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Wrong Way : The Rise and Fall of Conrad…

Wrong Way : The Rise and Fall of Conrad Black

by Jacquie McNish

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Although I had read newspaper articles about media baron Conrad Black while he owned the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers in the Chicago area, I had never put his entire story together. Wrong Way tells it in great detail. The authors relate a story about how their subject was caught at his first act of theft as a 14-year-old schoolboy, when he stole test answers to sell to the highest bidder. That got him kicked out of school.

But his machinations as head of several interlocking companies that bought and sold newspapers were what landed him in jail. It’s a complex story that the authors, two Canadian financial journalists, unravel and tell it in a forthright manner. I couldn’t put it down.

The authors interviewed dozens of people who were privy to what went on at Hollinger International, the publicly traded company that held the Sun-Times and other newspapers, and to Black’s over-the-top lifestyle. Many of the interviewees are not named, understandable because Black has a history of using his vast resources to bring libel suits against his enemies. (Although libels suits are pretty difficult to win in the U.S., he often sues in Canadian and British courts, where it is much easier to win crippling judgments.)

The New York Times reviewer Bryan Burrough wrote, “McNish and Stewart tell the inside story of how Black's own shareholders revolted against his imperial management and ousted him from the company he founded. … Black reeks of empowerment, the kind of wealthy boy who was born on third base and thought he held the Major League record for triples.”

Published in 2004, Wrong Way does not cover Black’s criminal trial. In 2007, he was sentenced for funneling money from Hollinger International for his personal use. Later appellate rulings threw out some of counts for which he was convicted and allowed him out of prison. He is scheduled go back to prison next month to complete another 13 months of his reduced sentence. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times is in bankruptcy, owned by another company and not part of Hollinger International. ( )
  NewsieQ | Aug 19, 2011 |
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"He was possibly the world's most flamboyant and notorious media tycoon. Unapologetic about his right-wing agenda, corporate manoeuvres, and lavish lifestyle, Conrad Black seemed untouchable with a newspaper empire that spanned three continents and a seat in Britain's House of Lords. In the fall of 2003 his carefully constructed world crumbled when his company accused him of siphoning off millions of dollars of corporate money. He now found himself the target of U.S. regulators, an object of ridicule in the international press, and a self-described "pariah" among the rich and famous he once called his friends." "Business reporters Jacquie McNish and Sinclair Stewart have dug deep into Black's career by interviewing leading players and gaining behind-the-scenes accounts of his corporate machinations. Wrong Way offers an in-depth portrayal of how the seemingly invulnerable magnate of Hollinger International Inc. was brought down by his own shareholders and ousted as head of his company."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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