The Informant (Movie Tie-in Edition): A True Story

The Informant (Movie Tie-in Edition): A True Story

by Kurt Eichenwald

Paperback(Movie Tie-in)

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The Informant: A True Story 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Been_There_Done_That More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable!One doesn't often find a book that is both exciting and informative. So bizarre it's hard to believe it's a true story. The plot is riveting and totally unpredictable. The inside look at how the FBI and the Department of Justice work is fascinating, not to mention I had no idea people can make gazillions of dollars from manufacturing amino acids.I live in Minneapolis and have always wondered what Cargill makes. Had heard the name Archer Daniels Midland but had no idea what they did either. Now I know. Can't wait to see the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had purchased The Informant as a resource book for my next novel little knowing what an outstanding story lay within. I was quick to realize that the non-fiction book that I was reading read like a fiction thriller. Many times, as author Kurt Eichenwald vividly described the process of how the FBI groomed their informant, I realized that I was feeling both tense and anxious. I know that only a very powerful story could invoke those emotions in me. Needless to say The Informant proved an excellent book for me to read. The bonus for me was that I got all of the information I needed to craft my next fiction novel, which will deal with an FBI and Navy sting operation and an informant. I might add that The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre, recently released and on it's way to the bestseller list (see my review), deals with something similar to the Archer Daniels Midland anti trust case. In Le Carre's book it is the pharmaceutical-government complex that are the bad guys.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is hard to put down. It's a true story about price-fixing conspiracies in a giant corporation, embezzlement, buying political and media influence, and even how the notorious Nigerian oil scam sucked in a supposedly brilliant executive. Some corporate executives went to prison but the corporation survives as 'supermarket to the world'. I wonder if this story will ever be told on PBS by David Brinkley, now mouthpiece for the corporation??
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the antitrust case against Archer Daniels Midland for world-wide price fixing in lysine (a feed ingredient that makes animals grow more rapidly), the U.S. government relied on Mark Whitacre, an ADM executive. In legal terminology, he was playing the role of 'cooperating witness.' Eventually, three ADM executives would be sentenced to jail and a $100 million fine would be paid by the company to settle the case. But while Whitacre was cooperating at one level, he was not at many other levels. He informed the FBI of the conspiracy in the beginning, or there would have been no continuing investigation and no case. Although novels often have characters do things like that, it never happens in ordinary course. No executive in the middle of a price-fixing case had ever turned themselves in before. What a coup! Or was it? For something strange was going on. In the beginning, Whitacre had attracted the attention of the FBI by having reported to ADM that a competitor was sabotaging ADM's production of lysine with a virus. Soon in the investigation, Whitacre admitted to the FBI that this had never happened. Tipped off that Whitacre was flaky, the government relied on many lie detector tests and tape recordings to get the facts. What they never realized was that Whitacre couldn't tell a straight story if his life depended on it. Then came the biggest surprise. Just as the government took its case public, ADM came back with charges that Whitacre had been stealing millions of dollars from the company while serving as a cooperating witness with the government. The company was right, and Whitacre was successfully prosecuted for these thefts. ADM also tried to make the case that the FBI caused this to happen, but was rebuffed in its arguments. As a result of his double-dealing, Whitacre had blown his immunity agreement with the government and was one of the three ADM executives who were convicted of the price-fixing conspiracy. The story is written from the perspective of the FBI agents conducting the investigation. You will be fooled, along with them, as they pursue the case. It makes for the most complicated, convoluted set of events you can imagine. John Le Carre's stories are much simpler, by comparison. Although I had read about the case as it unfolded in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (where Eichenwald covered it), the details came as a surprise in many cases. Eichenwald has gotten access to a tremendous amount of raw material including 800 hours of interviews with 100 people, 10,000 plus pages of data including secret grand jury testimony, and transcripts from secret recordings made by Whitacre. As a result, he has created a detailed dialogue of key events that reads like a screenplay. You will feel like you are there. The techniques are like fiction, but the material is fact. I cannot resist pointing out that this book reaffirms the maxim that truth is always stranger than fiction. Here's the author's wrap-up on the lessons here: 'But in the end, it was Mark Whitacre -- a person who remains as puzzling as he is tragic -- who was most most damaged by his falsehoods.' Certainly, one question you will have is how ADM could put such a kook in charge of an important product area. I can only report that in my career as a management consultant, I have met a number of such fakes in the ranks of senior management of client companies. Reference checking would have spotted any one of these frauds, as it would have with Whitacre. He had lied about his academic background (apparently over a third of job applicants do). So ADM was sloppy. In this subject of how frauds get ahead in companies, Eichenwald had the chance to make this book a broad perspective on the weaknesses of the American corporation at the end of the 20th century. He passed on that opportunity, which diminishes the potential of this otherwise wonderful book. What surprised me was that the FBI continued to lend any credib
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was literally up all night reading this book. It might sound dry, but it is compelling, suspenseful and even funny. This is a fascinating psychological thriller, mystery, farce and business primer all rolled into one. One of the best books I've read in awhile -- and I read a lot!