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
"Eichenwald's punchy prose...keeps a listener's attention to the end." (AudioFile)
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.
I love a great story.
I found this book fascinating. It's a true story based on Mark Whitacre who was a whistle-blower on a huge corporation's price-fixing scheme in the 1990's. The only hitch was that Whitacre turned out to be a wee-bit bonkers. He had trouble staying grounded to reality as he lied, double-dealed and embezzled his way into millions of dollars and lots of legal troubles. Yet, Whitacre remains strangely sympathetic as a smart guy who got in over his head and went off the rails. Fun stuff! It's one of those books that are so fun that you don't want it to end.
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.
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.
World Champion Parallel Parker
The central figure of this immensely complicated tale is so cute and puppy-dog like ("Hey! Guys!") no wonder he gets away with everything! I wonder how much government dollars he cost . . . .
I listened to this book over several 3-5 hour drives. Twice I took it to bed with me. The story stayed in my mind over the couple of months I listened to it. How was it possible that such corruption was allowed? We all know about corporation greed, but when it comes down to the actions of individuals, it gets personal.
The author, the investigators, attorneys and judges all seemed truly amazed that one man could wreak such havoc on so many lives. In the end, I was still not sure if he ever "got it"...that he was not the victim and all his lies were not justified. I would say that only a psychopath could be so oblivious of others, but that still can not explain the actions of Mark Whitaker. Please read this book and explain it to me.
With the subject of business fraud and employee embezzlement the possibility of a boring read was strong. Especially because of the length of the book.
It turned into the opposite. The true story, the way it was written and read kept my attention throughout more than 25 hours of listening to the audio book over a period of several days.
So well done!
Kurt Eichenwald is an excellent writer and this is his best book. It is suspenseful and very human, showing the personalities and emotions of those involved. The facts are compelling, making this as much of a page-turner as the best works of fiction.
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.
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!
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