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 A vicious, hilarious satire of bond traders and, by extension, the prevailing mindset of corporate America. This audacious first novel (by a former salesman for First Boston) echoes the biting tone of Catch-22. Rather than cogs in an absurd war machine, however, Bronson's protagonists are desk-bound hustlers trying to sell complicated and shady corporate bonds to the gullible or to those who know the government will bail them out when the bonds go belly-up. Caught in a cycle of making outrageous commissions for meeting outrageous quotas, the traders at Atlantic Pacific push themselves to physical and psychological ruin just to keep up. Sid Geeder loathes every new bond that management forces him to sell; because he hates the whole racket, he tries to bankrupt it by moving as many bonds as possible--which perpetually keeps him at the top of the heap as ``King of Mortgages.'' Geeder's position is threatened by Eggs Igino, a young hotshot who is such a good salesmen that he palms off breakfast futures on his fellow traders. But Iginio's genius leads him to the radical thought that maybe the bonds in which corporate America wallows are not ethical, a conclusion that creates a crisis for Sid and the entire firm. This couldn't come at a worse time, as Atlantic Pacific is trying to float bonds on the Dominican Republic in order to claim the nation as a corporation, then take it over and exploit its assets. Fast-paced, enlivened by a cast of odd yet believable characters, Bronson's debut is filled with wit and storytelling sleight of hand that will have readers alternating tears of laughter with tears of despair over the state of our financial institutions. Required reading for politicians and financiers, in hopes that it will make them think twice about the way they're mortgaging America's future. Required reading for everyone else, just because it's so much fun. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-43541-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994


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