web site hit counter Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron

Availability: Ready to download


Compare

30 review for Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jarvo

    I used to work opposite the Mirror building, and hence opposite the helipad from which Robert Maxwell took-off having urinated on anyone passing below (a story which I long took to be urban folklore but which this book is able both to confirm and refute). I remember the day he disappeared vividly: local watering holes like The White Hart full of gossiping hacks, alarmed and excited in equal measure. I was thus delighted to get this as a birthday gift and immediately riveted by the story therein, I used to work opposite the Mirror building, and hence opposite the helipad from which Robert Maxwell took-off having urinated on anyone passing below (a story which I long took to be urban folklore but which this book is able both to confirm and refute). I remember the day he disappeared vividly: local watering holes like The White Hart full of gossiping hacks, alarmed and excited in equal measure. I was thus delighted to get this as a birthday gift and immediately riveted by the story therein, which outmatches that of any fiction writer or film maker. I knew about Maxwell from his role in Pergamon Press and his much less successful career in newspapers, and I knew that he came from the humblest of origins. I didn't know about his spectacular (and ruthless) exploits in the war and his background in espionage. And whilst I had heard stories of hubris and bullying little could prepare me for the excesses of indulgence and cruelty which marked his later life, and reminded me of nothing so much as later Roman emperor. At times it reads a bit like tabloid gossip, but it is unputdownable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Keen

    “Well, of course I’m Conservative, but I’m not a member of the Establishment, so I’ve got to become Labour.” So said Maxwell about his political career. When he was appointed the chairman of the House of Commons Catering Committee, after the catering department made a £33,000 loss in the previous tax year, Maxwell boasted that he would turn it into a £20,000 profit in 1968. He streamlined the operation (sacking staff, cutting down options, cheaper produce). After some research was done this figur “Well, of course I’m Conservative, but I’m not a member of the Establishment, so I’ve got to become Labour.” So said Maxwell about his political career. When he was appointed the chairman of the House of Commons Catering Committee, after the catering department made a £33,000 loss in the previous tax year, Maxwell boasted that he would turn it into a £20,000 profit in 1968. He streamlined the operation (sacking staff, cutting down options, cheaper produce). After some research was done this figure was revised to a profit of £1,787, but then after auditing this was revised again to a £3,400 loss. This was only a tiny taste of what was to come down the line for Maxwell and those unfortunate enough to be drawn into his orbit. This story tracks his dirt poor origins in 1920s Ruthenia in rural Czechoslovakia, and follows a familiar trajectory of wheeling and dealing his way to riches and notoriety in between some lying, cheating, stealing and possible war crimes. Tragedy was never too far away from him or his family, he lost two siblings to childhood illness and lost his mum and more siblings at Auschwitz. He lost two of his nine kids before they reached adulthood and of course as I type this his youngest daughter languishes in some cell somewhere in solitary confinement in New York, for her alleged role in some seriously sinister crimes. Maxwell was a hideous and ridiculous man, stomping around like a cantankerous, bloated Dracula. He was a cruel and manipulative bully, and his dreadful behaviour extended to his own family and children, with devastating results. He died apparently owing around £763 million. That’s a fair bit of money. But what about all those people who willingly helped Maxwell and profited along with him. It simply wasn’t possible to commit theft on such a grand scale without the help of other greedy, powerful and morally bankrupt people, which included, but was not limited to, the Liechtenstein banks, American banks and various other investment bankers and many accountants. There were also those who made it possible for him to bug his own staff and their phones. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Maxwell was a sociopath, which is an all too common phenomenon in the leaders of men, the system is set up to attract, reward and celebrate their behaviour. We see the many ways in which Maxwell like many outlandish egomaniacs, veers between wallowing in self-pity and victimhood when something goes against them, then as soon as things are looking up they are proclaiming to the world how great they think they are when they pull of another elaborate scam. It’s an exhausting way to live your life, This book reminds us that within the capitalist system it doesn’t matter how big you fail or how many times you fail or go bankrupt, as long as you have a big enough ego and convince enough greedy or naïve people to give you what you want with lies, charm and self-promotion, then you can not only bounce back but you can become even more “successful”. Just ask Richard Branson and Donald Trump.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin Newbold

    Journalist John Preston's Fall is an intriguing tale about the life and death of controversial media mogul Robert Maxwell. This is warts and all, following Maxwell's flight from war-torn Czechoslovakia, where most of his Jewish family is murdered by the Nazis, while he goes on to fight for the British army and receives an award for bravery. Indeed, none of this man's story is black and white and Preston does a great job of filling in the shades of grey, having interviewed ex-employees and even h Journalist John Preston's Fall is an intriguing tale about the life and death of controversial media mogul Robert Maxwell. This is warts and all, following Maxwell's flight from war-torn Czechoslovakia, where most of his Jewish family is murdered by the Nazis, while he goes on to fight for the British army and receives an award for bravery. Indeed, none of this man's story is black and white and Preston does a great job of filling in the shades of grey, having interviewed ex-employees and even his wife Betty in what is an unrelenting attempt to get at the essence of the man. While marvelling at his rise from virtually nothing, to becoming one of the world's most renowned publishers, however, the author regales us with anecdotes of Maxwell's bullying and his downright greed. His rise may have been heroic but Preston's tale is at its best when recounting the man's "fall". This may have been literally as Maxwell infamously died when he was thought to have fallen off the back of his yacht as his years of fraudulent activity - culminating in the theft of millions of pounds from his own newspaper's pension fund - were about to come to light. Did he fall or was he pushed? Preston seems to pin Maxwell's death on suicide in this illuminating book that chronicles the inglorious descent of a man that flew too close to the sun.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jean Weso

    I remember following with fascination the dramatic death of Robert Maxwell and his empire's spectacular fall in the early 90'ties. Almost thirty years later, the narrative told by John Preston is practically even more fascinating. He has written a tightly paced book about ambition, hubris, narcissism, greed, power, and intrigue (does it sound familiar Mr. Trump?). Although Preston writes much about the appalling way he treated his wife and children (four boys and three girls), I wish (my only re I remember following with fascination the dramatic death of Robert Maxwell and his empire's spectacular fall in the early 90'ties. Almost thirty years later, the narrative told by John Preston is practically even more fascinating. He has written a tightly paced book about ambition, hubris, narcissism, greed, power, and intrigue (does it sound familiar Mr. Trump?). Although Preston writes much about the appalling way he treated his wife and children (four boys and three girls), I wish (my only regret) Preston had written more about the relationship with his favourite daughter Ghislaine Maxwell (in the light of the pending trial against her for enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children, and perjury).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Keith Weller

    Reading this book was a eye opening experience I remember the mirror lottery and spot the ball and knew a little about the pension funds I just did not know how bad this man was a must read book helps understand the trouble his daughter is in now days I thought I knew a fair bit about maxwells history but turns out I knew very little well written book 10/10

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roger Manifold

    Does audio book count? Anyway, maybe the audio book is shorter than the 350 something pages because I listened to this in a few hours. The version I heard was very intresing consise and to the point,starting from his family upbringing to his demise a comprehensive and compelling story

  7. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... Ian Jack Wed 27 Jan 2021 Soon after he took over the New York Daily News – his last and most foolish purchase – Robert Maxwell asked the tabloid’s publisher, Jim Hoge, if he could do him a favour: “Would you mind,” Maxwell asked, “if I stood here with the door open and shouted at you for a while?” Hoge had known worse requests; the paper had recently emerged from a long and bitter struggle with the print unions, and its circulation was under the thumb of t https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... Ian Jack Wed 27 Jan 2021 Soon after he took over the New York Daily News – his last and most foolish purchase – Robert Maxwell asked the tabloid’s publisher, Jim Hoge, if he could do him a favour: “Would you mind,” Maxwell asked, “if I stood here with the door open and shouted at you for a while?” Hoge had known worse requests; the paper had recently emerged from a long and bitter struggle with the print unions, and its circulation was under the thumb of the Mafia. “I told him to go ahead,” Hoge said, remembering the incident to John Preston. “Immediately, Maxwell started lacing into me, banging on my desk with his fist and saying how it was outrageous that I had an office that was larger than his. After about 40 seconds of this, he said ‘Thank you’ in a much quieter voice and went out.” Hoge later discovered that Maxwell had staged this little scene to impress the youngest of his nine children, Ghislaine, who had noticed the difference in office sizes and was now within earshot. But to impress her how, exactly? As he was about to make Ghislaine his “emissary” in New York, it may have been intended as a lesson in how to treat underlings. More likely, it was just Maxwell being Maxwell – showing off to his daughter, keen to attract attention to himself whenever a suitable moment arose. To Clive James at Cannes, Maxwell looked like 'a ton and a half of half-cured ham wrapped in a white tuxedo' His size alone made him hard to ignore – 22 stone in the lean years – but Maxwell added props to make his figure even more memorable. Cigars, dinner jackets, and a visit every week by the Savoy’s head barber to dye his hair and eyebrows jet black; I remember that when he took command of a Glasgow newspaper in the 1970s (a brief episode that this book doesn’t mention) there was also talk of a corset. The voice – “Churchill’s rumbling cadences [with] an extra helping of treacle”, as Preston describes it – came out of his early encounters with the English language, listening to the prime minister’s speeches during the war. “This Was Their Finest Hour” featured in his Desert Island discs. The effect varied according to the witness. To Clive James, spotting him at the Cannes film festival, he looked like “a ton and a half of half-cured ham wrapped in a white tuxedo”. To a print union negotiator in New York he seemed “like an English nobleman”. To Rupert Murdoch, whose esteem he craved, he was never more than a crook and a buffoon. The two media magnates had names with the same initials, the same number of syllables – they might have been invented for a Jeffrey Archer novel, but for the fact that they disobeyed a cardinal rule of popular fiction: in novels about rivals, the poorer must outsmart the richer because his wits have been honed by his early struggle. Murdoch edited the school magazine, went to Oxford, and inherited his dad’s newspaper in sunny south Australia. Maxwell, born in Ruthenia, an obscure province in central Europe, had a father, Mehel Hoch, who traded in animal skins and toured the countryside with a mule to carry them between seller and buyer. The Hochs had nine children, two of whom died young, and lived in a two-room wooden shack with earthen floors and a cesspit at the back. Also, they were Jewish. After Maxwell, then known as Jan Hoch, left his native town in June 1939 he never again saw his parents, his grandfather, his younger brother or three of his five sisters. Auschwitz claimed six of them; the seventh, his sister Shenya, disappeared after her arrest in Budapest. Jan Hoch, meanwhile, went through several changes of name and eventually reached Britain via Beirut and Marseille. Three weeks after D-day, he was back in France, first as a sergeant and then as junior infantry officer fighting his way east across Europe. For his “magnificent example and offensive spirit” in rescuing a trapped allied platoon, he was awarded the Military Cross. He read books constantly and excelled at languages (by 1945, English, German and French had been added to Yiddish, Hungarian, Czech and Romanian). A fondness for disguise and what Preston calls “a natural flair for subterfuge” made him useful to British intelligence in ruined Berlin, which is where he met the publisher Ferdinand Springer, whose distinguished backlist of scientific books and journals lay heaped in a large warehouse 100 miles from the city, safe from British and American bombing. Industry and academia in allied countries had been cut off from German research since 1939 and they were keen to catch up on it. Maxwell set up a company, reached a worldwide distribution deal with Springer-Verlag, and arranged to have the stock – 300 tons of books and journals – transported to London by freight train and a convoy of lorries. The company was funded by MI6. It was the foundation of all Maxwell’s later success. By the time he was 25, he had proved himself quick-witted, bold, clever, resourceful and ruthless. Cruel, too: in the last weeks of the war, he executed a local mayor in the square of a German town (not named) by shooting him through the head, and, later, allegedly killed a group of young German troops who had already surrendered. He married Betty, a French Protestant, in Paris in 1945, and was quick to write down for her his six rules for a happy marriage, beginning: “1, Don’t nag, 2, Don’t criticise unduly … ” Half a century later she recalled in her memoir how his normally full lips could sometimes tighten to strips “thin as filaments of blood” depicting “death and carnage”. Murdoch, however, was a different kind of opponent, one that had taken up residence inside Maxwell’s head. Preston contends that Maxwell’s obsessive interest in him – his need both to emulate and beat him – set in train a course of events “that would lead to his physical and mental disintegration, his downfall and, ultimately, his death”. Those events began in America in the late 80s, but the rivalry was 20 years older, dating to Fleet Street in the 60s. Protests in 1992 after Maxwell robbed the Mirror pension fund. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters Newspapers fascinated Maxwell, as they do many egoists, but somehow Murdoch managed to outwit him whenever he tried to get his hands on a newspaper business. It happened with the News of the World, the Sun, Today, the Times and the Sunday Times. Often it was Maxwell’s fault: he had an incontinent tendency to brag about a deal before the contract was signed. In the case of the News of the World, however, darker forces were at work. In 1968, the weekly anthology of smut that was then Britain’s biggest selling newspaper enjoyed the ownership of the eccentric Jackson family, one of whose members was the bisexual amateur jockey Professor Derek Jackson, a lover of Francis Bacon and recently married for the sixth time. To fund this complicated lifestyle, Jackson decided to sell his 25% stake in the family company. Maxwell made a generous offer, to be rebuffed via an editorial in the News of the World by the editor, Stafford Somerfield, who argued that “it would not be a good thing for Mr Maxwell, formerly Jan Ludwig Hoch, to gain control of … a newspaper which I know is as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding”. “This is a British newspaper, run by British people,’ he concluded. Let’s keep it that way.” Even in 1968, the year of Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech, the editorial caused outrage – which had, from Maxwell’s point of view, the unfortunate effect of reviving Murdoch’s own hopes of buying the paper. He flew to London and found the Jackson family receptive: Murdoch might speak with a ghastly accent but at least he wasn’t called Hoch. Xenophobia – possibly with a twist of antisemitism – had opened the door to Murdoch’s global advance. As Harold Evans, who knew both men, observed: “Maxwell thought he’d entered the ring with another boxer … In fact, he’d entered the ring with a ju-jitsu artist who also happened to be carrying a stiletto.” But he continued the hopeless struggle. Not content with acquiring Mirror Group Newspapers and rigging the spot the ball contest, he looked west to the US, where Murdoch was emerging as a big player. Maxwell was a man without friends – sycophants were a different matter – but in the property developer Gerald Ronson he had someone who came close to an idea of one. It was Ronson who encouraged him to buy the yacht that the brother of Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi arms dealer, wanted rid of when it was still half-built on the stocks. It was Ronson, too, who encouraged him to return to Judaism – “How come all of a sudden you’re not Jewish any more?” he asked him in 1984, by which time Maxwell had denied – or at least never willingly admitted - his Jewishness for 40 years. When Ronson heard of his American ambitions, he was discouraging. But Maxwell wasn’t to be put off. In Ronson’s words: “Maxwell had to be in America, and he had to be bigger than Murdoch.” In 1988 he overpaid for Macmillan US ($2.6bn) and the Official Aviation Guide ($750m) in a spending spree that culminated in the tottering New York Daily News, for which any price at all was too much. To raise the cash, he borrowed from a total of 44 banks and financial syndicates, all of them anxious to lend as much as he wanted. The conclusion of the Department of Trade and Industry’s 1971 report into Maxwell’s affairs – that he wasn’t fit “to exercise proper stewardship of a publicly quoted company” – had been long forgotten. We know the rest. Profits fell, interest rates soared, a full-blown recession loomed. The banks wanted their money back and Maxwell’s share price needed support. Assets were sold – even Pergamon publishing, which had been the core of the business from the beginning. Eventually, his only solution was to rob the Mirror pension fund; and, when he knew that was close to discovery, to jump from the stern of his boat. Preston’s biography is largely anecdotal, without too much concern for context. The stories are good and Preston tells them with his gift for the kind of wry comedy that suits English decline. The “mystery” in his book’s subtitle surely refers to his behaviour in life rather than the manner of his death – of his family only Ghislaine believes he was murdered (oddly, given that her last instruction to the yacht’s crew was to “shred everything”). The picture of Maxwell that emerges is vivid but familiar: bombastic, florid, devious, gluttonous, bullying, absurd. But why was he these things? Ghislaine was his favourite child, but that hadn’t always been so. According to Preston, her parents had rather ignored her until, aged three, she stood before her mother and said simply: “Mummy, I exist.” Her father may have been trying to make a similar point, but to himself as much as to his audience. • Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell is published by Viking

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rob Thompson

    The rise, shameful fall and death of Maxwell. The publishing tycoon, who was obsessed with his rival, Rupert Murdoch Almost 30 years have passed since the notorious business tycoon and newspaper owner, Robert Maxwell died at sea in unexplained circumstances. This is his life story. It encompasses the fraud as a vast, sweeping whole, spanning from the second world war to his latter years. While largely anecdotal, the incredible stories are good. The picture of Maxwell that emerges is vivid but fami The rise, shameful fall and death of Maxwell. The publishing tycoon, who was obsessed with his rival, Rupert Murdoch Almost 30 years have passed since the notorious business tycoon and newspaper owner, Robert Maxwell died at sea in unexplained circumstances. This is his life story. It encompasses the fraud as a vast, sweeping whole, spanning from the second world war to his latter years. While largely anecdotal, the incredible stories are good. The picture of Maxwell that emerges is vivid but familiar: inflated, florid, devious, greedy, bullying, absurd. But why was he these things?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mystic Miraflores

    I don't remember hearing about Robert Maxwell while he was alive. However, reading his story now was fascinating. It truly was a life that was stranger than fiction. No one could have come up with such a controversial and sad character. I have never paid much attention to Ghislaine Maxwell either, but now knowing her upbringing and background, I can see how she believes she is above the law. I don't remember hearing about Robert Maxwell while he was alive. However, reading his story now was fascinating. It truly was a life that was stranger than fiction. No one could have come up with such a controversial and sad character. I have never paid much attention to Ghislaine Maxwell either, but now knowing her upbringing and background, I can see how she believes she is above the law.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Coffman-Bancroft

    Very indepth study of RM I have always found the whole Robert Maxwell death to be I threshing with all of its conspiracy theories so I wanted to read a good biography of his life and the incidents around his death to see if I could come up with my own conclusion. I have; I believe it was an accidental death.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pgr

    Mediocre Superficial No teeth but retread psychobabble bout a cunning con man Quick read but fundamentally a waste of time...which is certainly more precious than any of Maxwell’s endeavors

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wood

    Difficult not to be captivated by the story of such a controversial character. John Preston gives a fairly even handed account. Did he jump or was he pushed. My view is neither. He fell. It was an accident.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I vaguely remember Robert Maxwell being a constant feature in the news through my childhood and teenage years, but I didn't really watch the news so was unfamiliar with the full story. This is a fascinating story of a fascinating life that veered dramatically off the rails. I vaguely remember Robert Maxwell being a constant feature in the news through my childhood and teenage years, but I didn't really watch the news so was unfamiliar with the full story. This is a fascinating story of a fascinating life that veered dramatically off the rails.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Smith

    A fast moving, entertaining, insightful, and at times funny biography of Robert Maxwell, a talented monster. My blog on the book: https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/... A fast moving, entertaining, insightful, and at times funny biography of Robert Maxwell, a talented monster. My blog on the book: https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Newfad

    No great revelations (apparently) but a well put together look at the strange life and character that was Robert Maxwell. A good read but couldn't help feel sorry for his family who had already gone through so much. No great revelations (apparently) but a well put together look at the strange life and character that was Robert Maxwell. A good read but couldn't help feel sorry for his family who had already gone through so much.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The idea of maids having to pick up those towels turned my stomach. Good read, decided to read on the back of the Gislaine Maxwell scandal. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction as so much comes from word of mouth.

  17. 5 out of 5

    sarah Scott

    Without doubt Maxwell is a character A very detailed and interesting book about such an intriguing person. Maxwell was certainly a one off with boundless confidence and bravado the likes we may never see again.

  18. 4 out of 5

    C. Patrick G. Erker

    What a crazy life the man lived. Great listening. Highly recommend!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 4 out of 5

    MS

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris Whiteman

  23. 5 out of 5

    d

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jolette Odendaal

  25. 5 out of 5

    Don Bouffard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  28. 4 out of 5

    Logan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Schon

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.