The riveting tale of how the wannabe aristo Conrad Black and his social mountaineering wife Barbara gulled their way into the City, the Tory party, Wall Street and High Society. The rise and fall of the media tycoon Conrad Black is rivalled in its spectacular extravagance only by the machinations of his social mountaineering wife, Barbara Amiel. Together their story of overweening ambition and greed is a modern-day classic of hubris. There is no bolder or better-informed chronicler of the follies of the rich and powerful than Tom Bower. Fearless in the approach which has brought him accolades for his gripping exposes of Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland, Mohammed Fayed and Richard Branson, Bower reveals how the Blacks financed a billionaire's lifestyle and won friends and influence in London and New York. Born into considerable wealth in Canada, Conrad Black bought and sold (but never effectively managed) several businesses, from mining and tractors to broadcasting companies and newspapers. In 1985 he bought the Telegraph group in London, where very little was known of the controversy over his past financial dealings. In 1992 he married Barbara Amiel, who later famously said, 'I have an extravagance that knows no bounds.' Besotted by his wife, he began living way beyond his means. Fabulous parties, jewellery, clothes, private jets and homes followed. In 2003 an independent report in America accused him of 'outright fraud', 'ethical corruption' and 'corporate kleptocracy' - allegations that he will vigorously deny at his trial in Chicago in 2007. Tom Bower's book, based on over 150 interviews with bankers, politicians, celebrities, power-brokers and close friends, is packed with intimate revelations. It is a hugely entertaining account of gullibility in high places.
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Tom Bower has a distinguished reputation as an investigative historian, broadcaster and journalist and is the author of several ground-breaking books about tycoons. His recent works are 'Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football' and 'Gordon Brown'. His books about the Nazis include 'Blood Money' and the definitive biography of Klaus Barbie. Among his other much-debated biographies are those of Mohammed Fayed, Richard Branson and Robert Maxwell.Review:
Praise for 'Gordon Brown': 'Bower is a formidable biographer!a powerful book.' The Times 'Impressively researched!many of Bower's judgements are shrewd.' Mail on Sunday 'Excellent and public-spirited work!admirable on detail.' The Spectator Praise for 'Maxwell: The Outsider': 'It should be compulsory reading for all journalists, accountants, lawyers and crooks.' Daily Mail 'Not only a gripping read but a valuable tract for our times.' Sunday Telegraph Praise for 'Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football': 'A tour de force!the evidence it assembles is devastating.' Observer 'Devastating!an indictment of football that all fans should read and understand.' The Times
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