Den of Thieves, written by Pultizer-prize winner James Stewart, is a book about the 1980’s insider trading scandal that rocked the US financial markets. Stewart introduces the reader to the lives of the four central characters of this scandal- Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine. He takes us into the lives of these four players whose genius made them more wealthy and successful than most normal people can even imagine. Stewart avoids the temptation to paint a black and white picture of the actors in this Wall Street scandals, not only of people like Milken and Boesky but also prosecutors like Rudy Giuliani, but helps us understand how each of the players was motivated by their own reasons. The book is an interesting read of the rise and fall of the four major players as well as the actions of the prosecutors who brought them to justice.
I believe this is a great book for anyone interested in the financial markets, especially in topics related to the US stock market and insider trading. Unfortunately, the book assumes the reader of a good level of knowledge about financial economics. The tour of Wall Street is filled with a good bit of financial jargon and many references to investment banks. The book is certainly not written for somebody who doesn’t have basic knowledge of finance.
(If you are curious, here’s where the major players in the drama are now:
Michael Milken: Forbes 458th richest man in the world. More information about him is available on his website at http://www.mikemilken.com/.
Ivan Boesky: Divorced and broke, he now survives on an alimony he gets from his ex-wife.
Dennis Levine: He wrote the popular book “Inside Out: The Dennis Levine Story” and is still active in the finance world.
Martin Siegel: Couldn’t find anything about what he is doing now. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Rudy Guiliani: Well, I don’t need to say anything, do I? Former mayor of New York City and a front-runner candidate for President in the Republican Party.)