Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World

Adam Lebor. PublicAffairs, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61039-254-9
Budapest-based journalist and literary critic Lebor (Hitler’s Secret Bankers) offers a critical history of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), a complex financial enterprise founded in 1930 and located in Basel, Switzerland, that serves the world’s central banks. Claiming access to new sources and insider information, Lebor exposes the wheeling, dealing, and often nefarious activities of global investment bankers. The book explores the “massive capital movements” worldwide before and after WWII that anticipated today’s globalized economy, and highlights the bank’s relationship to both Nazi Germany and postwar Germany. Lebor calls the BIS today an “opaque, elitist, and anti-democratic institution, out of step with the twenty-first century.” Though this lively account too often resorts to the incriminating tone of investigative reporting, the historical and contemporary power of the secretive BIS will surprise and alarm readers. While the BIS’s past deeds are gamy and its operations today are “shadowy,” central banking mechanisms and international monetary networks exist for good reasons. As one of the bankers interviewed suggests, the BIS could serve an important future role in keeping the euro intact. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman, William Morris Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 360 pages - 978-1-61039-255-6
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-1-61039-381-2
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