ECONOMICS

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction

Custom House. Feb. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780062878816. $29.99. BUS
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New York Times finance editor Enrich (The Spider Network) weaves a cautionary tale out of Deutsche Bank’s rise and fall, and its long, strange relationship with Donald Trump. Over the years, the bank made billions in risky loans to Trump, a repeat defaulter, with mixed results. Enrich traces the bank’s 20th-century history, beginning with its collaboration with the Nazis during World War II and continuing with its transformation into an investment bank in an attempt to pursue Wall Street riches, its spurious weathering of the 2008 financial crisis, and its ultimate unraveling. For decades, Enrich says, the bank subordinated ethics, customer loyalty, and even lawful behavior to maximize short-term profits. In a twisting subplot, Enrich follows the revelations of the bank’s misdeeds from the perspective of the son of a Deutsche Bank executive who committed suicide.
VERDICT Part exposé, part mystery, Enrich’s account richly illuminates Deutsche Bank’s excesses and Trump’s business practices. Readers of Andrew Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail, which unveiled vulnerabilities in the financial industry, will find Enrich’s more focused account equally compelling.

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