PONZI: The Man and His Legendary Scheme

Mitchell Zuckoff, Author
Mitchell Zuckoff, Author . Random $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6039-9
Reviewed on: 01/24/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-5386-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-1877-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1876-8
Ebook - 978-1-58836-448-7
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-0-8129-6836-1
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-1630-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07640-2
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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)

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