You’ve heard of the scheme. Now comes the man behind it. In
Mitchell Zuckoff’s exhilarating book, the first nonfiction account of Charles
Ponzi, we meet the charismatic rogue who launched the most famous and
extraordinary scam in the annals of American finance.
It was a time when anything seemed possible—instant wealth,
glittering fame, fabulous luxury—and for a run of magical weeks in the spring
and summer of 1920, Charles Ponzi made it all come true. Promising to double
investors’ money in three months, the dapper, charming Ponzi raised the “rob
Peter to pay Paul” scam to an art form and raked in millions at his office in
downtown Boston. Ponzi’s Scheme is
the amazing true story of the irresistible scoundrel who launched the most
successful scheme of financial alchemy in modern history—and uttered the first
roar of the Roaring Twenties.
Ponzi may have been a charlatan, but he was also a
wonderfully likable man. His intentions were noble, his manners impeccable, his
sales pitch enchanting. Born to a genteel Italian family, he immigrated to the
United States with big dreams but no money. Only after he became hopelessly
enamored of a stenographer named Rose Gnecco and persuaded her to marry him did
Ponzi light on the means to make his dreams come true. His true motive was not
greed but love.
With rich narrative skill, Mitchell Zuckoff conjures up the
feverish atmosphere of Boston during the weeks when Ponzi’s bubble grew bigger
and bigger. At the peak of his success, Ponzi was taking in more than $2
million a week. And then his house of cards came crashing down—thanks in large
part to the relentless investigative reporting of Richard Grozier’s Boston Post.
In Zuckoff’s hands, Ponzi is no mere swindler; instead he is
appealing and magnetic, a colorful and poignant figure, someone who struggled
his whole life to attain great wealth and who sincerely believed—to the very
end—that he could have made good on his investment promises if only he’d had
enough time. Ponzi is a classic American tale of immigrant life and the dream
of success, and the unexpectedly moving story of a man who—for a fleeting,
illusory moment—attained it all. Download and start listening now!