Nightmare on Wall Street: Salomon Brothers and the Corruption of the Marketplace

Martin Mayer, Author, Alvin Karpis, Author
Martin Mayer, Author, Alvin Karpis, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-78187-3
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In painstaking detail, bestselling business author Mayer ( The Bankers ) traces the spectacular rise of Wall Street's most powerful investment house and its ignominious fall in the 1991 scandal involving a $10 billion manipulation of the U.S. Treasury note and bond market. Mayer finds that Reagan-era deregulation, combined with second-generation greed and cynicism at Salomon Brothers, encouraged the development of various ``bells and whistles''--investment embellishments which tended to mislead clients, disguise illegalities and obscure ``terrific markups.'' Among those involved in this ``conspiracy against the tax-paying citizenry'' are such colorful characters as ``Billy'' Salomon and John Gutfreund. But Mayer also recounts the larger story of the evolution of finance ``from a context of relationships to a context of transactions'' designed for pure profit. Though some of the market complexities can occasionally make it heavy going for the general reader, this is a landmark treatment of the money world, pegged to one particularly dramatic and alarming case history. (June)
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