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Publisher's Summary

Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world’s most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England; and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials.
Tower of Basel tells the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS): the central bankers’ own bank. Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally beyond the reach of any government or jurisdiction. The bank is untouchable.
Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of $1.17 billion in 20112012.Since its creation, the bank has been at the heart of global events but has often gone unnoticed. Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank’s American president from 19401946, the BIS was open for business throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank, and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open.
After 1945 the BIS still behind the scenes for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002. It now stands at the center of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture, once again proving that it has the power to shape the financial rules of our world. Yet despite its pivotal role in the financial and political history of the last century and during the economic current crisis, the BIS has remained largely unknown until now.
©2012 Adam LeBor (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Cam on 07-16-17

Eye opening from a pan European to a global instituting org.

The past history was designed by honest ambition but had terrible mistakes to supporting the Nazis from the director, it also shows the fallibility of a republic powerful institution to the need of being more democratic, open and transparent w/ freedom of information in transactions etc.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Ashwin on 09-17-16

well written amd important book about the BIS

excellent content and research has been used in this book. narrator could have avoided the various accents tho', otherwise superb narration.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By F. I. Nance on 06-28-14

Incredible story about the Bank no-one knows

What made the experience of listening to Tower of Basel the most enjoyable?

It's helpful to have read a few books on the economic time between the world wars. A good one would be Lords of Finance. It's shocking then, how important the BIS actually is, and how little one knows about history and objectives of this organization.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tower of Basel?

When I realized, that I stumbled over a really interesting book, and that my fear to have bought some absurd conspiracy theory was not relevant... The subtitle of the book somehow made it sound to me, like this may have also been a really odd read, but then it was a great account of the history of the BIS and actually, 'shadowy history' and 'runs the world' seem not to be far fetched in retrospect...

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt intrigued. I was born in Germany and was surprised and shocked about the conduct of the bank during WWII.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Nigel on 02-07-15


If you're interested in modern history, politics and economics, this is an invaluable key to understanding the making of modern Europe.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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