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The Informant: A True Story Paperback – July 3, 2001
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-- Jonathan Harr, A Civil Action
"The Informant is superb reporting in the service of a great story, one with the drama and suspense of a Le Carré novel. Set squarely in the American heartland, delving into the inner sanctum of a global corporation, it explores the shifting boundaries of truth and deception, loyalty and betrayal. It is a remarkable achievement."
-- James B. Stewart, Den of Thieves and Blind Eye
"The twists and turns of this nonfiction work leave many thrillers in the dust. Eichenwald's spare prose and journalistic eye for detail make the pages fly."
-- David Baldacci, Absolute Power and Saving Faith
"I would say The Informant reads like Grisham, only nobody ever could have invented these characters. A tale this riveting and this strange could only have been built from truth."
-- Sherry Sontag, coauthor, Blind Man's Bluff
From the Inside Flap
It was one of the FBI's biggest secrets: a senior executive with America's most politically powerful corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, had become a confidential government witness, secretly recording a vast criminal conspiracy spanning five continents. Mark Whitacre, the promising golden boy of ADM, had put his career and family at risk to wear a wire and deceive his friends and colleagues. Using Whitacre and a small team of agents to tap into the secrets at ADM, the FBI discovered the company's scheme to steal millions of dollars from its own customers.
But as the FBI and federal prosecutors closed in on ADM, using stakeouts, wiretaps, and secret recordings of illegal meetings around the world, they suddenly found that everything was not all that it appeared. At the same
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 656 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0767903277
- ISBN-13 : 978-0767903271
- Product Dimensions : 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Broadway Books; 1st Edition (July 3, 2001)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #524,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Very long and too much details that I felt wasn't too interesting in places. I viewed a video of Mark Whitacre on Utube since he was released from prison. Hope he can stay focused now on his mission about Bi-Polar condition. Also a movie about this book staring Matt Damon.
Great story and worth the time it takes to read.
The basic story, that the large agri-business Archer Daniels Midland - ADM - was caught in an international price-fixing scam for food additives would merit coverage in Business Week but little else. The key to the story is the informant himself, Mark Whitacre, the President of one of ADM's largest and most successful divisions. Manipulative, deceitful, delusional, sociopathic ... these are accurate but inadequate descriptions of the man who sucked ADM, the FBI and the DOJ into a five-year whirlwind, played out on the headlines of every newspaper in the country; he will suck you in, too.
Who hasn't wondered what kind of knucklehead responds to those crazy scam letters and emails from Nigeria? Actually, so many Americans with access to large amounts of cash responded in the 1980s and 1990s that the FBI had to set up a special liaison office in Lagos to deal with them. Meet Mark Whitacre: brilliant biochemist, builder and President of a hugely successful division of a multi-national corporation; and hopelessly entangled by his crazy belief that he could hit the jackpot by aiding corrupt Nigerian officials. And more, much, much more.
The story will sweep you along, from one unbelievable plot twist to another, not reaching a crescendo until the very end. Great fun. But also a great testament to the American justice system. Battered on all sides by the media and politicians and wealthy corporate defendants and with an utterly unreliable witness, the FBI and the DOJ persevere and see their case through to what seems like a very satisfactory conclusion, all the compromises and plea bargains notwithstanding.
Eichenwald deserves great credit: not only for his real-time coverage of the story in the New York Times and the writing of this brilliant book, but also for the fact that he nearly simultaneously was covering the astonishing demise of Bache Halsey Stuart Shields in the Serpent On The Rock, another amazingly readable true story of human frailty.
this author recounts so masterfully.
Top reviews from other countries
Excellent. Highly recommended.
Overall I enjoyed the book but I found it rather long. It literally was the fact that it described a true story (in perhaps such great detail to be a bit incredulous) that prompted me to carry on.
The author demonstrated an impressive commitment to the story that helped, but I think the volume of research overwhelms the ability to tell the story in a succinct manor.