Fall

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

WINNER OF THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2021
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2021
A SUNDAY TIMES AND TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR

A dramatic, gripping account of the rise and fall of the notorious business tycoon Robert Maxwell from the acclaimed author of A Very English Scandal.

Robert Maxwell was a very British success. Born an Orthodox Jew, he escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, fought in the Second World War, and was decorated for his heroism with the Military Cross. He went on to become a Labour MP and an astonishingly successful businessman, owning a number of newspapers and publishing companies. But after his dead body was discovered floating in waters around his superyacht, his empire fell apart as long-hidden debts and unscrupulous dealings came to light. Within a few days, Maxwell was being reviled as the embodiment of greed and corruption.

What went so wrong? How did a man who had once laid such store on the importance of ethics and good behaviour become reduced to a bloated, amoral wreck? In this gripping book, John Preston delivers the definitive account of Maxwell’s extraordinary rise and scandalous fall.

‘I have a shelf full of books about frauds, but this one is by far the most enjoyable’ Craig Brown, author of Ma’am Darling

‘The best biography yet of the media magnate Robert Maxwell – by turns engrossing, amusing and appalling’ Robert Harris, Sunday Times

‘Electrifying… the supreme chronicler of modern British scandals’ Mail on Sunday

© John Preston 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • ‘This is the best biography yet of the media magnate Robert Maxwell – by turns engrossing, amusing and appalling… it slips down as richly, easily and pleasurably as a tablespoonful of Beluga caviar’

    Sunday Times
  • ‘Electrifying… the supreme chronicler of modern British scandals’

    Mail on Sunday
  • ‘This is such a richly detailed, well-written, gripping biography I wished it could have been twice as long’

    Daily Telegraph
  • ‘I have a shelf full of books about frauds, but this one is by far the most enjoyable. By turns self-righteous and revolting, Maxwell makes the perfect villain’

    Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Any good biography of a mountebank depicts not only its subject but also the ambivalent society that accommodated the monster. John Preston’s Fall does this with deft understatement ... Preston’s A Very English Scandal used an almost novelistic eye to revive a well-worn scandal. Fall is equally satisfying’

    The Times
  • ‘An absorbing profile of the war hero turned rogue … Preston comes to his subject with the advantage both of hindsight and his great skill at exposing hypocrisy and subterfuge … he has an eye for the telling detail and an ear for the revealing quote’

    Observer, Book of the Week

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