The first book on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International as the depository institution of choice for drug- dealers, gun-runners, terrorists, and other lawbreakers. Despite a comparatively narrow focus, the painstakingly documented text sets a high standard for the many entries sure to follow. Adams (a former Forbes editor) and Frantz (coauthor, Selling Out, 1989, etc.) devote the bulk of their report to a successful undercover investigation mounted by the US Customs Service in southern Florida. The sting operation broke up a money-laundering ring and produced hard evidence of BCCI's illicit activities long before government agencies in seven countries closed the bank's doors last summer. The authors nonetheless make a good job of recounting how the Arab-owned, Pakistani-run bank (founded in 1972) was organized to evade oversight by any one nation's regulatory authorities. Achievement of this objective, Adams and Frantz show, gave BCCI stewards more than enough rope to hang themselves as they resorted to Ponzi schemes, pitching shady accounts with secret ledgers, and other crimes to keep pace with the demands of investors or their cronies for credit and cash. BCCI apparently did a fair amount of legitimate business as well, but audits commissioned by the Bank of England finally exposed the extent of its deficits and misconduct, making a shutdown inevitable. The authors leave little doubt that BCCI was able to suborn or use pillars of the financial and political community in its zeal to expand, typically on the basis of undeclared equity interests. The ranks of the tarnished encompass the likes of Jimmy Carter, Clark Clifford, and Bert Lance. This sorry tale is not without heroes, though, including Sidney Bailey (Virginia's commissioner of financial institutions), Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, and New York City's D.A., Robert Morgenthau. The collapse of BCCI's house of marked cards seems certain to attract further editorial attention. Meanwhile, Adams and Frantz offer a primer that promises to measure up against further coverage.

Pub Date: March 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-72911-X

Page Count: 363

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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