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By Geoffrey C. Ward

Ferdinand Ward used to be the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. furnish and ran roughshod over the complete global of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told via his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.

Ward was once the Bernie Madoff of his day, a meant genius at making great cash speedy on Wall road who became out to were operating an enormous pyramid scheme—one that eventually collapsed in a single of the best monetary scandals in American background. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets and techniques of his personal to maintain, Ward got here to ny at twenty-one and in under a decade, armed with attraction, power, and a complete loss of judgment of right and wrong, made himself the enterprise accomplice of the previous president of the us and was once extensively hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” truthfully, he grew to become out to be an entire fraud, his complete existence marked through dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for whatever yet his personal interests.

Drawing from hundreds of thousands of relatives records by no means earlier than tested, Geoffrey C. Ward lines his great-grandfather’s fast upward thrust to riches and popularity and his much more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions alongside the way in which; quickly horses and crooked bankers and corrupt big apple officers; court confrontations and 6 years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand’s determined scheme to kidnap his personal son to get his palms at the property his overdue 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 best historians.

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Extra info for A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States

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As for Jefferson, in addition to the ordinary military career, he had seriously considered challenging his commanding colonel to a duel, feeling that the colonel's opposition to the marriage with Knox amounted to an affront to honor. But the challenge was never given; the young lieutenant must have finally realized that this was a peculiar way to carry on a courtship. ) T h e impulse to action may well have lain latent behind those evening hours of study or debate. Times had been changing. John C.

T h e gift from the generous Joseph had been a gift of death—and perhaps, as it turned out, a gift of destiny. By September, at Locust Grove plantation, in Louisiana, where one of Jefferson's sisters lived, both bride and bridegroom were at the point of death, neither knowing of the serious plight of the other. One night, the bridegroom, waking from his stu^ por, heard the distant sound of the bride's voice singing "Fairy Bells," a song of their courtship. He struggled toward the voice, but by the time he reached her room she had passed from her delirium into a last coma.

Before the new child was more than a toddler, Samuel had been caught by a new fever: cotton-growing in Mississippi. T h e r e , somewhat southeast of the town of Natchez, soon to be the glamorous capital of King Cotton, he came in for modest prosperity, having got in on the cotton boom early enough to acquire slaves, even if never to hold a great plantation with the mandatory Greek columns. But one of his older sons—Joseph Davis, twen- 27 ty-three years older than little Jeff— who had become a successful lawyer, did have a great plantation, Hurricane, and this older brother, bit by bit, assumed the paternal role and defined the character and aspirations of the boy.

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