I have become a huge fan of “narrative history”. It’s a genre of books that tell a period or event in history as if it is a story. There are characters, dialogue, etc. But it is all true and meticulously researched. Barbians at the Gate is such a book.
Anyone who is at all interested in business or Wall Street will love this book.
The book is about the leveraged buyout of RGR Nabisco in the late 80s that took place over a six week period. Leveraged buyouts were increasingly popular throughout the decade — what this means is that the management group of the company — the executives — try to collect enough bank loans and debt to buy out the company. The catch? Once the announcement is made that an LBO is going to happen, the company is up for grabs. The management group has to fight it out with any third parties who also want to seize the opportunity to buy out the company. In the case of RGR Nabisco, it was the largest takeover in history and the story and its characters are absolutely fascinating.
It’s a story about leverage, hardcore negotiations, twists, backstabbing, business, media, and wild personalities. “A few million dollars are always lost in the sands of time.” – CEO of RGR Nabisco F. Ross Johnson.
Check out the other reviews and see if this is a book you’d be interested in reading. I highly recommend it.
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