Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar.
This tsunami of details in this story of the leveraged buy-out of RJR Nabisco would be mind-numbing if it were not for the sharp anger at the incessant and insatiable greed it highlights.
One feels an eerie sense of déjà vu reading this book. The RJR Nabisco takeover battle was fought in 1988, but the unmitigated (and unregulated) greed on the part of Wall Street seems to only have changed in form, not in magnitude. It borders (then and now) on the obscene.
This book is not for the faint of heart the reader is led step-by-step, moment-by-moment through the byzantine world of leveraged buy outs. Keeping track of names, financial institutions, and esoteric details regarding the Alice in Wonderland nature of the financial world requires constant vigilance. This book is for the dedicated, persistent, or patient reader. Nevertheless, as the basic characters in this drama are interesting, maddening, and full of hubris. Those with an economics/business background will likely find this a telling and important read.