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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.

What listeners say about Tower of Basel

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

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

3 people found this helpful

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History of banking

It is the great book about the central bank of central banks.
Did not struggle, but I was eager to find time to listen. The most interesting was to find out about involvement of fascists heavily into banking. Narrator wasn't boring. Recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating read about the BIS

Great book. Well researched with excellent narration. I learned an incredible amount of information on the BIS. This bank is an important player in today's financial world, yet it is relatively unknown. The book explains financial terms and the political machinations of the bank very well from it's inception through to the modern day. If you only read one non-fiction book a year, then choose this one.

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A must reading for ...

...anyone who aspires to understand how and by whom strings of politics and economy are pulled and how the contemporary history is made. Fascinating book and well narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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Truth well told

The unbelievably true story of National, Soviet and Global Socialism. Explains the WEF Great Reset and the Covid 19 Plandemic's true agenda!

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Very well presented & read

I really enjoyed this book. banking is a rather dry subject, whoever the author takes pains to discuss the results of the bankers actions and examines their personalities, their circles and motives in a broader historical & social context, which makes the book enjoyable and informative.

The links between this bank and the EU, Nazi Germany, BoE and other organisations is very illuminating and provides a lot of food for thought. The research is presented well and the narration is very fitting.

I would recommend this as both a casual informative listen and something to aid study on the bank in question or even finances of the 3rd Reich.

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Phenomenal

A fascinating history of international banking. It is amazing the degree to which bankers worked with the Nazis and how this laid down the foundation for our present financial and political situation.

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Facinating insight but not much gripping

What would have made Tower of Basel better?

Better editing if th contnts. The book comes with an amazing storyline but its been written and narrated in rather boring and dull fashion. Its more like a 'here r the facts... But the ' stroytelling' element is missing.

Would you ever listen to anything by Adam LeBor again?

Perhaps but wdnt look forward for a new book like i wd do for micheal lewis.

How could the performance have been better?

Art of 'story-telling' is missing in the book

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Good plot , infact amazing eye-opener for ppl who r interested in banking !!!

Any additional comments?

A very captivating topic - for the book but neither the writing nor the reader cud manage to make it a compelling and gripping. Me half heard during 4 hr driving, but that aas 4 weeks back... I still drive but listning diff books..:( what a shame

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-06-21

informative

This helps to understand the way banks undermine and control countries. They will help any group of tirirants.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-01-21

Good, Slightly Lopsided

Based on the subtitle, I was a little worried that this would devolve into conspiracy theories. Luckily, the book is much more clear eyed about the role of the BIS. It has some great chapters about the bank during WW2, but after that there's a noticable drop in details. Instead of ruling the world, the BIS send to get neutered after WW2. Also, keep in mind that the BIS is separate from the IMF and World Bank, so you won't learn much about them here.

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  • Cameron S.
  • 08-11-19

Weak recommend

the book is decent, mainly because not much has been written about the bis. But aside from the interesting chapters about its history in World War II, I was a bit disappointed. I was left with the impression that the bank has mainly been a bit player in larger economic and political events. title misleading.
the narration is fine, but the guys American accent is annoying, and he'll put on an accent for even a two or three word quote. Excessive and distracting.

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  • Joe Leiman
  • 24-12-18

Such enthralling true information

that I kept reading despite the copious detail. Big takeaway: White collar crime is lightly punished and multinationals are untouchable.

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  • david h. wagner
  • 22-04-18

Global finance; Central Bank and BIS history

I came away with a good understand of the BIS, whereas I had none before. Overall, a great read for better understanding of global finance and the linkages between BIS and other major entities like sovereign Central Banks, IMF snd private sector international banks. Covers the good, bad, a balanced presentation. From 20th century to present.

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  • Cam
  • 16-07-17

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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  • Ashwin
  • 17-09-16

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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  • James B Wirth
  • 02-09-16

Optional Required Heading

Well worth reading. Read with The Federal Reserve Conspiracy by Anthony Sutton. Language accents not helpful.

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  • Dave Wood
  • 03-07-15

Too much opinion

A great read and very informative. A drawback was the all the commentary regarding social consciousness. The author also addresses this bank at times as if it were a typical corporate entity.

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  • Richard J. Peach
  • 22-12-13

Eye Opening

What did you love best about Tower of Basel?

Just the overall conspiracy of the banking cartel.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Just very well read on a difficult topic

Which character – as performed by John Mawson – was your favorite?

Not really applicable here

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

"The Banking Masters Who Control the World"

Any additional comments?

Very interesting, not an easy read, lots of banking terms info etc. but something everyone needs to know and wake up to.