By Geoffrey C. Ward
Ferdinand Ward was once the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. supply and ran roughshod over the complete global of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told by means of his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.
Ward used to be the Bernie Madoff of his day, a intended genius at making colossal cash speedy on Wall highway who grew to become out to were working a huge pyramid scheme—one that finally collapsed in a single of the best monetary scandals in American historical past. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets and techniques of his personal to maintain, Ward got here to big apple at twenty-one and in lower than a decade, armed with appeal, strength, and a complete loss of moral sense, made himself the company companion of the previous president of the U.S. and used to be largely hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” truthfully, he became out to be an entire fraud, his complete lifestyles marked by means of dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for whatever yet his personal interests.
Drawing from hundreds of thousands of kinfolk files by no means sooner than tested, Geoffrey C. Ward strains his great-grandfather’s swift upward push to riches and popularity and his much more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions alongside the best way; speedy horses and crooked bankers and corrupt long island officers; court confrontations and 6 years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand’s determined scheme to kidnap his personal son to get his arms at the property his past due spouse had left the boy. here's a nice tale a couple of vintage American con artist, instructed with boundless attraction and dry wit by means of one in every of our best historians.
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If “practicality” were ever acceptable when dealing with tyranny, would it not also have been acceptable, during the Cold War, for the East Berlin police to cross into West Berlin and seize anyone on the other side who might have escaped? And if those guards somehow grabbed a few thousand innocent West Berliners, would not a blind eye to their enslavement have been infinitely more practical than risking war with East Germany—or Russia? Similar grotesque rationalizations existed in France during World War II when the German-collaborating Vichy government decided that turning over its French Jews to Germany was a more practical choice than inviting total German occupation and possible harsh reprisals.
And this academic slight was followed by tedious distinctions between books suited for a “general audience” and those for an “academic audience,” noting whether the author was an “academic writer” or a “nonacademic” one. A second list, entitled “The Leading Myths of the War,” included the United States’ victory as a myth! Now this “British won” opinion is of recent extraction. It began 150 years after the war ended, as did an equally convoluted conclusion that the war was a draw. It seems that the British won because the Americans failed to conquer Canada; or the Canadians won, but since there was no Canada, by default that made the British winners.
His strike would be so swift that the gullible Americans, not realizing what he was up to, would have no time to prepare a defense; and once France was firmly established in New Orleans, what American force would be able to drive a 10,000-man French army from its fortified positions? Would New Englanders, southerners, and westerners suddenly repair their fractured loyalties to expend their blood and wealth in an attempt to drive him out? French-speaking New Orleanians and Cajun country folks would most likely embrace him, and it was hard to see fishermen and whalers from the Northeast running to expel a formidable army entrenched a thousand miles away.