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Bombardiers Paperback – December 30, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Regardless of how you feel about investment banking ("It's a complete scam!"; "It's a great way to make a killing!"), this non-stop novelistic indictment of the shark-infested financial world--and by extension, much of the corporate world--is bound to make you laugh uproariously--and think deeply. As fast-paced and frenetic as the stock exchange on a Monday morning. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The "bombardiers" are the bond traders for the San Francisco-based Atlantic Pacific Corporation, a madcap crew shrewdly observed in Bronson's bitingly satiric first novel. Chief among these cynical, inbred, often self-loathing but highly paid white-collar worker ants is anti-hero Sid Geeder, an "old man" at 34, enraged at his meaningless work and existence. Snapping at Sid's heels is the puppy-like Eggs Igino, the trader of the future, boyish, seemingly dependable, sneakily ruthless (in one amusing spar, Eggs tries to get Sid to swap insider information in exchange for clues to the procurement of an elusive strawberry danish). Around them whirl the others, including hard-bitten Coyote Jack, gorgeous Lisa Lisa, pathetic Nickel Sansome, all of them driven relentlessly and absurdly by the cocaine-like high of easy money. Around their frantic and inconclusive relationships, which Bronson delineates with verve, are woven an episodic plot concerning the bombardiers' manipulation of Eastern European and Caribbean affairs and a quiltwork of trenchant observations about the financial world: "The financial markets had replaced elections as the barometer of the country's mood"; "the information economy was a Ponzi scheme spiralling out of control." These clever and abundant maxims, however, fail to compensate for a lack of subtlety in the evolution of the characters, who often seem more marionettes of the author's satire than living entities. Still, Bronson writes with panache, and while his novel finally lacks the depth of feeling that can distinguish a great satire like Catch-22, it's a witty and cutting send-up that marks him as a writer with a likely big and bright future. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812971868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812971866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Bombardiers" is manic and funny.
Po Bronson's novel about bond traders is a candid look into the "greasemen" of the financial system. It tells the story of a dysfunctional SF bond trading office. The office is a corporate meatgrinder churning out profits, making those crazy or tough enough to handle the stress rich, and crushing the rest. In the pressure cooker of the bond market, "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro". If you're not a pro, you're fired. One day, a new salesman Eggs Igino fresh out of grad school arrives. He's like Jesus, and he changes everything.
This book was so good, I read it in two days. At one point I had to put it down because I was laughing so hard tears were running down my cheeks. Bronson's prose is this weird melange of Joseph Heller and Hunter S. Thompson (in his early years). It's the ridiculous, mixed with base human emotions, and salted with the bizarre.
While hilarious, Bronson's plot is a bit weak. He appears to be an author who derives more from the setting then the story. I had trouble sorting out the main character's (Igino) motives. Or maybe the main character was Sid Geeder? I couldn't be sure. In addition, his two female character's (Lisa Lisa and Sue Marino) were interchangeable.
"Bombardiers" is a good read. It's got information, sex, absurdity, and cruel humor administered at an amphetamine charged pace. You won't put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Very fun and nasty satire of brokerage houses written by a briefly former insider. It's more of a fictional sociological study of the men and few women bond brokers of a San Francisco brokerage house. Standard types are presented, along with the motivations that drive them, and the lies by which they unload dubious securities. In all this Bronson is really going after the entire system which allows firms to profit massively from insane schemes and financial failures. Everything goes wacky at Atlantic Pacific when a new, young salesman appears on the floor. He ignores the rules, has the nature of a master salesman, and throws the system in a tizzy. It's all pretty over the top, but fun stuff with more than a kernel of truth.
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Format: Paperback
Unputdownable and laugh out loud funny, I read this book in a day and a half. Unlike Liar's Poker, there's no attempt to explain the bonds being traded, instead Bronson seems convinced that not even the market participants really understand them and focuses on having some fun, and quickly!
The sales managers are ogres, the bond salesmen themselves tortured heroes, or bastards, or idiots, or sometimes a combination of 2 or 3 of those, with some telepathic or clairvoyant skills thrown in if it will make things move along quicker. Revenge is sweet, and consumed often, served hot or cold. Stress nearly kills several characters, and ruins the life of many more. Relationships are as short and destructive as possible. But it's "cartoon violence" and the whole way the jokes keep coming thick and fast, and you're laughing so much that people are starting to ask what the hell you're reading!
It's a wild ride, and hard to get off once you're on board. Read it!
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Format: Paperback
I've read all of Bronson's books. Unlike earlier reviewers, I'm still partial to his fiction, and of the two books he's put out there, "Bombardiers" (vs. "The First $20 Million...") is by far the better work.
Yes, it's funny, it's biting, it has that "Catch 22" thing going on...but it's also *very* educational. Bronson really understands markets and does a great job here getting their complexities down on paper in an engaging, even riveting, way - even when it involves something as trivial as the office breakfast.
Very humorous and very highly recommended.
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By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I taught a business finance class this Spring and offered my students extra-credit for reading this book. My purpose was for them to learn more about finance while being entertained. This book is so funny that I shared it with friends (physics grad students) who loved it as much as I do.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't understand why this novel hasn't become a movie or isn't available in Kindle format, its brilliant and even more relevant today (post-GFC) than when it was written. I return to this book every few years just for the laughs it gives me. The story shows insight into corporate life, human nature, global economics and the absurdity of the world we live in - you don't have to work in financial markets to appreciate it. Idiots float to the top and the masses are pushed to and fro unaware of the forces that drive them, both within and without. Only when a person with the ability to stand back and appreciate how behavior in the 'here and now' that is focused on a narrow 'foreseeable future' fits within the context of the 'great scheme of things' does it gain perspective and grounding. It is a modern Emperor's New Clothes with a fast cadence that segues beautifully. Its the sort of book I want to buy every copy I come across.
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Format: Paperback
It was a filthy profession, but the money was addicting and one addiction led to another... and so the novel begins and takes you on a journey into the absurd world of high finance, where the stakes are high, the traders are insane, the institutional customers are glory-hungry hacks, and the money become the grease that that keeps its bizzare machine humming at breakneck velocity.
Bronsonsuccesfully takes the most absurd elements of high finance and weaves it into a cautionary tale of the price the new information economy extracts from its front-line foot soldiers. Sid's sales pitch of the Lincoln Convertible Bonds to a hapless fund manager alone is worth the price of the book -- where he browbeats and ridicules a timid portfolio manager into taking a $5 million position in a bond designed to finance the hostile takeover of a small ... country. Blisteringly hilarious, and darkly cynical it's the sort of work that good satirists should aspire to.

Outrageous and fun for thosein the industry ... and a fair warning for ambitious college students wanting a shot at the glory in the capital of capitalism of investment banking.
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