Rainmaker: The Saga of Jeff Beck, Wall Street's Mad Dog

Anthony Bianco, Author Random House (NY) $25 (486p) ISBN 978-0-394-57023-5
Unlike other Wall Street dealmakers who convinced themselves that the 1980s manic corporate takeover wave was restoring corporate America's entrepreneurial vigor, flamboyant investment banker Jeff Beck knew it was a con, a game run on greed and ego. But Beck, who as Drexel Burnham's ``Mad Dog'' rainmaker presided over the $8-billion leveraged buyout of Beatrice Foods, played the game with a vengeance, driven by a desperate craving for social status. He circulated extravagant fantasies about himself, claiming heroism as a U.S. Special Forces captain in Vietnam and spreading the fabrication that he had assembled a vast secret corporate empire called Rosebud. Though Beck never fought in Vietnam, actor-producer Michael Douglas, taken in by his tall tale, nearly made a movie about him. In a gripping parable of Reagan-era wishful thinking masquerading as optimism, this searching biography by Business Week reporter Bianco lays bare the deep psychic wounds and family skeletons that contributed to one rainmaker's rise and fall. Photos. Author tour. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-449-22135-8
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