Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer

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Random House, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 418 pages
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Edward Jay Epstein's investigation into the life of Armand Hammer exposes a tale of fraud, corruption, and personal betrayal that was carried out on such a grand scale and over such a long period of time that it is surely unique. Hammer was ninety-two when he died in 1990. A lengthy front-page obituary in The New York Times lauded him as a successful businessman "who long sought peace between the United States and the Soviet Union and financed research for a cancer cure". His philanthropy was noted, along with his vast art collection and his elevated social connections. But the official version of Hammer's life, which incorporated many of the major figures and key events of the twentieth century, was in fact a myth, carefully nurtured and embellished for nearly seventy years. Aided by newly available sources, Epstein has put together a gripping portrait of a ruthless, audaciously manipulative opportunist whose self-inventions have until now been widely accepted. Epstein gained unprecedented access to FBI files, SEC documents, and files on the Hammer family kept by Soviet intelligence agencies since the 1920's. He interviewed Hammer's mistresses, family, and close friends as well as the shadowy figures who assisted him in business deals. During his investigation, Epstein discovered that for many years Hammer had, like Richard Nixon, secretly taped conversations, many of them dealing with illegal activity. These tapes give an intimate view of a master con man at work.

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DOSSIER: The Secret History of Armand Hammer

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A revealingly revisionist biography of Armand Hammer who, before his death at 92 in 1990, had made a considerable name for himself as an industrialist, patron of the arts, philanthropist, and ... Read full review

Dossier: the secret history of Armand Hammer

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Epstein (The Assassination Chronicles, Deception: The Secret War Between the CIA and the KGB, Carroll & Graf, 1992) portrays billionaire industrialist Armand Hammer, who died in 1990 at the age of 92 ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Edward Jay Epstein is the author of fifteen books. He studied government at Cornell and Harvard and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. His thesis on the search for political truth became a best-selling book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth. His doctoral dissertation on television news was published as News From Nowhere. He is the recipient of numerous foundation grants and awards, including the prestigious Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award for both best biography and best business book for Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer. He has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.

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