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Payback: Conspiracy to Destroy Michael Milken and His Financial Revolution, The Paperback – Bargain Price, October 9, 1996


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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 9, 1996
$26.24 $14.59

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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • ISBN-10: 088730804X
  • ASIN: B000H2MLSU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,471,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Junk-bond pioneer Michael Milken, who was convicted in 1990 of unlawful stock transactions and spent two years in prison, actually committed no crimes at all, contends Fischel, a University of Chicago economist and consultant whose clients have included Milken and other Wall Street figures. The 1980s' wave of hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts that was spearheaded by Milken made his now defunct firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, the most profitable investment bank. In Fischel's provocative analysis, such old-line Wall Street firms as Lazard Freres, Salomon Brothers and Dillon, Read, thirsting for revenge and eager to restore their diminished positions, joined forces with big labor, which feared a massive loss of jobs, to instigate a government-backed witch hunt that scapegoated Milken and other high-rolling investors such as John Mulheren Jr., Boyd Jefferies and Robert Freeman. In ambitious U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani (now NYC mayor), this coalition found an ally who waged an ill-informed, unscrupulous assault on the junk-bond industry, writes Fischel, who contends that the overzealous government redefined routine, even beneficial trading practices as illegal. This is a remarkable, bound-to-be-controversial reappraisal of the so-called financial revolution of the 1980s.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Economist Fischel asserts that Michael Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert were responsible for an enormous sea change in financial innovation on Wall Street that affected countless corporate restructurings and resulted in the creation of vast wealth for U.S. and foreign investors. These are not necessarily bad things unless you happen to have powerful enemies like Rudolph Guiliani who vow to bring you down. In writing an in-depth look at what really happened in the Eighties, Fischel talked with all the participants and studied the court records and government testimony. He feels there was a conspiracy to bring down Milken and Drexel involving Wall Street competitors, U.S. business, and even the government. In this persuasive account, Fischel argues that "the so-called Wall Street and savings & loan scandals of the 1980's wouldn't have occurred if the government hadn't intervened." Recommended for larger nonfiction collections in public libraries.?Richard Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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To me this was the main impetus for buying this book and an integral key to the main subject of this story.
D. Kamp
If you know a little bit about free market economics and a little bit about investing then you should find this book very accessible.
Doug
Fischel does an excellent job of explaining how Milken threatened the iron triangle of Big Business, Big Unions, and Big Government.
Andrew J. Kunian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By V. Papa on April 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Fischel does an excellent job explaining what exactly happened with high-yield financing by Drexel Burham Lambert (Milken) in the 1980's. The book also goes into great detail about how Milkens financing of raiders helped evict the "entrenched" risk averse management of many US companies. These managers filled with anger and evny, join with their former college buddies (such as Nick Brady) to form an unholy alliance and stop Milken, Pickens, Icahn and their ilk. Mr. Fischel also describes in great detail of how a zealous prosectuor named Guiliani stopped at nothing to get Milken, et. al so he could boost his chances at the 1989 mayoral race in NYC. Fischel also speaks of some anti-semitism that might have been behind this. The book doesn't make apologies for most of what transpired on Wall St. in this era. Fischel declares Boesky and Levine to be "crooks" and shows no quarter when it comes to any of the other thieves who profited from insider trading. However, he justifies what Milken did to improve the US economy both then and now. The book also talks about Keating and the S&L problem. A great book, I couldn't put it down!!!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By houseofcommerce@ibm.net on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Payback - the conspiracy to destroy Michael Milken and his financial revolution is an outstanding book that changes your way of thinking about the american dream, the junk bond decade and I recommend it unconditionally to anyone who is willing to have a lot of conventional wisdom and preconceived ideas turned around.
The author starts with a strange question - is there something like too much wealth ? Is it embarassing to earn too much money in a short period of time. Is there something like if you are born like this you must utmost become that ?
This book is a story about a man who I believe was on the way to become the most important financial thinker in our 20th century, a man whou should be seen as a scholar more than as a businessman, in particular because he prooved what scholars before him erected as a hypothesis.
His crime: working unnormally long hours, thinking the impossible paths of financing, not considering the estalished rights of normal banks (which would after him cease to exist) and not bending over to the politicians who turned an industry, that should have been killed in the early 80s into a nightmare of dimensions never heard of before. Milken just helped to open ways to a new wave of shareholder- value-oriented management, and he helped to get the best result out of the S&L legislation, in principle just the way the politicians wanted it - only that they wanted to reverse everything after they had seen what had gone completely wrong,much too late at a much too high cost.
I admit I have always liked Mr Michael Milken, already in the late 80s, when he was convicted, beacause the accusations seemed not plausible.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1996
Format: Hardcover
This book describes eloquently how Michael Milken and the junk
bond market that he pioneered in the US created wealth despite
all the populist reports to the contrary. Fischel shows how
high yield bonds led to a huge increase in share holder wealth
and to productivity gains in American companies - gains that
eventually made these companies world beaters in the 90's.

This market, however, was destroyed by over zealous regulators
who frequently disregarded the civil liberties of junk bond
practitioners and in particular Michael Milken. Indeed, Fischel
compares the prosecution of Milken and his cohorts to the
McCarthy era excesses of the fifties; and he makes a convincing
case.

Many of the so called "crimes" to which Milken pled guilty
were technical violations and they may not have even
been that. The author shows how Milken compromised in the face
of continual and unscrupulous government and press harrasment.
Despite his compromise, and the nebulous nature of his "crimes"
he was sent to prison. In short, Milken was ruthlessly made
a scapegoat for "the decade of greed"; his real crime
being that he had made a fortune.

Milken was certainly not the only victim, however.
Those who worked in this market often came from outside the
blue blood financial establishment and were resented for it.
Lisa Jones, for example, was a teenage runaway who had made
something of her life against all odds. She served a prison
sentence for allegedly perjuring herself in a description
of events that the courts eventually found were not a crime.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally a book written by someone who understands capital markets as opposed to journalists-turned-financial experts (e.g., "Predators Ball"), catering to popular sentiment (it's book sales, stupid!) and demonstrating astonishing financial naivity. Professor Fischel's account of Milken's financial innovation may never score big with general public, but it is a must-read for all finance practitioners and, hopefully, government officials, including NYC mayor.
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