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Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation
Works of: Non-fiction
It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Enter a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz, who enticed hundreds of people to invest as much as $30 million – upward of $400 million today – in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. This rip-roaring tale of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man on the town, then on the lam, is not only a rich and detailed account of a man and an era; it’s a fascinating look at the methods of swindlers throughout history.
As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang-war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. As bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant. Leo Koretz was the Bernie Madoff of his day, and Dean Jobb shows us that the American dream of easy wealth is a timeless commodity.
“Among the few great biographies that read like a thriller …. Jobb is a master of narrative nonfiction on par with Erik Larson.” – Esquire, “The 50 Best Biographies of All Time”
“Intoxicating and impressively researched, Jobb’s immorality tale provides a sobering post-Madoff reminder that those who think everything is theirs for the taking are destined to be taken.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Comprehensively researched and enthralling …. High-stakes hijinks give the story a rollicking feel, but Jobb manages great poignancy, too …. This lively and sweeping account seems to have already given a master con artist his due, putting him in the ‘pantheon of pyramid-building swindlers.'” – The Washington Post
Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year
Winner, Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award
Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Best Canadian Nonfiction Book
Other books by Dean Jobb
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer
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