Ferdinand Ward was the Bernie Madoff of his generation a supposed genius at making big money fast on Wall Street, who turned out to have been running a giant pyramid scheme that ultimately collapsed in one of the greatest financial scandals in American history. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets of his own to keep, Ward came to New York at twenty-one and in less than a decade, armed only with charm, energy, and a total lack of conscience, made himself the business partner of a former president of the United States and was widely hailed as the "Young Napoleon of Finance." In truth, he turned out to be a complete fraud, his entire life marked by dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for anything but his own interests.
Drawing from thousands of never-before-examined family documents, Geoffrey C. Ward traces his great-grandfather's rapid rise to riches and fame, and his even more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions along the way; fast horses, crooked bankers, and corrupt New York officials; courtroom confrontations and six years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand's desperate scheme to kidnap his own son to get his hands on the estate his late wife had left the boy. A Disposition to Be Rich is a great story about a classic American con artist, told with boundless charm and dry wit by one of our finest historians.
About the Author
Geoffrey C. Ward is an author and screenwriter of various documentary presentations of American history. He wrote the television mini-series "The Civil War" with director Ken Burns and has authored or coauthored numerous books, including "A First-Class Temperament" and "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson".
Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered eight AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.
"[Ward] narrates a rollicking financial picaresque, but infuses it with psychological depth." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review