God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican

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A deeply reported, New York Times bestselling exposé of the money and the clerics-turned-financiers at the heart of the Vatican—the world’s biggest, most powerful religious institution—from an acclaimed journalist with “exhaustive research techniques” (The New York Times).

From a master chronicler of legal and financial misconduct, a magnificent investigation nine years in the making, God’s Bankers traces the political intrigue of the Catholic Church in “a meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican’s legendary, enabling secrecy” (Kirkus Reviews). Decidedly not about faith, belief in God, or religious doctrine, this book is about the church’s accumulation of wealth and its byzantine financial entanglements across the world. Told through 200 years of prelates, bishops, cardinals, and the Popes who oversee it all, Gerald Posner uncovers an eyebrow-raising account of money and power in one of the world’s most influential organizations.

God’s Bankers has it all: a revelatory and astounding saga marked by poisoned business titans, murdered prosecutors, and mysterious deaths written off as suicides; a carnival of characters from Popes and cardinals, financiers and mobsters, kings and prime ministers; and a set of moral and political circumstances that clarify not only the church’s aims and ambitions, but reflect the larger tensions of more recent history. And Posner even looks to the future to surmise if Pope Francis can succeed where all his predecessors failed: to overcome the resistance to change in the Vatican’s Machiavellian inner court and to rein in the excesses of its seemingly uncontrollable financial quagmire. “As exciting as a mystery thriller” (Providence Journal), this book reveals with extraordinary precision how the Vatican has evolved from a foundation of faith to a corporation of extreme wealth and power.
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About the author

Gerald Posner was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He is the author of eleven books, including New York Times bestsellers, and one a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. Posner has written dozens of articles for national magazines and papers and has been a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, author Trisha Posner.

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Additional Information

Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 3, 2015
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Business & Economics / Banks & Banking
History / Modern / 20th Century
Religion / Christianity / Catholic
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Art of War is almost certainly the most famous study of strategy ever written and has had an extraordinary influence on the history of warfare. The principles Sun-tzu expounded were utilized brilliantly by such great Asian war leaders as Mao Tse-tung, Giap, and Yamamoto. First translated two hundred years ago by a French missionary, Sun-tzu’s Art of War has been credited with influencing Napoleon, the German General Staff, and even the planning for Desert Storm. Many Japanese companies make this book required reading for their key executives. And increasingly, Western businesspeople and others are turning to the Art of War for inspiration and advice on how to succeed in competitive situations of all kinds. Unlike most editions of Sun-tzu currently available (many simply retreads of older, flawed translations), this superb new translation makes use of the best available classical Chinese manuscripts, including the ancient “tomb text” version discovered by archaeologists at Linyi, China. Ralph Sawyer, an outstanding Western scholar of ancient Chinese warfare and a successful businessman in his own right, places this classic work of strategy in its proper historical context. Sawyer supplies a portrait of Sun-tzu’s era and outlines several battles of the period that may have either influenced Sun-tzu or been conducted by him. While appreciative of the philosophical richness of the Art of War, this edition stresses Sun-tzu’s practical origins and presents a translation that is both accurate and accessible.
In 1959, twenty-nine-year-old Berry Gordy, who had already given up on his dream to be a champion boxer, borrowed eight hundred dollars from his family and started a record company. A run-down bungalow sandwiched between a funeral home and a beauty shop in a poor Detroit neighborhood served as his headquarters. The building’s entrance was adorned with a large sign that improbably boasted “Hitsville U.S.A.” The kitchen served as the control room, the garage became the two-track studio, the living room was reserved for bookkeeping, and sales were handled in the dining room. Soon word spread that any youngster with a streak of talent should visit the only record label that Detroit had seen in years. The company’s name was Motown.
Motown cuts through decades of unsubstantiated rumors and speculation to tell the true behind-the-scenes narrative of America’s most exciting musical dynasty. It follows the company and its amazing roster of stars from the tumultuous growth years in Detroit, to the drama and intrigue of Hollywood in the 1970s, to resurgence in 2002.
Set against the civil rights movement, the decay of America’s northern industrial cities, and the social upheaval of the 1960s, Motown is a tale of the incredible entrepreneurship of Berry Gordy. But it also features the moving stories of kids from Detroit’s inner-city projects who achieved remarkable success and then, in many cases, found themselves fighting the demons that so often come with stardom—drugs, jealousy, sexual indulgence, greed, and uncontrollable ambition.
Motown features an extraordinary cast of characters, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder. They are presented as they lived and worked: a clan of friends, lovers, competitors, and sometimes vicious foes. Motown reveals how the hopes and dreams of each affected the lives of the others and illustrates why this singular story is a made-in-America Greek tragedy, the rise and fall of a supremely talented yet completely dysfunctional extended family.
Based on numerous original interviews and extensive documentation, Motown benefits particularly from the thousands of pages of files crammed into the basement of downtown Detroit’s Wayne County Courthouse. Those court records provide the unofficial—and hitherto largely untold—history of Motown and its stars, since almost every relationship between departing singers, songwriters, producers, and the label ended up in litigation.
From its peaks in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Motown controlled the pop charts and its stars were sought after even by the Beatles, through the inexorable slide caused by their failure to handle their stardom, Motown is a riveting and troubling look inside a music label that provided the unofficial soundtrack to an entire generation.

From the Hardcover edition.
"Fascinating . . . Posner’s book gives a remarkable insight, from a family perspective, into the lives of many of the top Nazis and vilest criminals"                            

– Sunday Express

"A mesmerizing, blood-chilling book . . . The contrast between innocent childhood experience, and the awful understanding of that experience that came with time, is enough to make you weep"

– Los Angeles Times

"Fascinating . . . A compelling look at the conflicting emotions felt by children of prominent Nazis" 

– Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"They were the architects of terror but they were also fathers. Now, for the first time, their children speak out . . . a fascinating book"  

– Sunday Mail

Göring. Hess. Mengele. Dönitz. Names that conjure up dark memories of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. They were the architects of the Third Reich. And they were fathers. Gerald Posner convinced eleven sons and daughters of Hitler’s inner circle to break their silence. 

Hitler’s Children is a riveting and intimate look inside the families of top Nazis. Based on exclusive and in-depth interviews, Gerald Posner provides an unforgettable portrait of some children ravaged by anger and hatred while others are riven with guilt and plead for forgiveness. 

This second generation of perpetrators in Hitler’s Children struggle with their Third Reich inheritance. In grappling with memories of good and loving fathers who were later charged with war crimes, these heirs to the Nazi legacy add a fresh and important perspective to understanding the complexity of what historian, Hannah Arendt, dubbed “the banality of evil.”

Hitler’s Children is much more, however, than a series of startling family interviews. It is also a spellbinding insider’s look at some of the men whose names have become synonymous with terror.

This is a classic book about the second generation of Nazi perpetrators (the only one ever to have family interviews with Hess, Mengele, Donitz, and Göring.) No other book author or documentarian ever got those children to talk again. And Norman Frank, the eldest son of war criminal Hans Frank, also never spoke to anyone but Posner.

Hitler’s Children serves as a vivid reminder to all of us of the dangers of ignoring anti-Semitism or thinking it will go away or can't get any worse. These are the children who saw their fathers corrupted by the insidious, centuries-old hatred, and their accounts serve as a clarion warning to us today that all decent people must redouble their efforts against racial and religious hatred. 

The book, perhaps more timely today than when it was published in 1991, includes a new introduction, explaining why this book is particularly important during a time of rising international anti-Semitism.  

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