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The Informant | [Kurt Eichenwald]

The Informant

From an award-winning New York Times investigative reporter comes an outrageous story of greed, corruption, and conspiracy, which left the FBI and Justice Department counting on the cooperation of one man.
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Publisher's Summary

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 time Whitacre was cooperating with the Feds while playing the role of loyal company man, he had his own agenda he kept hidden from everyone around him: his wife, his lawyer, even the FBI agents who had come to trust him with the case they had put their careers on the line for. Whitacre became sucked into his own world of James Bond antics, imperiling the criminal case and creating a web of deceit that left the FBI and prosecutors uncertain where the lies stopped and the truth began.

A page-turning real-life thriller that features deadpan FBI agents, crooked executives, idealistic lawyers, and shady witnesses with an addiction to intrigue, The Informant tells an important and compelling story of power and betrayal in America.

©2000 Kurt Eichenwald; (P)2006 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Eichenwald's punchy prose...keeps a listener's attention to the end." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (82 )
5 star
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4.1 (38 )
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4.0 (37 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Simon Toronto, Ontario, Canada 12-21-10
    Simon Toronto, Ontario, Canada 12-21-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Conspiracy to bore you"

    If the author's goal was to put you to sleep, he knocked it out of the park. Unlike his previous novel, Conspiracy of Fools, this dramatization of a true story is about as engaging my kid's grade one performance of Swan Lake.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Ryan 12-15-10
    David Ryan 12-15-10 Listener Since 2007
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    "Greed, truly good reading"

    I am usually skeptical of true stories knowing that authors and movie producers needing to add drama stray far from the actual dry facts of the story. However, in The Informant I could not stop reading. The characters and their greediness could not have been more interesting if they had been made up. Unaware of the story of ADM???s crimes in the 1990???s I researched the case on the Internet and almost ruined the plot for myself. Eichenwald???s account is pure nonfiction.
    I was amazed at the simplemindedness of such powerful executives. They truly were not much different than the average person (not all of us, thank goodness) who think first of themselves and what they can get. Their high positions belie their basic unsophisticated methods for leading and directing large operations when greed takes over. The surprise was that such an important case as this was not more screwed up by powerful government officials, their political appointees, attorneys, and the FBI. In this story, the FBI were the good guys, as we expect them to be. The writing was not great literature but it was an excellent telling of the facts in the case. The characters had depth. I wondered what each thought of how they were portrayed.
    Now, maybe I will see the movie. Great story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JULIA Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-10-10
    JULIA Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-10-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Loved it!"

    It does read like a thriller, and trying to figure out whether the informant is for real or not kept me listening. I'd never have guessed I could become so engrossed in a tale about this bizarre line of business. The reporting and storytelling are excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob Oxford, AL, United States 12-12-13
    Jacob Oxford, AL, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Performance and Interesting Story"

    Narrator did a great job and made this detailed book very easy to listen to. This would have been a very "tedious" listen were it not for narrator.

    In a sentence, this book is about a man who balances being an FBI whistleblower, embezzler, and a company man all at the same time.

    Story was interesting and entertaining, just be prepared to get A LOT OF DETAIL! This isn't a quick listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Morphett Vale, Australia 09-07-11
    Phil Morphett Vale, Australia 09-07-11
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    "Great Story"

    If you've seen the Family Guy episode where Stewie keeps saying "cool hwip" then you'll understand what the narrator does for the whole twenty something hours of this audiobook.

    That, however, is the only thing I didn't like about it. It's an interesting and sometimes funny saga that had me struggling to get my head around the fact that this book is non-fiction. There are so many lies and twists that seem so unbelievable at times but if you don't let that frustrate you then you should enjoy the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 11-12-09
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 11-12-09 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WHAT A PIECE OF GARBAGE!"

    What a waste of time! After 2 months I could not get past the most boring part 1 I have ever suffered through. This reads like a court report. Don't bother!

    7 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karra French Frederick, MD, US 01-29-13
    Karra French Frederick, MD, US 01-29-13
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    "Great story, poor narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was a good story that I'm happy to have more knowledge of; however, the actual act of listening to it was painful at times.


    What other book might you compare The Informant to and why?

    Devil in the White City. Both stories are told in more of a "news article" fashion that an actual story.


    How could the performance have been better?

    This narrator pronounces the 'H' in words such as "what," "where," "when" and so on. It is incredibly distracting, and extremely annoying. I also felt like he did not read the book before the recording. His inflection was off in so many areas, that I often found myself repeating a line he had just read in my own head, with proper inflection, just to make sense of the situation. He seems to only have two variations of his voice - deep, gruff 'mafia' style, and high pitched 'suck up' style. Oh, and he tries to do an Asian and German accent at times, and it's terrible. It makes me wonder if anyone even auditioned this guy. I will probably also physically read the book, because I found his style so distracting and hard to follow.


    Do you think The Informant needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. It is non-fiction.


    Any additional comments?

    I am more than 20 hours into the audio, and the narrator's voice still disrupts my experience (I have found other narrators distracting at times, but as I got further into the book I noticed it less and less). He really ruins this story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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