UGLY AMERICANS: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions

Ben Mezrich, Author . Morrow $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-057500-7

Though the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, this is a true story, containing all the ingredients of a great narrative—a main character the reader can relate to, an appealing love interest, money, danger, the need for acceptance, suspense and even the realization (in some form) of the American dream. Mezrich (Bringing Down the House ) presents wanna-be financial star "John Malcolm," who accepts a nebulous job offer in Japan in the mid-1990s and leaves his middle-class New Jersey postcollege aimless existence for an adventure he might have dreamed of had he any idea of what the big boys' world of finance was really like. After hitting the ground at top speed from day one, John and his cohorts—all male, mostly Ivy League graduates—learn their way around the lucrative, fast-paced and legal-but-barely-palatable world of cowboy-style Asian market finance. In the process, they make millions (sometimes per trade) and pride themselves on knowing when to get in and how to spot their exit point. Their bottom line is all that matters; everything else—from emotion to opinion—is secondary. In a truly engaging look at how an innocent who thinks he knows the world does actually end up understanding a small but significant piece of it, Mezrich manages to incorporate solid journalism into a narrative that just plain works. Agent, David Vigliano. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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