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Synopsis

It was an inconceivable deception: over $65 billion stolen in the world's largest Ponzi scheme.

Including new and revealing interviews with those who worked closest to himand his family, Betrayal is an in-depth, penetrating look at the man who perpetrated history's most notorious financial crime.

To the people who knew him, Bernie Madoff was a kind and honorable person; a loving father and husband; generous to his employees and charitable even to strangers. On Wall Street, he was known as a wise elder statesman, wildly successful in his investments but never too risky with people's money. He was so revered and trusted that thousands placed their life savings with him, and he in turn provided them with early retirements and affluent lifestyles.

But on December 11, 2008, Madoff confessed that he'd lied to them all. The monthly financial statements he'd sent customers for decades were all works of fiction. Their money was gone.

Despite the crush of media attention on Madoff's scam, little is known about Madoff himself. What could lead a seemingly good man to ruin the lives of everyone who ever cared about him? What caused Bernie Madoff to commit an unspeakable act of betrayal, bankrupting his family, his friends, his mentors, and thousands of investors who depended upon him for their livelihoods?

Betrayal: The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff is about the man who realized that he could have everything he wanted if he simply lied to the people who trusted him the most. Author Andrew Kirtzman tracked down more than a hundred people from Madoff's past, from the first girl he ever kissed to family members who played in his house as children; from his secretaries to his drivers; from traders at his company to his inner circle of friends. He pored through thousands of pages of court records; private e-mails; phone-conversation transcripts; and census, military, and immigration records. The result is a fascinating story about the rise of a deeply immoral man.

Kirtzman describes Madoff's feelings of inferiority and humiliation as a child, and his obsession with making money to prove himself worthy as he grew older. He reveals Madoff's construction of a criminal enterprise at a young age, long before he's ever claimed it began. He paints a picture of a loving yet strange family that ran a multibillion-dollar corporation like a small family restaurant. He offers an inside look at life within the company and the characters who worked on the infamous seventeenth floor. He reveals the details of an underground flow of cash that no one has known about until now. And he chronicles the desperate moments leading up to Madoff's fall, from the perspective of the people who spent the last hours with him before his house of cards collapsed.

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