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Ponzi's Scheme
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About the Author

MITCHELL ZUCKOFF is a professor of journalism at Boston University. He is co-author of Judgment Ridge, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award, and author of Choosing Naia, a Boston Globe bestseller and winner of the Christopher Award. As a reporter with The Boston Globe, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of numerous national honors, including the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He lives outside Boston with his wife and two daughters.

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Ponzi's Scheme consists of three fascinating parallel stories. Charles Ponzi was a dapper, charismatic, debonair Italian immigrant who amassed $15 million by promising investors a 50 percent return on their money in 45 days. His "rob Peter to pay Paul" scam was exposed by the Boston Post in a Pulitzer Prize-winning report. The rise of the Post and its new second-generation editor, Richard Grozier, runs parallel to Ponzi's rise and fall. The third story is the love and devotion of Ponzi and his loyal wife, Rose. Grover Gardner reads very well; his voice portrays both Ponzi's confident bravado and Rose's modest demeanor. Recommended for all audio collections. Ilka Gordon, Park Synagogue Lib., Pepper Pike, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Before Charles Ponzi (1882-1949) sailed from Italy to the shores of America in 1903, his father assured him that the streets were really paved with gold-and that Ponzi would be able to get a piece. As journalist Zuckoff observes in this engaging and fast-paced biography, Ponzi learned as soon as he disembarked that though the streets were often cobblestone, he could still make a fortune in a culture caught in the throes of the Gilded Age. Zuckoff deftly chronicles Ponzi's mercurial rise and fall as he conjured up one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Charming, gregarious and popular, Ponzi devised and carried out the scheme that carries his name in 1920 in the open (and with a brief period of approval from Boston's newspapers and financial sector). Many investors did indeed double their investments, as Ponzi would use money of new investors to pay old investors, and Ponzi himself became a millionaire. Eventually, Zuckoff shows, the Boston Post uncovered this "robbing Peter to pay Paul" system (as it was then known), and Ponzi's life unraveled. Zuckoff provides not only a definitive portrait of Ponzi's life but also insights into immigrant life and the social world of early 20th-century Boston. (On sale Mar. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"This is the first full nonfiction account of the Ponzi scheme, and Mitchell Zuckoff . . . has made it as agreeable as the 'smiling, cane-twirling banty rooster of a man' behind it. . . . A history that is both solid and entertaining."
-Chicago Sun-Times

"In his charming book . . . Mitchell Zuckoff vividly recounts the story of Charles Ponzi [with] impressive research and elegant writing."
-Boston Sunday Globe "Thanks to Mitchell Zuckoff . . . who has given Ponzi exactly what he deserves: a thorough account of his life and a candid but sympathetic portrait."
-The Washington Post Book World "Zuckoff's biography of this charming rogue . . . provokes our wonder precisely because his subject is so brazen-and yet so naively captive to his own illusions."
-The Wall Street Journal

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