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Wriston: Walter Wriston, Citibank, and the Rise and Fall of American Financial Supremacy

Wriston is a hugely ambitious, go-for-broke book that reaches for epic breadth. Mr. Zweig’s prodigious research effort manages to provide a panoramic view of postwar American banking. Students of finance will mine this rich trove of information for years to come.”

The Wall Street Journal

“Mr. Zweig...is an enormously energetic and careful reporter who must surely know more about Citicorp than any other journalist has ever known about any bank.”
The New York Times

“Zweig, an editor at Business Week, said he planned to devote two years to the project. He spent seven, producing a 952-page, meticulous researched, indexed, footnoted and credited epic that will be required reading for bankers, students of finance and historians.”
The Washington Post

“Wriston was not cautious, and Zweig richly chronicles his forays into Third World lending in the 1970s and early 1980s (Wriston retired from the bank as chairman in 1984), all conducted in the cockeyed belief that sovereign governments never fail.”
Harvard Business Review

“For bankers who want to review how Wriston helped shape today’s industry, there’s an eyeful and then some.”
US Banker

“A journalist’s painstakingly thorough audit of Walter B. Wriston’s stewardship at Citicorp, which he helped make into what is arguably the Global Village’s most formidable and influential financial institution. Business Week correspondent Zweig (Belly Up, 1985) offers a tellingly detailed account of how the son of a prominent educator made an enduring name for himself as a world-class banker.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Zweig (Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank), artfully blends Wriston’s personal and business lives, along with the American banking scene in the 1940s through the mid-1980s, into a compelling story. Although there is more detail here about banking practices than the casual reader will care to know, this is an absorbing biography of one of the most influential men in recent banking history.”
Publishers Weekly

“Superb anecdotes, in addition to clear and competent explanations of how commercial banking really works.”
San Francisco Examiner Chronicle

“Zweig’s wide-ranging biography details how Walter B. Wriston revolutionized banking.”
Business Week

“Banking is regarded by many as a dull activity run by dull people, but both come alive in this biography of Walter Wriston, CEO of Citicorp from 1967 to 1984...This hefty, well-written volume also covers the post-Wriston legacy of Citicorp, including the real estate problems of the early 1990s, and offers a general commentary on world financial history since the 1950s from the perspective of one of the world’s leading and most outspoken bankers.”
Foreign Affairs

“...This book is far more than a history of Wriston. It is, perhaps, one of the most fascinating accounts of United States banking since the inception of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson. It is also an intimate look into the country’s most powerful financial institution, Citibank, and the private world of bankers–a world that goes far beyond the calm, suited demeanor of boardroom bankers into a world of chaos, turmoil and corporate combat.”

“Outstanding. The definitive biography of one of the most remarkable figures in American Banking, and an illuminating chronicle of the environment in which he operated.”
–John Train, author of The Craft of Investing

“A remarkable tour de force. It is more than the biography of the most important American banker in fifty years. It is even more than the story of Citibank, the most formidable American bank. It is the story of American business in the last generation and it shows how and why the cozy, secure world of the American corporation has been revolutionized and restructured. It goes without saying that this book is required reading for anybody in banking and financial services. But Wriston deserves a wider audience than this. Anybody who works in a major American corporation who wants to understand the economic pressures behind downsizing and the transformation of business life needs to read this book. So does anybody interested in public policy and the future of American society.”
–Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow,
Council on Foreign Relations
and author of Power, Terror, Peace and War: America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk

“Among the interesting sidelights in Zweig’s treatment is the recounting of the tales of numerous business luminaries whose stars rose with Wriston’s and vice versa, including the likes of Aristotle Onassis before Onassis had built his shipping empire into a colossus through the assistance of Citibank and who, in his early years building his business, frequently found himself hat in hand seeking financial accommodations for his budding enterprises from Wriston.”
Business & Society Review