Ammann's book on Marc Rich is essentially a wildly sycophantic PR effort, which attempts to compensate for what Ammann asserts as Rich's "PR advisers [having] not kept up with the times" (p. 139).
Straying more than a bit from pure `business journalism', Ammann at one point oddly fetes Rich with: "At seventy-four, Rich still exhibits the handsome features that made him such a good-looking man in his younger years. Once can see a strong resemblance to Rudolph Valentino [!!!!], the tragic star of the silent film era, in Rich's earlier photographs" (p.144).
The book contains countless factual errors regarding governments, regions and leaders of the world that traded with Rich. This work doesn't reveal the "hows" of Rich's methods so much as the "whys", all the while drawing an unnecessary mystique around Rich, his colleagues and enablers, and the state of commodity-backed global fiscal corruption in general.
Ammann maliciously labels Iran - which Marc Rich utilized under two regimes to build his oil trading wealth on - as an "anti-Semitic regime" that's hell-bent on destroying Israel, despite A) continued dealings between Iran and both Marc Rich & Co. then, as well as its current Swiss manifestation, Glencore, now; and B) tens of thousands of Jews living there for millennia without the kinds of pogroms or genocide insinuated by this agenda-ridden author.
As other reviewers also pointed out, Ammann treacherously floats that anti-Semitism drove the US prosecutor's legal campaign against Marc Rich. The author nonchalantly does so by having Rich confirm that such is the case, only to then include a brief, terse response from Sandy Weinberg in firm rebuttal as the end of it. This is gutter journalism at its worst.
Ammann lacks the legal background to lend credible analysis to the legal case against Rich, but doesn't let that stop him from trying to perceptually vindicate Rich nonetheless. He does so with essentially delayed caveats from some Ivy League tax law professors and Rich's own counsel, while in large part painting Rich as a wronged hard working immigrant who fled the Holocaust with nothing. The US prosecution team is painted as inept, even oafish amateurs with a clear axe to grind against a hardworking, focused, discreet, rich Jewish émigré.
Applying appalling reasoning, Ammann offers that "[i]f we are to follow the time-honored American tradition of `innocent until proven guilty', then Rich must be considered innocent." This, just after conceding that Rich's "case never had the opportunity to go to trial, as Rich never returned to the United States."
It's the equivalent of claiming that, technically film director Roman Polanski - another fugitive who fled US law - must also be considered innocent because, technically, he was never formally convicted.
Ammann further blatantly contradicts himself in reviewing the US legal case against Rich. In one instance, he claims: "It is the purpose of this book not to prove Rich's guilt or innocence but to pose questions and to point out the mistakes made throughout the entire affair by all sides" (p. 134). A mere seven pages later, however, Ammann proclaims: "Yet I am not convinced that Rich would actually have been found guilty in court. There is simply too much reasonable doubt surrounding his guilt. I have come to this decision after my conversations with members of the judiciary, diplomats, and other individuals directly involved in the case and after having viewed countless documents, some of which were confidential" [confidential to whom, exactly?!?]. Again, Ammann is not an attorney, but a Swiss-born and based journalist.
Additionally, Ammann fails to point out a core contradiction in Rich's statements versus Rich's behavior. At one point, Rich justified his dealings with Iran, Cuba and other red-flagged states with: "Business has nothing to do with politics" and "I'm not a political person. We were not a political company" and still "[b]usiness is neutral. You can't run a trading company based on sympathies." All of that said, Rich nonetheless contributed generously to the Israeli state and her intelligence imperatives as a key, deep-pocketed "sayan", and was gratuitously acknowledged/rewarded for doing so by leading Israeli politicians and military leaders.
These same leaders lobbied Bill Clinton personally and directly to pardon Rich - an illustrated process that remains the most telling content of the book.
Also, and despite his apparently matchless level of access, Ammann did not provide enough detail on Rich's companies' operations, nor on the global energy and commodity sector mechanisms that allowed for Rich to operate so fluidly. The book could've dwelled less on the cult-of-personality surrounding its subject, his colleagues and allies, and more on the vital issues involving the core commodity listed in the book's hubristic title.
Ultimately, Ammann did not write this book for the wider public, for aspiring business people, for Rich's progeny, or certainly for anyone curious about Rich's legal case. He wrote it as an act of genuflection towards the elite, who he certainly had unique access to and utilized in order to `re-brand' Marc Rich whilst nodding and winking at the wider, opaque global realm of commodity and currency trading he claims Rich invented in large part.