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Extended Audio Sample Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,904 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Burrough, John Helyar Narrator: John Helyar Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The fight to control RJR Nabisco during October and November of 1988 was more than just the largest takeover in Wall Street history. Marked by brazen displays of ego not seen in American business for decades, it became the high point of a new gilded age—and its repercussions are still being felt.

The ultimate story of greed and glory, Barbarians at the Gate is the gripping account of these two frenzied months, of deal makers and publicity flaks, of an old-line industrial powerhouse that became the victim of the ruthless and rapacious style of finance in the 1980s. Written with the bravado of a novel and researched with the diligence of a sweeping cultural history, here is the unforgettable story of the takeover in all its brutality. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The fascinating inside story of the largest corporate takeover in American history...It reads like a novel.”

    Tom Brokaw

  • “All the suspense of a first-rate thriller…one of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980s.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A superlative book, a reconstruction of awesome proportions...The writing is unflawed...steadily builds until the very end.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “One of the greatest business books ever written.”

    Joe Nocera, New York Times

  • “It’s hard to imagine a better story to capture the essence of the 1980s business scene…and it’s hard to imagine a better account than the one by Burrough and Helyar.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The most bizarre financial mock-epic of our age. Read it open-mouthed; wonder and shudder.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Impressive qualities...delicious scenes...a cinematic yet extraordinarily careful book.”

    New York Daily News

  • “The stage is always set, there is dialogue and drama aplenty, and the characters are larger than life…brilliantly effective.”


  • “A reportorial tour de force that provides a stunningly detailed recap of the events leading up to the megabuck takeover of RJR Nabisco...A comprehensive and coherent account of a multilateral struggle.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Paul Hinman | 2/13/2014

    " Fascinating look at the battle for RJR nabisco and the insider world of corporate finance. I really enjoyed it, but for whatever reason had a slow go of reading it. Took me months. Not really sure why. But a great read that does a great job of explaining what happened and why, without getting bogged down into too much technical descriptions "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Alice | 2/6/2014

    " Fascinating. Incredibly well written. Complex, dramatic. A gem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rich | 2/6/2014

    " Very interesting and entertaining book, even if you're not very interested in the mergers/take-over world of the 80s and 90s. It's amazing to see how the egos of powerful investors can collaborate to essentially destroy an entire company. I would have given it 5 stars, but I thought the first third could have been stronger - way too much detail into the backgrounds of the players. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by L | 1/30/2014

    " Every MBA student should be required to read this book. "

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