Summary and Info
Ferdinand Ward was the greatest swindler of the Gilded Age. Through his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. Grant and ran roughshod over the entire world of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes story is toldtold by his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.Ward was the Bernie Madoff of his day, a supposed genius at making big money fast on Wall Street who turned out to have been running a giant pyramid schemeone that ultimately collapsed in one of the greatest financial scandals in American history. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets of his own to keep, Ward came to New York at twenty-one and in less than a decade, armed with charm, energy, and a total lack of conscience, made himself the business partner of the former president of the United States and was widely hailed as the Young Napoleon of Finance. In truth, he turned out to be a complete fraud, his entire life marked by dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for anything but his own interests.Drawing from thousands of family documents never before examined, Geoffrey C. Ward traces his great-grandfathers rapid rise to riches and fame and his even more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions along the way; fast horses and crooked bankers and corrupt New York officials; courtroom confrontations and six years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinands desperate scheme to kidnap his own son to get his hands on the estate his late wife had left the boy. Here is a great story about a classic American con artist, told with boundless charm and dry wit by one of our finest historians.Review"[Ward] narrates a rollicking financial picaresque, but infuses it with psychological depth." ---Publishers Weekly Starred ReviewAbout the AuthorGeoffrey C. Ward is an author and screenwriter of various documentary presentations of American history. A former editor of American Heritage magazine, he wrote the television mini-series The Civil War with director Ken Burns and has collaborated with Burns on every documentary he has made since, including Jazz and Baseball. This work won him five Emmy Awards. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including five companion books to the documentaries he has written. A First-Class Temperament, his biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians. His biography Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson won the 2006 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Robertson Dean has recorded hundreds of audiobooks in most every genre. He's been nominated for several Audie Awards, won nine Earphones Awards, and was named one of AudioFile magazine's Best Voices of 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, where he records books and acts in film, TV, and (especially) on stage.
More About the Author
Geoffrey Champion Ward (born 1940) is an American editor, author, historian and writer of scripts for American history documentaries for public television.
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A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States 0 out of 5 stars based on 0 ratings.