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The Informant, A True Story

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  3,094 Ratings  ·  351 Reviews
From an award-winning New York Times investigative reporter comes an outrageous story of greed, corruption, and conspiracy--which left the FBI and Justice Department counting on the cooperation of one man . . .

It was one of the FBI's biggest secrets: a senior executive with America's most politically powerful corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, had become a confidential g
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Published October 2003 by Recorded Books (first published August 28th 2000)
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Once upon a time, I stumbled onto this book on the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble. Since it cost practically nothing and looked mildly interesting, I bought it. It went in my TBR bookcase where it languished for years. Oh, occasionally I would pick it up, blow the dust away and read the blurbs and think that it looked mildly interesting, and then place it back on the shelf.

Not long ago, while looking for something to read I picked it up again, blew the dust off and thought, this looks mildl
Sep 05, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I attended a continuing legal education event a week ago, at which the author of this book and one of the FBI agents from the book spoke about the case. I left the event determined to read the book straight away - and in any event, before the movie comes out next year.

I had known of this book for some time, and was generally aware it concerned the ADM antitrust price-fixing trial. But I had thought, wrongly as it turned out, that the book was about the trial. In fact, the trial is relegated to
Jan 20, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-finance
Few people do these massive reconstructions of corporate malfeasance better than Kurt Eichenwald. The ADM price-fixing case (which Eichenwald covered for the New York Times) almost recedes to the background as he details the bizarre shenanigans of cooperating witness and lying sociopath Mark Whitacre, president of the Bioproducts Division. (Archer Daniels Midland - "Supermarket to the World..." is a giant agribusiness company that made America obese with high fructose corn syrup and made our die ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Aug 11, 2012 Lacey Louwagie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This isn't the type of book I usually read. I'm not that interested in true crime or in corporate America. So it says something in itself that I still gave this book four stars -- and my main criticisms of it may have to do more with the fact that the genre isn't really my cup-of-tea than real shortcomings of the book.

The hardest things to take about this book are its length and its huge cast of characters. There are times when it just felt long, and it's hard to keep all the ADM employees, lawy
Jul 13, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A can't-put-it-down book about... antitrust? YES.

The ADM price-fixing case in the late 1990s was unprecedented in terms of scope and evidence. The cooperating witness, Mark Whitacre, spent about three taping meeting and phone calls showing ADM agreeing to fix prices with 4 other companies in the global market for lysine. The ADM fine and evidence led to other prosecutions of price-fixing and law enforcement approaches price-fixing investigations and prosecutions in a completely new way.

But the
May 03, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adulthood
Loved the movie and the book is fantastic, as well. I loved the way the author used dialogue through transcripts of taped conversations, first hand accounts, and testimony. It reads so smoothly - unlike many "True Stories" - and you feel the deceptions emotionally rather than just tut tutting the bad actors. You as the reader go on the roller coaster with the investigating agents and the prosecutors as they try to build a case around someone that can't be trusted to tell the truth for longer tha ...more
Rich Lundeen
Fascinating true story. On the one hand, I would have liked it more if it were about 1/4 the length. On the other, some of the most interesting details were what made me like it the most. Like... I loved his relationship with the gardener (although totally non essential to the main story).
Clif Hostetler
May 08, 2008 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
This non-fiction story is more interesting than any fictional crime detective story. I feel compelled to be a bit more enthusiastic than usual about this book to overcome the reaction of potential readers who are not interested in a story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). That may sound boring. Trust me, it’s not!

By the end of the book, you will learn that as of the year 2000 over a billion dollars in fines had been paid worldwide by various food and pharmaceutical companies a
Mar 13, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
The author is fairly good at telling an interesting story,
but by the time I got to page 450, I was burned out and went to the last chapter to see how things turned out.

He put in too many descriptions of buildings, etc that really didn't have anything to do with the story.
Also every fart, sneeze, cough and backache by everyone in the book.

Whoever edited the book failed, the story needed to be tighten up.

Only a little about the trial, and because the book was written in 2000, nothing about a
Tannie Olsen
Jun 14, 2008 Tannie Olsen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tannie by: Co-Worker
This book was a tradeout between me and a friend of mine from work. He got to read "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman and I got to read "The Informant". I think he got the better end of the deal.

The Informant is a true story about Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and their alleged price fixing in a variety of agricultural markets. Mark Whitacre, a top executive of ADM, is the 'informant'. Whitacre assisted the FBI in compiling hundreds of audio and video tapes, documenting ADM's price fixing wit
May 18, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
every time i read a book like this, which doesn't happen often enough, i have a hard time getting into fiction again. if you wrote a novel like this, people would not be able to suspend disbelief, and critics would complain about too many plot implausibilities and an overuse of plot twists. it simply wouldn't work.

if you think you might have trouble getting into a book about lysine price-fixing, you won't. that's just where it starts. it's a fascinating, page-turning look into corporate greed a
Sep 29, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2013 Dkovlak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is a real-life, John Grisham-like novel,but it is a true story. The bottom line is that "crime does not pay." No matter how big you are, crime not only hurts you, but hurts many others. The author does an amazing job of investigating and writing this book. He is very thorough and is able to accurately describe meetings and conversations that happened over a multi-year period. Anyone who is interested in big business should read this book. Even though these events happened many years ag ...more
Kim Ford
Oct 21, 2011 Kim Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is just an incredible story, full of intrigue and deception. It is frightening how corrupt some businessmen are, and how many of them do not get caught. I learned a lot from this book, from how the FBI works, white collar crimes, the justice system, and bipolar disorder. I really enjoyed the movie, but of course the book descibes everything in such great detail.
Mar 19, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was amazed by every facet of this book and then appalled to see Archer Daniel Midland ranked in this month's Fortune Magazine as one of the Top Five corporations in the Food Product Division after literally stealing BILLIONS from small farmers around the world for decades. A true American Travesty...
A great read...reads like a well-written mystery or conspiracy novel and yet is a true story.
Ryan Quillian
Jun 20, 2007 Ryan Quillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: law nerds
I'm still reading, but this is definitely the most sexy an author could make a story about price fixing.
May 20, 2017 Phrodrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom line first: Very readable, barely believable. Perhaps too long and certainly a few too many made up conversations. This is high stakes reality TV with unexpected change - ups to keep you turning pages.

As I remember, or choose to remember the timeline: It was made public that one of the planets largest agricultural food and related industries was under criminal investigation on either the same day or the same week as the White Water investigation went public.

The White Water investigation w
Laura Koerber
May 08, 2017 Laura Koerber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf
I chose this book to read because Eichenwald is a hero: the reporter who really acted like a reporter and followed the story of Trump's involvement with Russian and his criminal activities related to his so-called charitable foundation.

Eichenwald does investigative journalism. He has the determination of a honey badger.

This book, which is about Big Ag and price fixing, reads like a thriller. It's an amazing view into how the FBI operates and into how the CEOs of a business justified to themselv
Brian Olinger
Dec 18, 2016 Brian Olinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. The story is fascinating and the characters and plot would never pass a first draft of fiction. Eichenwald writes a great narrative. You will not be able to put this down.
I actually thought it was a pretty amazing true story, my only reason to rate it 3 stars instead of 4 is because there was so much detail that it began to drag.
Oct 03, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2017 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story is bizarre and entertaining. I gave the book two stars because it gets so involved with details. There were a lot of people to keep track of, there was a lot of information to try to keep straight, and the details helped in many parts. However, there were some sections that dragged.
Feb 18, 2009 J.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book enough to give it 3 stars. but I would not put it on my best non-fiction shelf.

I enjoyed the true crime aspects of the case, Kurt Eichenwald did a good job of keeping the suspense up (although the first 150 pages are a bit tedious, and the constant references to Mr. John Grisham could have been left out) as well as his attempts at simplifying the crimes involved for the average reader (don't know much about history, don't know much biology). The beginning prologue is pretty e
Jordan McPeek
Jul 23, 2011 Jordan McPeek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, true-crime
Fascinating true story of the main witness in the biggest price-fixing case in the U.S. The first half is the most compelling as Mark Whitacre, the title character, starts to cooperate with the FBI and collect evidence through secret recordings. The second half, once the undercover portion is done, focuses more on how a major case gets stretched and pulled in all directions while winding its way through the bureaucracy. The cast of characters is large, and becomes especially hard to pin down in ...more
Alain Dewitt
Feb 04, 2012 Alain Dewitt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Pessolano
This book is for those who like true crime and those that enjoy John Grisham. This book is a John Grisham type novel, except that it really did happen. In fact there are similarities to his book, "The Partner". If anyone has read John Harr's novel "Civil Action", which is a true lawyer story, will find this book very much to their liking.

This book is about the executive employees of Archer Daniels Midland Company, or ADM. Although I did not recogfnize this company, it does touch each of our live
Shira Karp
Feb 19, 2007 Shira Karp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 2003 and rated it quite a while ago, but I just got back from seeing the movie version of "The Time Traveler's Wife" in which they showed a preview for the movie they're making of this book starring Matt Damon and Scott Bacula. Pleased with that cast, but they're turning it into a comedy? I figured I'd come write an actual review.

I've never been a fan of the spy/thriller genre in books. I love the spy/thriller MOVIES, but other than John Grisham and Dan Brown I'd never been a
This book is truly a magnum opus, a chronicle of an incredibly complicated price fixing case that branched into a host of other criminal areas.The reader is given penetrating looks into the FBI, the Justice Department, and the geographical offices of the U.S. attorney. The inner workings of a major international company, The Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, a company supplying such basic products as high fructose corn syrup, citric acid and lysine, are laid bare as are its interactions with f ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Fiona715 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don’t have to like or understand business to enjoy this book, it reads like a comedic thriller, but it’s true.

Archer Daniels Midlands is one of those companies you always see ads for (often around PBS shows), but probably have little to no idea what they do. Well, I for one now have a much better idea, but I can’t say that I admire them at all—and the US Justice Department and parts of the FBI don’t come off much better! ADM, which advertises itself as "The Supermarket to the World," proces
Mar 07, 2012 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, so I know it's a little weird to say i just finished reading a can't-put-it-down book about an anti-trust case featuring Archer Daniel Midland, a grain-producing company in DeKalb, Illinois. Talk about a page turner, huh? To continue with the negative, it's 600 pages long, non-fiction, and besides price fixing, deals with embezzlement and political infighting. Wow, right?

Seriously, I am so impressed with author Kurt Eichenwald that I'm set to read anything he writes. I first read his Enron b
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