The sorry tale of a clash between two jeans-makers, which, while lacking an obvious moral, affords object lessons on what can happen when vengeful capitalists go berserk. Byron (The Fanciest Dive, 1986, etc.) provides a savvy rundown on the origins and sordid details of the perdurable battle that has pitted the three Nakash brothers (who own Jordache) against four Marciano brothers (the founders of Guess). There's no summarizing the labyrinthine and shamefully expensive hostilities, but the fates of the feuding families of Ã‰migrÃ‰ Jews became inextricably intertwined when Manhattan-based Jordache, an already successful enterprise, acquired half the equity in its cash-strapped L.A. counterpart for $4.7 million during the early 1980's. Shortly thereafter, however, Guess became a marketplace hit on its own by dint of suggestive ads and sexy products. With big money rolling in, the Marcianos concluded they had been cheated and sued for the return of their shares. To hedge the court bet, the plaintiffs also sicked the I.R.S. on Jordache, whose offices were duly raided by gun-toting government agents. Responding in kind, the vindictive Nakashes not only took legal action but also hired a shady private detective whose law-enforcement connections enabled him to instigate both IRS and congressional probes targeting Guess. With accusations of criminal misconduct flying from all quarters, G-men were forced to investigate charges of corruption within their own ranks--which had expanded to encompass customs, immigration, and tax operatives as well as prosecutors. Although in 1990 the basic case was settled after a fashion, the bicoastal conflict remains alive and kicking thanks to ongoing litigation. Even with no end in sight, the dirty business raises disturbing issues, including that of the relative ease with which well-heeled commercial interests induced putative public servants to pursue industry rivals. A first-rate and stylish account of corporate chicanery and reprisal that's as engrossing as it is nauseating.