White Houses

White HousesWhite Houses by Amy Bloom
Published by Random House on February 13th 2018
Pages: 240
Format: ebook
Genres: Fiction, Historical
See it @ Goodreads
three-stars


Synopsis


The unexpected and forbidden affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok unfolds in a triumph of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us.

"I never envied a wife or a husband, until I met Eleanor. Then, I would have traded everything I ever had, every limo ride, every skinny dip, every byline and carefree stroll, for what Franklin had, polio and all."

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick," as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan's Washington Square, Amy Bloom's new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.

"Amy Bloom knows the urgency of love," wrote The Washington Post about Bloom's acclaimed bestseller Away. The same could be said of White Houses, an unforgettable novel about the power of passion and the endurance of love.

Advance praise for White Houses

"Amy Bloom illuminates one of the most intriguing relationships in history. Lorena Hickok is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt. And love is what this book is all about: It suffuses every page, so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves."--Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

"It seems a minor miracle, what Amy Bloom has done in White Houses. In Lorena Hickok's unforgettable voice, she brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away. Easily, the most intimate, crackling, and expansive rendering of Eleanor Roosevelt in print, and, more than this, a dizzyingly beautiful tale of what it means to be human, and what it is to love."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

My thoughts on this book

White Houses Is the story of the romance between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Both women in their own way had very sad lives. Eleanor because she lived in the shadow of FDR and Hickok because of her brutal early life.

While the romance was scandalous it was by no means extraordinary. Bloom characterizations of Eleanor and Lorena are lovely, they were devoted to each other.

Amy Bloom is a wonderful writer, she has written a thought-provoking book about two lost souls that find a bit of happiness with another.

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall StreetBlack Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar
Published by Random House on February 7th 2017
Pages: 368
Format: hardback
Genres: Finance, Nonfiction, True Crime
See it @ Goodreads
four-half-stars


Synopsis


The story of billionaire trader Steven Cohen, the rise and fall of his hedge fund SAC Capital, and the largest insider trading investigation in history for readers of The Big Short, Den of Thieves, and Dark MoneySteven A. Cohen changed Wall Street. He and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong and for this, they gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now oversee more than $3 trillion in assets, and the competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge. Cohen was one of the industry s biggest success stories, the person everyone else in the business wanted to be. Born into a middle-class family on Long Island, he longed from an early age to be a star on Wall Street. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched the hedge fund SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and excess, building a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, flying to work by helicopter, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius: one of the greatest traders who ever lived. That image was shattered when SAC Capital became the target of a sprawling, seven-year investigation, led by a determined group of FBI agents, prosecutors, and SEC enforcement attorneys. Labeled by prosecutors as a magnet for market cheaters whose culture encouraged the relentless pursuit of edge and even black edge, which is inside information SAC Capital was ultimately indicted and pleaded guilty to charges of securities and wire fraud in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged. Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions. It s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent and troubling questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street. Advance praise for Black Edge A tour de force of groundbreaking reporting and brilliant storytelling, a revealing inside account of how the Feds track a high-profile target and, just as important, an unsettling portrayal of how Wall Street works today. Jeffrey Toobin, New York Times bestselling author of American Heiress Black Edge is not just a work of major importance, it is also addictively readable and horrifyingly compelling. Sheelah Kolhatkar pulls back the curtain on the cheating, corruption, and skulduggery that underlie large swaths of the hedge fund industry and some of Wall Street s most fabled fortunes. This book is as hard to put down as it is to stomach. Jane Mayer, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Money Fast-paced and filled with twists, Black Edge has the grip of a thriller. It is also an essential expose of our times a work that reveals the deep rot in our financial system. Everyone should read this book. David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z"

My thoughts on this book

Ever since the financial crash of 2008, I have felt that Wall Street is no longer part of financial institution of the United States. It’s like Wall Street went rouge and serves only a few who consider themselves Masters of The Universe (Bondfire of the Vanities). Stephen Cohen, the star of this book, is one of those Masters of the universe having built a multi-billion dollar hedge fund using insider trading. I always tell my husband, if he or I committed any of the acts the Cohen and his cohorts did we would be locked up for life, the rich are different.

Sheelah Kolhatkar details how Cohen and other traders used inside trading to amass vast fortunes, how the government is all but helpless to stop it and how it probably still continues today. I was totally disgusted when I finished reading the book. I kept wondering how can people be this greedy, what drives them to act in this fashion.

Today when I hear that the stock market has reached record highs, it doesn’t increase my feeling of security about our economic future, it actually worries me. When Trump says he is going to roll back regulations, I worry more about this countries financial security. This book reads like a financial thriller the only different being if it were fictional the bad guys would not have won.