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Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer Hardcover – July 25, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
- Item Weight : 3 pounds
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0805079610
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805079616
- Dimensions : 6.42 x 1.27 x 9.42 inches
- Publisher : Times Books; First Edition (July 25, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,330,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The reader is supplied with Spitzer basics: wealthy upbringing, the best schools, good grades, etc. Given his background, he should have joined the club - the club that winks at financial shenanigans. But as a true believer in correct behavior, prosecutor, and later attorney general of New York, Spitzer became aware of cheating, collusion, and other assorted misdeeds among financial institutions and set out to do something about it.
The book is more or less a step-by-step account of several cases involving numerous companies, lawyers, analysts, brokers, CEOs, etc. The illegalities are often subtle and much debated, though the intent is always clear: make lots of money at the expense of the other guy. Conflicts are a big part of the author's story, not only with those that the AG's office was hounding, but with the SEC and other regulators. Not trusting the inaction of the SEC through the years, Spitzer's office constantly intruded on the SEC's turf and moved quickly to address the issues. The myriad players and details, some of which are presented better than others, get to be quite a chore to keep straight.
The author seems to assume that the reader will get to know Spitzer through his, or his proxy's, legal actions. But it is difficult to separate out Spitzer from the endless day-to-day detail of the cases. The reader gets snippets of Spitzer: a press conference, a document release, a decision made, etc. Beyond limitations on revealing Spitzer, one may have expected more general commentary and perspective on the questionable corporate actions. How widespread is cheating and collusion? And how much of that is technically legal? And why has there been so little action in regulating this? After all agencies are in place. Is American business really this degenerate?
The details tend to overwhelm the story, both the story of Eliot Spitzer and the greater story of corporate skullduggery. That is why the impact of the book is less than it could be. I'm certain that the only nomination for a Pulitzer prize will come from one of the earlier reviewers, who happens to hail from New York. New York insiders will probably enjoy the book simply to see who got caught, not to mention perhaps some minimal understanding of New York's next governor. It will be interesting to see if Spitzer has any lasting impact on corporate shenanigans and what the next chapter in his life will be.
Masters offers a balanced view of Spitzer's war against wall street. The gist of the book is Spitzer's background and education (rich, ivy league, privilleged) and his ambitious rise to NY Attorney General where he has whipped into shape Wall Street. In doing so, Spitzer has caught the ire of many people who beleive that he is trespassing on sacred SEC and federal government grounds.
Others feel Spitzer is doing the job the SEC SHOULD have been doing. Whether you like him or not, the book offers an interesting perspective into a rising politician and the reaons why he will probably never have a legitimate shot at the White House (hint, its for the same reasons he's been thus far succesful).