tenuous relations with the Middle East.and#160;China was rapidly industrializing and competing forand#160;resources. Major oil companies had just about givenand#160;up on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energyand#160;crisis seemed likely.
But a handful of men believed everything wasand#160;about to change.and#160;
Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon,and#160;Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcattersand#160;were determined to tap massive deposits of oil andand#160;gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissedand#160;as a waste of time. By experimenting withand#160;hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shaleand#151;a process now known as frackingand#151;the wildcattersand#160;started a revolution. In just a few years, they solvedand#160;Americaand#8217;s dependence on imported energy, triggeredand#160;a global environmental controversyand#151;and made andand#160;lost astonishing fortunes.
No one understands these menand#151;their ambitions,and#160;personalities, methods, and foiblesand#151;betterand#160;than the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporterand#160;Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabledand#160;him to get close to the frackers and chronicle theand#160;untold story of how they transformed the nation andand#160;the world. The result is a dramatic narrative trackingand#160;a brutal competition among headstrong drillers.and#160;It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakotaand#160;and the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvaniaand#160;to cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense Walland#160;Street boardrooms.
Activists argue that the same methods that areand#160;creating so much new energy are also harming ourand#160;water supply and threatening environmental chaos.and#160;The Frackers tells the story of the angry oppositionand#160;unleashed by this revolution and explores just howand#160;dangerous fracking really is.
The frackers have already transformed the economic,and#160;environmental, and geopolitical course ofand#160;history. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettysand#160;before them, theyand#8217;re using their wealth and power toand#160;influence politics, education, entertainment, sports,and#160;and many other fields. Their story is one of the mostand#160;important of our time.
MEET THE FRACKERS
GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemedand#160;worthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.
AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billionsand#160;leading a historic land grab. He wasnand#8217;t prepared for the shocking fallout of his discoveries.
TOM WARD, who overcame a troubled childhood to become one of the nationand#8217;s wealthiestand#160;men. He could handle natural-gas fields but had more trouble with a Wall Street power broker.
HAROLD HAMM, the son of poor sharecroppers, who believed America had more oil thanand#160;anyone imagined. Hamm was determined to find the crude before others caught on.
CHARIF SOUKI, the dashing Lebanese immigrant who saw his career crumble and his fortuneand#160;disintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.
MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of Americanand#160;natural gas was at hand, one that his company wasnand#8217;t prepared for.
"Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly expands on her 2008 three-part series, written just two and a half months after the collapse of financial giant Bear Stearns, with an hour-by-hour account of the crisis that goes behind the stock prices and into the meeting rooms of top executives as the crisis comes into horrifying focus. A kind of 'dysfunctional family, driven by greed and a complex code of internal politics,' Kelly expertly breaks down Bear's vulnerability as a leader in mortgage-backed securities, with 'one of the heaviest debt loads of any firm on the Street.' As word got out that the firm was in trouble, a wave of panic selling sent the stock plummeting to $60 on the second day of the crisis (after securing Federal Reserve funding) only to bottom out at two dollars a share in fire-house-sale offer from J.P. Morgan. Enlivened by graphic descriptions of executive disarray and cameo profiles of scrambling financiers as they come to appreciate the magnitude of the disaster they unleashed (COO Friedman, when asked by NY Fed Geithner how bad it was, answered 'Very. End of the world bad.'), this riveting account puts the ensuing worldwide financial crises in stark perspective." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Thanks to this gripping new book we know more about how they do it. And its even more shocking than you think.” —The Independent
When most people think of the drama of global finance, they think of stocks and bonds, venture capital, high-tech IPOs, and complex mortgage-backed securities. But commodities? Crude oil and soybeans? Copper and wheat? What could be more boring?
Thats exactly what the elite commodity traders want you to think. They dont seek the media spotlight. They dont want to be as famous as Warren Buffett or Bill Gross. Their astonishing wealth was created in near-total obscurity, either in closely held private companies or deep within large banks and corporations, where commodity profits and losses werent broken out.
Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author of Street Fighters, takes us inside this secretive inner circle that controls so many things we all depend on. She gets closer than any previous reporter to understanding these whip-smart, aggressive, and often egomaniacal men who bet millions every day on a blend of facts, analysis, and pure gut instinct.
and#147;Commodity players are a shrewd andand#160;indomitable lot. And the contracts theyand#160;trade are still so loosely regulated that theand#160;correct combination of money and skilland#160;creates irresistible opportunity. Thatand#8217;s whyand#160;Iand#8217;m only half joking when I call them theand#160;secret club that runs the world.and#8221;
When most people think of the drama of globaland#160;finance, they think of stocks and bonds, ventureand#160;capital, high-tech IPOs, and complex mortgagebackedand#160;securities. But commodities? Crude oil andand#160;soybeans? Copper and wheat? What could be moreand#160;boring?
Thatand#8217;s exactly what the elite commodity tradersand#160;want you to think. They donand#8217;t seek the mediaand#160;spotlight. They donand#8217;t want to be as famous asand#160;Warren Buffett or Bill Gross. Their astonishingand#160;wealth was created in near-total obscurity, becauseand#160;they dwelled either in closely held private companiesand#160;or deep within large banks and corporations,and#160;where commodity profits and losses werenand#8217;tand#160;broken out.
But if the individual participants in the greatand#160;commodities boom of the 2000s went unnoticed,and#160;their impact did not. Over several years the sizeand#160;of the market exploded, and so did prices for rawand#160;materialsand#151;raising serious questions about whetherand#160;the big traders were intentionally jacking up theand#160;cost of gasoline, food, and other essentials boughtand#160;by ordinary people around the world. What wasand#160;really driving all those price spikes?
Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author ofand#160;Street Fighters, takes us inside this secretive innerand#160;circle that controls so many things we all dependand#160;on. She gets closer than any previous reporter toand#160;understanding these whip-smart, aggressive, andand#160;often egomaniacal men (yes, they are nearly alland#160;men). They work hard, play hard, flaunt theirand#160;wealth, and bet millions every day on a blend ofand#160;facts, analysis, and pure gut instinct.
Kellyand#8217;s narrative focuses on one of the mostand#160;extraordinary periods in financial history. Thoughand#160;the practice of gaming out price changes in commoditiesand#160;goes back to ancient Mesopotamia, it hadand#160;never before reached the extremes of the early toand#160;mid-2000s. Kelly exposes the role of the hedgeand#160;funds, banks, brokers, and regulators in this volatileand#160;market, through fascinating stories of and#147;secretand#160;cluband#8221; members such as . . .
Drawing on her exclusive access to the secret club,and#160;and following the trail from New York to Houston,and#160;London, Dubai, and beyond, Kelly reveals theand#160;immense power in the hands of a few, and theand#160;so-far contentious efforts by the Obama administrationand#160;to rein in the cowboys.
About the Author
Kate Kelly is a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal and a former reporter for Time magazine and the New York Observer. She attracted international attention for her three-part series of articles on Bear Stearns, which ran on the front pages of The Wall Street Journal in May 2008. This is her first book. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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