Tower of Basel
The world’s most exclusive club meets every other month at 7pm on Sunday evening in a circular tower block whose tinted windows overlook Basel railway station. Its members include some of the most powerful men in the world. They are central bankers, who have come to Switzerland to attend the Economic Consultative Committee of the Bank for International Settlements, the bank for central banks.
“Adam LeBor has written an absolutely fascinating history of the BIS, perhaps the most enigmatic financial institution in the world. The story he unveils of the many skeletons in its closet and its astounding ability to remake itself periodically only add to its mystique.”Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
It was in luxurious Palm Beach, by the manicured lawns and Olympic-sized swimming pools, that financier Bernard Madoff ravaged the world of philanthropy and high society he had strived so hard to join, vaporising the assets of charities, foundations and individuals that had trusted him with their funds. It seems nothing was sacrosanct to Madoff, possibly the greatest con-man in history.
“A Fascinating, poignant, subtle portrait of the United States itself.”Simon Sebag-Montefiore
Complicity with Evil
From the killing fields of Rwanda and Srebrenica a decade ago to those of Darfur today, the United Nations has repeatedly failed to confront genocide. This is evinced in a May 1995 document from Yasushi Akashi, the most senior UN official in the field during the Yugoslav wars, in which he refused to authorize air strikes against the Serbs for fear they would ‘weaken’ Milosevic. More recently, in 2003, urgent reports from UN officials in the Sudan detailing atrocities from Darfur were ignored for a year because they were politically inconvenient.
“LeBor is unflinching in his analysis of the failings of the Security Council but also the Secretariat… His greatest strength is that he avoids ranting polemic, making his judgments with care and always backing them up with evidence.”Fergal Keane, The Mail on Sunday
City of Oranges
Through the stories of six families – three Arab and three Jewish – City of Oranges illuminates the underlying complexity of modern Israel, telling the story from the Ashkenazi as well as from the very different Sephardic point of view, and from the Christian Arab as well as the Muslim perspective. Through the eyes of these families, we understand how the founding of the state of Israel was simultaneously a moment of jubilation for the Jews, and a disaster – the Naqba – for the 100,000 Arabs who fled Jaffa in 1948, most of them never to return.
LeBor is scrupulously fair to both sides. Based on interviews with several generations of Muslim, Jewish and Christian families, his book is a moving testament to the resilience of human beings in the face of violence.The Sunday Times, ‘Paperback Pick of the Week’
How could ordinary Germans, leading uneventful lives, have adapted so easily to the evils of the Nazi regime? Some have argued that the Gestapo reign of terror forced Germans to collaborate with their Nazi rulers, others take the view that the German people were programmed for genocide by centuries of eliminationist anti-Semitism.
In Surviving Hitler, Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes show that neither view gives a full picture and that the German response to Hitler was far more complex. They argue that the only way to understand how the Holocaust could have happened is to step right into the heart of daily life in the Third Reich.
Richly detailed, Surviving Hitler not only provides the most comprehensive illustration of the reality of life under Nazi dictatorship but gives the most convincing explanation yet of how mass murder could be accepted by a supposedly civilised country.
In the first authoritative biography of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, Adam LeBor documents the life of a man whose policies instigated four wars, who skilfully exploited the most modern techniques of media management to whip up a nationalist frenzy, and under whose rule bloody campaigns of ethnic cleansing systematically destroyed a once sophisticated multinational country.
The best Milosevic biography so far… LeBor has tracked down family members and people who worked with Milosevic, and what really gives his book an edge is his extensive and fascinating interview with Milosevic’s wife, Mira.Tim Judah, The Observer
Hitler’s Secret Bankers
There were no death certificates issued at Auschwitz. But Swiss bankers still demand them before handing over the assets of account holders killed in the Holocaust to their surviving relatives.
The Jews of Europe entrusted their families’ wealth to what they hoped would be a safe haven, the banks of Switzerland. Even if they died, their money would eventually be recovered, they believed. They were wrong. Millions of dollars, deposited decades ago in good faith by Jews who were to die in the Nazi genocide, still lie in the vaults, earning interest and providing working capital for Swiss banks.
Extensively researched… LeBor’s highly charged work will appeal to readers interested in WWII and will be embraced by Holocaust survivors and their families trying to seek restitution from Switzerland’s banks.Publishers Weekly
A Heart Turned East
It began in Bosnia, where Islamic nationalism was reborn as Serb shells rained down on Europe’s ancient Muslim heartland. It was the start of a three-year odyssey into the hearts and minds of Muslim Europe and America, a journey by which Adam LeBor set out to discover what it means to be a Muslim in the 90s, living in the West, but with a heart turned east.
Islam and Christianity are at a crossroads, argues LeBor, but a global media, a global economy, and a new mix of cultures mean that a symbiosis of the best of both worlds will be the result, not the violent clash of creeds that so many on both sides expect.