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"The FBI was ready to take down America's most politically powerful corporation. But there was one thing they didn't count on."
So reads the cover of this high-powered true crime story, an accurate teaser to a bizarre financial scandal with more plot twists than a John Grisham novel. In 1992 the FBI stumbled upon Mark Whitacre, a top executive at the Archer Daniels Midland corporation who was willing to act as a government witness to a vast international price-fixing conspiracy. ADM, which advertises itself as "The Supermarket to the World," processes grains and other farm staples into oils, flours, and fibers for products that fill America's shelves, from Jell-O pudding to StarKist tuna. The company's chairman and chief executive, Dwayne Andreas, was so influential that he introduced Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev, and it was his maneuvering that ensured that high fructose corn syrup would replace sugar in most foods (ever wondered why Coke and Pepsi don't taste quite like they used to?). There were two mottoes at ADM: "The competitors are our friends, and the customers are our enemies" and "We know when we're lying." And lie they did. With the help of Whitacre, the FBI made hundreds of tapes and videos of ADM executives making price-fixing deals with their corrivals from Japan, Korea, and Canada, all while drinking coffee and laughing about their crimes. The tapes should have cinched the case, but there was one problem: Their star witness was manipulative, deceitful, and unstable. Nothing was as it seemed, and the investigation into one of the most astounding white-collar crime cases in history had only just begun.
Kurt Eichenwald, an investigative reporter, covered the story for The New York Times and interviewed more than 100 participants in the case. He methodically records the six-year investigation, leaving no plot twist or tape transcript unexplored. While his primary focus is on deconstructing the disturbed Whitacre and revealing the malleability of truth, the portrait of ADM (and even the Justice Department) is damning enough to make anyone a cynic. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The Informant is epic in scope, a tale of human foibles--of greed, deceit, and arrogance--and also of the search for truth. Eichenwald has told it masterfully, with the narrative drive of a novel. I guarantee it'll keep you reading late into the night."
-- Jonathan Harr, A Civil Action
"The Informant is superb reporting in the service of a great story, one with the drama and suspense of a Le Carré novel. Set squarely in the American heartland, delving into the inner sanctum of a global corporation, it explores the shifting boundaries of truth and deception, loyalty and betrayal. It is a remarkable achievement."
-- James B. Stewart, Den of Thieves and Blind Eye
"The twists and turns of this nonfiction work leave many thrillers in the dust. Eichenwald's spare prose and journalistic eye for detail make the pages fly."
-- David Baldacci, Absolute Power and Saving Faith
"I would say The Informant reads like Grisham, only nobody ever could have invented these characters. A tale this riveting and this strange could only have been built from truth."
-- Sherry Sontag, coauthor, Blind Man's Bluff
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
The story starts out as a somewhat interesting investigation of Archer Daniels Midland price fixing, and then delves into the fascinating web of deceipt, back stabbing, and a... Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2003 by Derrick Peterman
Definitely not Grisham, but all of the intrigue is still there. In fact, many of the events that take place would never fly in a fiction work...they'd be thought too outrageous. Read morePublished on April 7 2003 by Mike Winter
If you like to read books about business and industry this is a superb book to read it is unbelieveabe that the informant the person bookis abouut could be such a moron and have... Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2002 by T. A Kelley
Even though not as fascinating as Kurt Eichenwald's previous masterpiece...Serpent on the rock; the Prudential Financial Insurance Company's billion dollar fraud... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2002
This true story of the fall of ADM is engaging and captivating. If you have any interest in big business and how it impacts on everyday life of everyday people, you will enjoy... Read morePublished on June 25 2002 by Eugene
I had never heard of the company ADM, but now it will stay with me forever. A gripping true white-collar crime story - so incredible that it is hard to believe that it is actually... Read morePublished on June 14 2002 by Isabella K. Badenoch
I've always enjoyed a book about a good financial scandal, ever since I read a Penguin paperback in the mid-sixties about Tony DiAngelis and the Great Salad Oil Swindle. Read morePublished on June 9 2002 by Robin