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Tower of Basel: The Inside Story of the Central Bankers' Secret Bank

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  58 reviews
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 forme ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by PublicAffairs (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Pfauzgrot S
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
What a huge disappointment. The only explanation I have for the great reviews in the WSJ or the Times is that they didn't read the whole thing. Its littered with typo's, spelling errors, and even grammar mistakes (no, Belgian and Belgium are not the same, and Alfred Krupp is not spelled Alfried).
What is much worse is the content. As a general rule it has been proven useful to stay clear of books about conspiracy theories if you want real information. Same applies here. The author sees conspirac
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted a good book about Basel and the BIS, but this book is just about the Nazi infiltration of the bank, which was terrible, but this is hardly a story of the bank. I agree with the thesis that we need more transparency about the BIS and Basel meetings. It's undemocratic and when they are wrong (like with Basel I and Basel II), there's no democratic accountabiliy. They are public servants not bankers, but they are unelected. All of this would be fine if they did not have so much power ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
By Dominic Elliott

“The shadowy history of the secret bank that runs the world”, the subtitle of Adam LeBor’s new book, may sound sensationalist. But “Tower of Basel” is an absorbing and thorough examination of one of the world’s most important yet opaque institutions: the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

The book’s publication is timely: revelations of Big Brother-style snooping by the U.S. government and the increasing influence of central bankers are troubling examples of what appears
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Disappointing. I purchased this book after reading a favorable review in the Wall Street Journal. The book did not provide any additional information beyond that in the WSJ review. The Bank for International Settlements was founded to deal with Germany's reparation payments after World War I. According to the author, it was founded by and for Nazis to escape the reparations, fund World War II and the Holocaust. It seemed like more than three quarters of the book concerned Nazis. It could have ei ...more
Void lon iXaarii
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was so incredibly excited about this book, the subject promised to be so very interesting: I was expecting great analysis and big picture views but unfortunately the book seems to have more of a socialist jealousy and moralistic perspective, focusing much more on what the author thinks others should do as opposed to what they did and why they did it. A lot of pages were (from my point of view) wasted on casting blame on individual actors and characters, personal histories and the like (dirty i ...more
Frank Kelly
May 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Was rather disappointed with this book. I did not learn much from this book beyond what I read in several reviews (how bad is that when you can learn all a book has to offer in 15 column inches??). The coverage of how the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) actually handled the recent global financial meltdown was thin. It reads at times - many times - like a breathless expose' instead of a history book. Not very helpful, I'm sorry to say, and not much of a contribution to better understand ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at an obscure and unique financial institution. Also a surprising look at the financial side of World War 2.
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
yes, to the majority who do not know that American, British have been dealing business and close communication with NASDAP (Hitler) during the rise of Hitler. And BIS was known to be a secret business channel between Hitler and the West even during the landing of Normandy..the irony of this reflects the greater directions and thoughts for us to think about this secret institution. My questions are the same, but in a lesser doubts than the author himself: i) yes, if BIS wants the other countries ...more
J.W. Wexford
Great book. If you want to understand how the world's money is controlled today, you better read this. ...more
Jiri Kram
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant evidence of super power that really rules the world. This is not a conspiracy theory.
Stephen Frank
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Sheds light on an opaque but powerful institution
Despite the rather sensational blurb, Tower of Basel manages to be a somewhat clear-headed expose of the somewhat obscure but highly influential Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

The BIS is one of those unknown international institutions that no one seems to really know about. Yet, it has played a subtly significant role in shaping the international financial and regulatory landscape of the post WWII world. It is a bank owned by central banks, that performs financial services for these ba
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Reading this book was a little frustrating. LeBor has two main arguments against the Bank of International Settlements (BIS): their cooperation with, and wealth gained through, Nazi Germany during WWII, and the current secrecy of its operation. While the first argument makes for a more serious moral criticism, it is also irrelevant and weakens the criticism of the BIS of our times. So while I would have prefer he stick to his second argument and flesh out the problems with the secrecy of a bank ...more
Julian Douglass
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
When I saw the book, I was interested in it because I never heard of the BIS. Maybe this was a weird bank that operates in the shadows with no regulations. Maybe this was a secret bank that propped up the Nazi regime. Maybe this bank had a role in the 2007-08 financial crisis.

It turns out that one of the things is slightly true. While I feel that there needs to be more transparency about the BIS, this is hardly a sinister bank. Mr. LeBor tries to get people worked up even before reading the boo
Sean Reeves
May 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I've marked this book as read but in fact I only made it about half-way through. Adam LeBor may be a much lauded British author, novelist and journalist but he makes no attempt to understand the deeper forces at work in international finance which the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) oversees. The book may purport be an an "inside story" of BIS but it is not. LeBor is clearly a darling of the establishment and is careful not to step on the toes of those who coddle him and who could kick ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of a bank I had never heard of.

High finance, intrigue, and nazis: this book tells the story of a bank that has successfully played both sides since its inception in 1930 and the impact it has had on our world today.

Part history, part damning critique, Tower of Basel is a must read for anyone seeking to understand how the global financial system got to be how it is.

My main criticism is, based on the condemnation piled on the BIS, the authors call for reform at the end of the book s
Mike Pinter
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really eye-opening read, and I think it was fair and informative about matters most people don't realise happen behind closed doors, which matters affect their daily lives in ways more immediately important than what governments decide with such paint-dryingly slow speeds, usually just for their names to be written in History rather than to make life better for all. It would be great if we could know what the years since 2013 have brought. Here's hoping future editions can include mor ...more
Randy Patterson
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me the “Tower of Basel” provided more evidence and a brief history of one bank that illustrates how secrecy and operating beyond the law (legally done) most banks of this kind operate. For example the Federal Reserve of the United States operates in the similar ways even by its very name of Federal Reserve of the United States-giving the impression that it is run by government employees instead of private bankers.
Albert Garcia
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Adam LeBor confirms my 15 years of researching "who owns the world", by divulging that the globe's Central Banksters meet every other Sunday in Basel, Switzerland in Mount Everest type secrecy, to determine their next move to further annihilate the entire world's economy permanently.

It's all about their ultra narcissism and Satanic control of humankind.

I highly recommend this book to all non-conspiracy theory readers.

Albert Garcia
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very disturbing expose of the sort of power a few individual human beings have over the 7 plus billion on the planet. As of 2008, the actions of rogue bankers (and their cohorts in industry, business, military and politics) have generated catastrophic consequences for the vast majority of humans. This book focuses on the bank of banks: the bank of international settlements.
Francis Cao
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
That is the kind of book that you need to avoid reading. Full of out-of-focus tabloid stories which are far from entertaining. It is one of the available options one can use to test someone's knowledge of financial history who always claims to be an expert. If someone learns BIS from this book, then he or she is possibly a crook. Come one, even the conspiracy theory has its threshold. ...more
Ezee Bean
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is an amazing book of high politics and high finance. How a few persons managed to create an institution which became more powerful than nations. How the bankers defied the national interest of countries they represented . Though at the heart of it all is the conflict between national and maybe emotional interest and professional demand (?) or is it self interest(?).

Very informative for me.
Ariel Burbaickij
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
biased (author writing in 2013 attempts to present it so as if it was not known for sure after Moynihan commision report from 1997 that Harry Dexter White, who pushed hard for liquidation of BIS, which author seems to be in favour of too, was a Soviet spy) but delivers some lesser known facts around WWII and squeeze-out of private shareholders.
Audrey Sue Lavoie
Feb 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Very interesting and well researched book. With a lot of information about events in the financial world during WW2. But the author has a very obvious slant against the BIS in its current iteration and some of the institutions that has emerged from it. In many ways I agreed with his opinion and in many ways not so much but I feel that the slant was far to pronounced for this type of book.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I was worried the book would be too tinged with conspiracy, but it was balanced and well-researched. The war-time history of the BIS is interesting, though I would have benefitted more from an emphasis on recent history.
Patricia Faloon
We Now Have the Truth

Could one ever imagine that a handful of men make the monetary decisions which affect the affairs of the world! Or that they were the driving force behind financing Hitler's third Reich!
Mirek Jasinski
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a good read, even though the title implies what the book doesn't deliver. There are no secrets revealed here, and there is not much of an inside story. Just an attempt to interpret recent history through the eyes of uberbankers. ...more
Alessandro Speciale
The euro is the continuation of a Nazi-era project. Yeah sure. Dan Brown on a bad day could have come up with something more credible
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting, but biased from start.
Dinesh Perera
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting. Well researched. The ending chapter ties up the book nicely.
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Adam LeBor was born in London and read Arabic, international history and politics at Leeds University, graduating in 1983, and also studied Arabic at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He worked for several British newspapers before becoming a foreign correspondent in 1991. He has reported from thirty countries, including Israel and Palestine, and covered the Yugoslav wars for The Times of London ...more

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