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Main page » Non-Fiction » Economics and Management » Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco


The leveraged buyout of the RJR Nabisco Corporation for $25 billion is a landmark in American business history, a story of avarice on an epic scale. Two versions of the fierce competition for the largest buyout ever consummated are presented by skilled journalists with contrasting styles.


Burrough and Helyar are clearly fascinated with the personalities of the players in the deal and with the trappings of corporate wealth. The restless, flamboyant personality of Ross Johnson, CEO of RJR Nabisco, is portrayed as the key to the events that were to unfold. The colorful description of all of the players and the events will likely have broad appeal. Lampert signals the complexity of her story by introducing her narrative with a three-page cast of characters. Her focus on the strategy of the players and on the fast-paced action provides a more concise description of a deal big enough to augment the wealth of many rich people.


Business libraries will want both versions of this story of capitalism drawn to the extreme, but students, looking for a more comprehensive treatment, will favor Lampert's version.

"A superlative book...steadily builds suspense until the very end." -- --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Impressive qualities... delicious scenes... a cinematic yet extraordinarily careful book." -- Ken Auletta, New York Daily News

"One of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980s." -- --New York Times Book Review

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Tags: buyout, Nabisco, Burrough, Helyar, styles, Nabisco, buyout, Barbarians