The Believers

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297859222

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How America fell for financier Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion investment scam.

It was luxurious Palm Beach, by the manicured lawns and Olympic-sized swimming pool, that financier Bernard Madoff ravaged the world of philanthropy and high society he had strived so hard to join, vaporising the assets of charities, foundations and individuals that had trusted him with their funds. It seems nothing was sacrosanct to Madoff, possibly the greatest con-man in history. Even Elie Wiesel’s foundation has lost tens of millions. How could Madoff, a pillar of the Jewish community, do this to a Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor? But Wiesel was hardly alone in trusting the rogue financier. How could some of the most sophisticated and worldly people in America fall victim to a collective delusion for year after year?

THE BELIEVERS answers these unsettling questions. It opens up the clubbish world where Madoff operated, tracing the links from Palm Beach and The Hamptons to the salons and clubs of Manhattan society. It details the network of relationships across which flows hundreds of millions of dollars. ‘The Believers’ shows how despite material success and acclaim, some human impulses remain eternal. It reveals how an underlying sense of insecurity still shapes some of the richest and most successful individuals in America, making them crave ever more status and peer acclaim. By focusing on Madoff’s connection to, and catastrophic impact on, the American Jewish community, THE BELIEVERS dramatically humanises a story that is part financial scandal and part Greek tragedy.

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Adam LeBor explains the Madoff phenomenon brilliantly...a very good analysis
His intelligent study offers disquieting glimpses into the fin-de-siecle lifestyle of America's financial elite
LeBor calls Madoff a modern "schtarker", or gangster, who used technology, charm and brilliant social connections to rule, and, ultimately, destroy. His motivation was deep and determined - the result speaks for itself
In these turbulent times we want a morality tale, dressed up with glamour and glitz, about how Madoff seduced and shafted the rich, sophisticated and stupid. LeBor stumps up these rewards in a lively story that will satisfy even the economically literate
This book brilliantly answers the "How?" question about Bernie Madoff and his giant Ponzi, or pyramid-selling, scheme. Madoff used a mixture of charm, arrogance and breathtaking cruelty
Brian Appleyard, NEW STATESMAN
A fascinating, poignant, subtle portrait of the United States itself
Simon Sebag Montefiore, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
The chilling message of this account is that no regulatory regime, however sophisticated, can ever totally protect us from the chameleon fraudster
LeBor's great strength, in addition to a page-turning journalistic style, lies in his detailed and perceptive analysis of how and why so many so-called experts were fooled for so long