Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book recommendation: 'The Devil's Casino' by Vicky Ward

I can't recommend more highly a book by Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward entitled The Devil's Casino. It tracks the rise and ultimate fall of the investment bank Lehman Brothers which was seen as symbolic of all that was wrong when the credit crunch eventually took hold. It's a story not just of hubris but one filled also with pathos, particularly the first half of the book which covers characters such as Chris Pettit, a man who comes across as a kind of Canute-like figure trying to stem the tide of excess and determined that wealth will not change his values. Following his premature death, the author quotes Yeats' The Second Coming to introduce the second half of the book and it is worth quoting in full:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

This is a gripping, brilliantly told page-turner of a read that you'll find difficult to put down. Liar's Poker in real life. You can buy it now on amazon.

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