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The Predators' Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders Paperback – June 1, 1989


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The Predators' Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders + Den of Thieves + Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Updated edition (June 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140120904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140120905
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book gave me the answer.
Molly in Boston
The book includes a ton of information, yet is written in a conversational style that makes it easy to read.
Jack
This book also covers Michael the driving force behind Drexel Burnham and the King of the junk bond.
Melvin Hunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Fred on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, "Barbarians at the Gate" by Burrough and Helvar, and "Den of Thieves" by Stewart fully depict the defining events of Wall Street in the 1980's. Of this triumvirate, Ms. Connie Bruck's book is the only one that is more read than reported (both "Barbarians" and "Thieves" were written by WSJ reporters), and it really delves into the personal lives and backgrounds of the major players at Drexel. In reading this text you are provided with a full description and understanding of Milken and the driving forces behind the firm, above all, you understand the trap he worked himself into through his own success and how he wound up victimized by the financial system that he worked within.
My version of the text is labeled on the front cover as, "The Book Wall Street Couldn't Stop," in reference to attempts to prevent its publishing. I believe that those persons that wanted to do so are now content with their failure, as the book does a good job of explaining the brilliance of Milken, the market that he created and nurtured, and the catch-22 that led to his criminilization. As someone who works in banking, it is awe-inspiring to read the descriptions of Milken's deal-making capabilities and strategies, and at the same point disappointing to see how he slipped from operating in shades of grey to areas of wanting morals. The author does a very good job of illustrating the power Milken had within Drexel, how his office on the West Coast went from being a backwater to accounting for the bulk of the firms revenue, and how Milken's subsequent removal left Drexel crippled past the point of healing. The inter-office dynamics that Ms. Bruck writes on are present everywhere, but it is difficult to imagine anywhere that they are seen in such extremes.
I highly recommend this book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Don McNay on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was the first real insight into the world of junk bonds, Drexel Burham Lambert and what an important role they played in the business world. Written at a time when Drexel was at its peak, it was a groundbreaking, highly acclaimed book.
Connie Bruck ranks along with Joe Nocera as one of the world's best business writers. This book is tremendously readable and gives a balanced but insightful look at Michael Milken.
I came away from the book with the idea that Milken was a genius who earned his great fortune with 18 hour work days. and I still believe he had a tremendous and positive contribution to the world.
the Some of my friends came away from the book with the idea that Milken was a horrible human being who was ruining the country. The beauty of the book is that it you can read it and draw your own conclusions rather than a writer's preconceived ideas.
Buy it and read it again. It is worth always owning.
Don McNay...
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Format: Paperback
"Predator's Ball" follows the rise of the junk bond market, from Michael Milken's ambitions in the 1970s through Drexel Burnham's dominance of the market under Milken's leadership in the 1980s, including Drexel's controversial financing of high-profile hostile takeovers, to the beginning of legal trouble for Drexel in 1986. Author Connie Bruck interviewed hundreds of people over a 2 ½-year period, including Drexel employees and Drexel clients, to learn what went on inside "the Department", Drexel's mythic Beverly Hills junk bond offices. Bruck becomes increasingly critical of Michael Milken's tactics as the book progresses, but it is worth noting that she did not set out to write an exposé. Bruck approached the project with sympathies "more toward Milken and his band of renegades than toward the corporate establishment they were attacking", but years of peering inside the Department changed her mind. Regardless of where your sympathies lie, there is a lot of admirable research and fascinating detail in "The Predator's Ball".

The story of the junk bond market is the story of Michael Milken's single-minded rise to power. Milken WAS the market, as they say. Accordingly, most of "The Predator's Ball" is dedicated to Milken's ambition to fund a new generation of businesses with high-yield low-rated bonds ("junk bonds"), his creation of a department at Drexel that embodied his unique views of productivity and capitalism, and the ways and means to Drexel's utter domination of the junk bond market in the 1980s. Milken's larger than life presence is nearly absent, however, from the book's three longest chapters, which detail successful hostile raids financed by Drexel: Nelson Peltz and Peter May's buyout of National Can, Carl Icahn takes TWA, and Ron Perelman's acquisition of Revlon.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ken Waters on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of three must read books on the Michael Milken, Drexel Burnham Lambert 1970's & 80's era on Wall Street. Wonderful storytelling and accounting of the many deals financed with junk bonds by Milken & gang. The other two books, well written as well on Milken, are "Den of Thieves" by Pulitzer Prize winning WSJ writer James B. Stewart, written after Bruck's Ball, and "A License to Steal: The Untold Story of Micheal Milken and the Conspiracy to Bilk the Nation" by Benjamin J. Stein, written last of the three. Stay away from the fantasy work of Jesse Kornbluth's "Highly Confident -- The Crime and Punishment of Michael Milken". It's an authorized version of Milken's life, bought & paid for by Milken himself, who underwrote hatchet jobs on Bruck & Stein to discredit their stellar work.
The Predators' Ball does a great job of getting inside the various deals Milken pulled off and how they happened, along with a good history of Michael Milken. Amazing stuff, considering the multi-billion dollar nature of those deals... financed with nothing but junk. The sad thing is, is that if Milken had been caught in this current era of NO public tolerance for Wall Street misdeeds in 2002, he would be serving a hell of a lot more time then the mere 24 months he actually ended up doing on his ten year sentence. 98 counts, he cut a deal to plead guilty to six of them. He walked out of jail after a brief time of reflection, with his Billion$ still stached away in his foriegn bank accounts at his disposal. Crime did pay and pay well for Michael Milken. Stein's License to Steal book estimated that Milken generated some $24 Billion in commissions & fees, from obscene margins & unearthly volume. King of the Universe indeed... and walked away with a mere $1 Billion slap on the wrist fine and a few nights in jail. These three books are better than fiction or novels. History, in Wall Street storybook fashion. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
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