The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. Ammann, Daniel (author). Oct. 2009. 320p. illus. hardcover, $26.99 (9780312570743). 381. REVIEW.
Marc Rich came to the U.S. as a poor Jewish Holocaust refugee and became one of the world’s richest and most powerful commodities traders, single-handedly breaking the lock on the oil market held by the cartel of Big Oil by inventing the first fully functioning spot oil market. Yet he is not known the world over for his vast entrepreneurial achievements, but rather for fleeing the country in 1983 to avoid charges of tax evasion, and for the controversial last-minute pardon by President Clinton in 2001. For the first time, Rich speaks out about his career, his private life, and the case that cost him his reputation, his wife, and his company. Ammann gives a fair and balanced portrait of this shrewd businessman, who was attacked for political gain by zealous prosecutors, vilified in the media, and dogged by U.S. Marshals, who attempted for 17 years to kidnap him illegally. While the moral debate about Rich’s activities will surely continue, Ammann presents a compelling story of a life of intrigue, espionage, and brazen chutzpah. David Siegfried