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An insightful portrait of junk-bond powerhouse Drexel Burnham Lambert and infamous financier Michael Milken, “one of the most brilliant minds ever to have been dedicated to Wall Street's money games.” (The New York Times). Milken is purported to have offered to pay award-winning journalist Connie Bruck to stop work on this book, the fascinating story of how a singularly brilliant and intensely private investment banker essentially masterminded the creation of the junk bond market, generating billions of dollars in profits for his clients and himself before ultimately being brought down by charges of insider trading, stock manipulation, and fraud under the RICO Act. Bruck’s in-depth narration of the phenomenal career of the man nicknamed “the Junk Bond King” spans Milken’s early dealings in high-yield bonds as well as numerous corporate raids and hostile takeovers guided by tactics that were undoubtedly revolutionary, if sometimes unethical—and occasionally outright illegal. Standing alongside other blockbuster tales of business malfeasance such as Liar’s Poker and Too Big to Fail, The Predators’ Ball is a shocking, bemusing, and enlightening portrait of an era when it seemed anything was possible on Wall Street—as long as Michael Milken was in your Rolodex.
In this sweeping, incisive post mortem, Dean Starkman exposes the critical shortcomings that softened coverage in the business press during the mortgage era and the years leading up to the financial collapse of 2008. He locates the roots of the problem in the origin of business news as a market messaging service for investors in the early twentieth century. This access-dependent strain of journalism was soon opposed by the grand, sweeping work of the muckrakers. Propelled by the innovations of Bernard Kilgore, the great postwar editor of the Wall Street Journal, these two genres merged when mainstream American news organizations institutionalized muckraking in the 1960s, creating a powerful guardian of the public interest. Yet as the mortgage era dawned, deep cultural and structural shifts—some unavoidable, some self-inflicted—eroded journalism's appetite for its role as watchdog. The result was a deafening silence about systemic corruption in the financial industry. Tragically, this silence grew only more profound as the mortgage madness reached its terrible apogee from 2004 through 2006. Starkman frames his analysis in a broad argument about journalism itself, dividing the profession into two competing approaches—access reporting and accountability reporting—which rely on entirely different sources and produce radically different representations of reality. As Starkman explains, access journalism came to dominate business reporting in the 1990s, a process he calls "CNBCization," and rather than examining risky, even corrupt, corporate behavior, mainstream reporters focused on profiling executives and informing investors. Starkman concludes with a critique of the digital-news ideology and corporate influence, which threaten to further undermine investigative reporting, and he shows how financial coverage, and journalism as a whole, can reclaim its bite.
Sally Denton and Roger Morris make clear how and why Las Vegas became the greatest 'business success story' of the twentieth century, and how the rest of America ensured this success by contributing capital as well as customers. Headquarters of a trillion-dollar worldwide empire, the site of unprecedented political and economic power, Las Vegas is by no means an aberrant sin city. Denton and Morris demonstrate how it has grown out of, and reflects, a corruption and a worship of money that have crept into American life since Prohibition. They trace the original funds for the founding of the Las Vegas we know today to nationwide narcotics trafficking. They show how deeply a multiethnic criminal syndicate, in part feeding off gambling profits and the skim in Las Vegas, came to influence American politics and the larger society, and how pervasively its 'style of business' has penetrated the entire nation. Denton and Morris detail the amazing rise and reach of Meyer Lansky - the mind that ran the city; exactly how criminals, politicians, and businessmen worked together to control Las Vegas; the curious interplay of the city with the fates of Joseph, John F., and Robert Kennedy; how Mormon bankers and Wall Street financiers have bankrolled and profited from casinos ruled by organised crime; how a handful of dedicated journalists and law enforcement officers were destroyed before they could expose the city's secrets. The Money and the Power is a detailed and illuminating chronicle of an extraordinary place and time - and a provocative reinterpretation of twentieth-century American history.
First Published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Through the perspectives of selected best-selling novels from the end of World War II to the end of the 20th century—including The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather, Jaws, Beloved, The Silence of the Lambs, and Jurassic Park—this book examines the crucial issues the U.S. was experiencing during those decades. These novels represent the voices of popular conversations, as Americans considered issues of family, class, racism and sexism, feminism, economic ambition, sexual violence, war, law, religion and science. Through the windows of fiction, the book surveys the Cold War and anti-communism, the prefeminist era of the 1950s and the sexual revolution of the 1970s, forms of corporate power in the 1960s and 1980s, the traumatic legacies of slavery and Vietnam, the American fascination with lawyers, cops and criminals, alternate styles of romance in the era of late capitalism, our abiding distrust of science, and our steadfast wonder about the Great Mysteries.
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