INSIDE OUT by Dennis B. Levine


An Insider's Account of Wall Street
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 If the text at hand is any indicator, the apologies of Wall Streeters at the center of the insider-trading scandals of the 1980's will be even less revelatory and ingratiating than those of Watergate accomplices who rushed into print after serving their time. Despite the first-rate assistance of Hoffer (co-author of Not Without My Daughter, etc.), Levine recounts rather than reflects on his self-destructive career as an investment banker. With precious little going for him beyond ambition, a gift of gab, and analytic talent, the author, by dint of hard work, nonetheless broke into the clubby M&A (mergers and acquisitions) community, soon achieving superstar status at Drexel Burnham (home base for Michael Milken) with a guaranteed annual income topping $1 million. During his swift ascent, however, Levine was using privileged data obtained from employers and a network of informants to trade in the shares of companies involved in unannounced deals. In his case, crime paid handsomely, as he amassed profits of nearly $11.6 million in a clandestine offshore account. The author also fenced inside information to Ivan Boesky. Ironically, an anonymous tip, not a misstep, put the SEC on Levine's trail. Once he was brought to book, the author made possibly the best trade of his life, identifying co-conspirators in eventually justified hopes of a lenient sentence. Paradoxically, perhaps, Douglas Frantz provided in Levine & Co. (1987) a more tellingly detailed and thoughtful account of the author's fall. Apart from some perfunctory anguish over the pain he caused family and friends, Levine (who served 17 months of a three-year term in Club Fed) does not grapple with the implications of his breaches of trust. Indeed, he still seems outraged that US authorities could induce Bahamian bankers to give him up, and argues for certainty of detection as the most effective deterrent to market rigging. Nor does he offer any keen insights on notable colleagues and clients. The bottom line: pallid confessions from a scofflaw who seems to have only the vaguest perceptions of his misdeeds' significance. (Eight pages of photos--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-13655-X
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991


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