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Conspiracy of Fools: A True Storyby Kurt Eichenwald
Intricately detailed yet compulsively readable, Conspiracy of Fools is the best account yet of the Enron debacle. Eichenwald makes you feel like you are there — in the boardroom, on the cell phone — while the deals get brokered and the walls come tumbling down. It's a Bonfire of the Vanities for the twenty-first century, all the more chilling and fascinating because it is true.
Synopses & Reviews
In 2000, when The Informant was published, few would've imagined that a story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland could be as un-put-downable as the best crime fiction. Yet critics — and consumers — agreed: The New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald had taken the stuff of dry business reporting and turned it into an unparalleled page-turner. With Conspiracy of Fools, Eichenwald has done it again.
Say the name "Enron" and most people believe they've heard all about the story that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever. But in the hands of Kurt Eichenwald, the players we think we know and the business practices we think have been exposed are transformed into entirely new — and entirely gripping — material. The cast includes but is not limited to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O'Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Michael Eisner. Providing a you-are-there glimpse behind closed doors in the executive suites of the Enron Corporation, the Texas governor's mansion, the Justice Department, and even the Oval Office, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.
"This enormous, intimate blow-by-blow of Enron's implosion gets as close to what actually happened, in terms of people making (bad) decisions in real time, as anyone who wasn't there with a concealed video-phone possibly could. Having combed endless documents and interviewed countless principals and peripherals, Eichenwald (The Informant) presents short declarative sentences (and lots of sentence fragments) that may have run through the heads of men like top executives Skilling, Lay and Fastow as they managed to cook a very large set of books, as well as men like Stuart Zisman, a lawyer in the firm's wholesale division who wrote an early memo titled 'Overall Book Manipulation' that stated 'the majority of investments being introduced to Raptor are bad ones.' Eichenwald's bald depictions ('Skilling sank deeper into depression'; 'It couldn't be true, [Anderson partner Tom] Bauer thought') make for real tension. Collegial meetings at the White House with Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and others; charged conference calls with skeptical investors; endless buy-ins, buyouts and acronyms — all are presented in a rat-a-tat style thick with corporate anxiety, keeping pages turning even as the details themselves are numbing. (Luckily, Eichenwald includes a 'Cast of Characters' and 'List of Deals' so that readers can remind themselves of past carnage.) As an unadorned attempt to get into the heads of some major manipulators, this book can hardly be bettered. (On sale Mar. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A chatty, overly long, but highly readable account of the collapse of Enron and the reasons the energy empire fell....Likely not the last word on the Enron affair, but also likely to endure as a standard account." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] page-turning financial thriller....This book compares with Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate in its breadth and depth of coverage of esoteric corporate culture and financial practices, recognizing the compelling human drama beneath the scandal." Booklist
"A riveting narrative....Eichenwald, a reporter for the New York Times, is becoming known not just for his strong newspaper reporting, which has won him two Polk Awards, but for turning stories of corporate crime into books that read something like John Grisham novels." Newsday
"If it's an inside look at corporate malfeasance you're after, look no further than Conspiracy of Fools, the story of Enron and Kurt Eichenwald, who previously aimed his investigative pen at Archer Daniels Midland with The Informant, now on the Hollywood drawing board." The New York Post
"After reading Kurt Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, you will wonder how it was possible no one heard the din of voices crying out in the wilderness of Enron's ruinous financial schemes." US News & World Report
Say the name "Enron" and most people believe they've heard all about the story that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever. But in the hands of Eichenwald, the players and the business practices are transformed into entirely new — and entirely gripping — material.
From an award-winning New York Times reporter comes the full, mind-boggling story of the lies, crimes, and ineptitude behind the spectacular scandal that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever . . .
It was the corporate collapse that appeared to come out of nowhere. In late 2001, the Enron Corporation--a darling of the financial world, a company whose executives were friends of presidents and the powerful--imploded virtually overnight, leaving vast wreckage in its wake and sparking a criminal investigation that would last for years. But for all that has been written about the Enron debacle, no one has yet to re-create the full drama of what has already become a near-mythic American tale.
Until now. With Conspiracy of Fools, Kurt Eichenwald transforms the unbelievable story of the Enron scandal into a rip-roaring narrative of epic proportions, one that is sure to delight readers of thrillers and business books alike, achieving for this new decade what books like Barbarians at the Gate and A Civil Action accomplished in the 1990’s.
Written in the roller-coaster style of a novel, the compelling narrative takes readers behind every closed door--from the Oval Office to the executive suites, from the highest reaches of the Justice Department to the homes and bedrooms of the top officers. It is a tale of global reach--from Houston to Washington, from Bombay to London, from Munich to Sao Paolo--laying out the unbelievable scenes that twisted together to create this shocking true story.
Eichenwald reveals never-disclosed details of a story that features a cast including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O’Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone. With its you-are-there glimpse into the secretive worlds of corporate power, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.
About the Author
Kurt Eichenwald has written for The New York Times for more than a decade. A two-time winner of the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism and a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, he has been selected repeatedly by TJFR Business News Reporter as one of the nation's most influential financial journalists. Eichenwald lives in Dallas with his wife and three children.
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