«Nuanced Portrait»

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The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich Daniel Ammann. St. Martin’s. $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-57074-3

An empathetic look at the notorious Marc Rich, one of the most successful and controversial commodities traders in recent history and a key figure in the invention of the spot market. With unparalleled access to Rich, his family and associates, business journalist Ammann paints a nuanced portrait of the man vilified for trading with Iran and apartheid-era South Africa, accused of being the biggest tax fraudster in U.S. history and recipient of an infamous presidential pardon. At the pinnacle of his power, Rich presided over a multinational empire, and his opinion on “key people in power” in various “rogue” nations was routinely, if clandestinely, sought by the State Department despite his criminal status. Rich has scrupulously guarded his personal history, but Ammann reveals the struggle it was—from his family’s escape from the Holocaust through their internment in a North African refugee camp to their bitter years as immigrants in the U.S. in the aftermath of WWII. This meticulous account sets the record straight on a reluctant public figure who lost in the court of public opinion, but escaped being tried in a court of law. Photos. (Oct.)

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