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The Wealth of Shadows

por Graham Moore

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414619,188 (4.5)1
"1939. Ansel Luxford has everything a man could want-a law firm partnership in Minneapolis, a brilliant wife, a beautiful new baby. But he is consumed by his belief that the war in Europe will spread, despite the fact that the United States is neutral in the conflict. When he is offered an opportunity to move across the country to Washington, D.C., to join a clandestine team within the Treasury Department that is secretly trying to undermine Nazi Germany, he uproots his family overnight and takes on the challenge of a lifetime. To thwart the Nazis without firing a bullet, Ansel and his new team invent a powerful new kind of economic warfare. As the U.S. remains officially neutral, Ansel secretly crisscrosses the globe to broker backroom deals designed to cut off the German supply of gold; undertake a daring heist of intel suppressed by homegrown fascists within the American government; and spar with titans of industry like J.P. Morgan and the twentieth century's greatest economic mind, Britain's John Maynard Keynes. But money is a dangerous weapon, and Ansel's efforts will plunge him into a startling new world of espionage, peril, and deceit. The need for subterfuge extends to the home front when Ansel's wife takes a job with the FBI to hunt for spies within the government. And Ansel discovers that he might be closer to those spies than he could ever imagine"--… (mais)
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This is a different kind of spy thriller because it is grounded in economics theory and based on real people. As conditions deteriorated in Germany in 1939, Midwestern accountant Ansel Luxford and his wife became increasingly concerned about the inhumanity espoused by Hitler and the Nazis. Because of his brilliant economic clairvoyance, Ansel came to the attention of Harry Dexter White, who was charged with establishing a secret group to analyzed Germany's strategy and the US response. Of course, all was not what it seemed, and although we know the eventual path of the war, this novel provides a glimpse behind the scenes. Each chapter is introduced by a tidbit of economic theory from various points of view, and these were very informative and not tedious at all. In a way, this book reads like nonfiction, but the author has portrayed characters who are complex and interesting, with a background that is both intricate and suspenseful. Readers will be inspired to seek out more information about the people in this book. ( )
  sleahey | May 16, 2024 |
This page-turner ‘spy’ novel thriller has a unique slant: in 1939, when America is committed to neutrality, economists and lawyers covertly fight the Nazis by controlling money and trade to cut off supplies to Germany. More than that, they are planning a post war world economy that interconnects nations in a way that will repress any future world wars. Amazingly, the story is based on real people and historic events, even the most unlikely parts.

Ansel Luxford had settled for an ordinary life in the Midwest as a tax attorney. He is horrified by the rise of fascism. He realizes that the British were stockpiling U. S. dollars while the Nazis had developed a closed economy, raising money by conquering new territory and taking over the wealth of the conquered, as well as looting the wealth and land of the persecuted Jews. Ansel offers his services to the Treasury Department, in particular to Harry Dexter White, the “only one in Washington who’s doing anything about it.”

Ansel becomes part of a small coterie secretly working under Henry Morgenthau to find a way to curtail fascism through economics. Their earliest plans are foiled by a mole, perhaps Breckinridge Long who as ambassador to Italy became quite a fan of Mussolini and fascism. Ansel meets his idol John Maynard Keynes, only to find himself in a battle of competing visions.

There is a lot of theory bounced around between the characters, and yet I never felt overwhelmed or bogged down; Moore keeps the tension and suspense going.

Moore’s Author’s Note discusses the history behind the fiction, and where the two diverge and converge in the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, as I did his previous novel The Last Days of Night.

Thanks to the publisher for a free book. ( )
  nancyadair | Apr 30, 2024 |
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"1939. Ansel Luxford has everything a man could want-a law firm partnership in Minneapolis, a brilliant wife, a beautiful new baby. But he is consumed by his belief that the war in Europe will spread, despite the fact that the United States is neutral in the conflict. When he is offered an opportunity to move across the country to Washington, D.C., to join a clandestine team within the Treasury Department that is secretly trying to undermine Nazi Germany, he uproots his family overnight and takes on the challenge of a lifetime. To thwart the Nazis without firing a bullet, Ansel and his new team invent a powerful new kind of economic warfare. As the U.S. remains officially neutral, Ansel secretly crisscrosses the globe to broker backroom deals designed to cut off the German supply of gold; undertake a daring heist of intel suppressed by homegrown fascists within the American government; and spar with titans of industry like J.P. Morgan and the twentieth century's greatest economic mind, Britain's John Maynard Keynes. But money is a dangerous weapon, and Ansel's efforts will plunge him into a startling new world of espionage, peril, and deceit. The need for subterfuge extends to the home front when Ansel's wife takes a job with the FBI to hunt for spies within the government. And Ansel discovers that he might be closer to those spies than he could ever imagine"--

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