Download e-book for kindle: A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son by Geoffrey C. Ward

By Geoffrey C. Ward

Ferdinand Ward was once the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. furnish and ran roughshod over the full international of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told by means of his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.

Ward was once the Bernie Madoff of his day, a meant genius at making mammoth cash speedy on Wall road who became out to were operating a massive pyramid scheme—one that eventually collapsed in a single of the best monetary scandals in American historical past. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets and techniques of his personal to maintain, Ward got here to long island at twenty-one and in under a decade, armed with allure, power, and a complete loss of moral sense, made himself the enterprise companion of the previous president of the USA and was once generally hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” truthfully, he grew to become out to be a whole fraud, his complete lifestyles marked by means of dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for whatever yet his personal interests.

Drawing from millions of kin files by no means ahead of tested, Geoffrey C. Ward strains his great-grandfather’s speedy upward push to riches and status and his much more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions alongside the best way; quick horses and crooked bankers and corrupt manhattan officers; court confrontations and 6 years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand’s determined scheme to kidnap his personal son to get his arms at the property his past due spouse had left the boy. here's a nice tale a few vintage American con artist, instructed with boundless allure and dry wit by way of considered one of our most interesting historians.

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Wherever human beings are forced to deal with each other under conditions of weak legal authority, the Monster lurks. ” They could be subdued only by law. They had to understand secret slang and symbolic affronts and maneuver through the endless nicknames and aliases. ” They had to be able to unravel the tangle of relationships surrounding each case—that dense weave of homeys, “fiancés,” baby daddies, and road dogs. The homicide detectives had to learn how to pull bureaucratic levers rusted shut from years of indifference, had to work fast and effectively, juggling multiple cases.

People— disproportionately black men—were left paralyzed, comatose, brain injured, or forced to spend the rest of their lives using colostomy bags. Among “category one” assaults in Watts in 2004, for example—serious injury cases—only about 17 percent ended with an assailant convicted. The atmosphere this created was in the air Glory Massey breathed. Beneath the most serious unsolved and unprosecuted assaults thrummed an ocean of lesser crimes, often unreported ones. People were punched and kicked.

And if people had no claim to family ties at all, they invented them. Terms such as “play sister” and “play cousin” were ubiquitous all over South Central and had an important role in organizing social life. It lent the constant calls for “the community to come together” a touch of absurdity. Watts already had more togetherness than most Americans could tolerate. ” This term referred to unemployed, criminally involved men, and gang members, especially black ones. Blacks “could better their lives, but they don’t,” said one officer of Hispanic ethnicity.

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