The Bettencourt Affair

  • by Tom Sancton
  • Narrated by Amanda Carlin
  • 13 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Was the world's wealthiest woman - Liliane Bettencourt - heir to an estimated $36 billion L'Oréal fortune, the victim of a con man? Or were her own family the real villains? This riveting narrative tells the real-life, shocking story behind the cause célèbre that has captivated both France and the world.
Liliane Bettencourt is the world's richest woman and the 11th wealthiest person on the planet as of 2016. But at 94, she's embroiled in an incredible controversy that has dominated the headlines and ensnared a former president of France in the controversy. Why? Thanks to an artist and photographer named François-Marie Banier, who was given hundreds of millions of dollars by Liliane. Liliane's daughter, Françoise, considers Banier a con man and filed a lawsuit against him, but Banier has a far different story to tell. It's all become Europe's biggest scandal in years, uncovering a shadowy corporate history, buried World War II secrets, illicit political payoffs, and much more.
Written by Tom Sancton, a Vanity Fair contributor and former Time correspondent currently living in France, The Bettencourt Affair is part courtroom drama; part upstairs-downstairs tale; part business narrative of a glamorous global company with past Nazi connections; and part character-driven story of a complex, fascinating family and the intruder who nearly tore it apart.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rise above the writer's attitudes

If you could sum up The Bettencourt Affair in three words, what would they be?

The author's personal attitudes and propensity to devalue others almost smother the book. If you can rise above that, there is a lot of documentation and valuable information to gleam from the efforts.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bettencourt Affair?

The daughter, friends, and employees that worked to undermine the benefactor. I think the heiress' son in law was greatly underestimated in this theater. On the other hand, the son in law prevailed to secure a family legacy. It is very sad at the end the way a generous but handicapped (emotionally) woman, was overwhelmed after her husband (totally underestimated mostly by the author) passed away.


Have you listened to any of Amanda Carlin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. The narration was very good though.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Beggars and benefactors.


Any additional comments?

A testament as to how wealth can weaken a person without allies one becomes fair game. Her husband was grossly underestimated. While he lived she was never fair game. After he passed, the wolves moved in. The husband was actually the power, and it all went by the way side.

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- Nurture Learners and Able Observers

Fantastic read

very interesting story I liked the portrayal of each character and the auditors voice and mannerisms and especially the accents. Long book but very enjoyable
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- Juana Dement

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-08-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio