• Fall

  • The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron
  • By: John Preston
  • Narrated by: Simon Bubb
  • Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the UK’s 2022 Costa Prize for Biography

“A portrait of one of the most enigmatic figures in the annals of White-collar crime.... A well-researched, compelling book that uncovers many mysteries about a media tycoon.” (Kirkus Reviews)

From the acclaimed author of A Very English Scandal, a thrilling and dramatic true-life account of the rise and fall of one of the most notorious media moguls of all time: Robert Maxwell.

In February 1991, Robert Maxwell triumphantly sailed into Manhattan harbor on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, to buy the ailing New York Daily News. Taxi drivers stopped their cabs to shake his hand, children asked for his autograph, and patrons of the hottest restaurant in Manhattan gave him a standing ovation while he dined. Ten months later, Maxwell disappeared off that same yacht in the middle of the night and was later found dead in the water. As John Preston reveals in this entertaining and revealing biography, Maxwell’s death was as mysterious as his remarkable life.

A tightly paced, addictive saga of ambition, hubris, narcissism, greed, power, and intrigue, Fall recounts Maxwell’s rise and fall and rise and fall again. Preston weaves backwards and forwards in time to examine the forces that shaped Maxwell, including his childhood as a Jew in occupied Eastern Europe through his failed political ambitions in the 1960s which ended in accusations of financial double-dealing, and his resurrection as a media mogul - and on to the family legacy he left behind, including his daughter, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Preston chronicles Maxwell’s all-encompassing rivalry with Rupert Murdoch - a battle that ruined Maxwell financially, threatened his sanity and lead, indirectly, to his death. Did Maxwell have a heart attack and fall overboard? Was his death suicide? Or was he murdered - possibly by Mossad or the KGB? Few in the 20th century journeyed as far from his roots as Robert Maxwell. Yet, as Fall reveals, no one, however rich and powerful, can entirely escape their past.

©2021 John Preston (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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Don't make men like this anymore

This couldn't happen now -- fact investigation made possible by the internet would kill off the cllimb and accomplishments of a Robert Maxwell. For better and worst, this part slimeball, part hero would crumble under fact-checkers. Can't help but feel something is lost in all this. Now Rupert Murdoch has won, I almost miss Maxwell.

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Excellent!!

Engaging and thorough. Never a dull moment in Maxwell’s life. Unlike some British accents- easy for my American ears to follow.

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Outstanding

It might not be until the last chapter that the reader (listener) can absorb the potency and complete relevance of this biography so stay with it.

The notoriety of his infamous daughter notwithstanding, this is a story of a complicated, damaged and driven man. Maxwell was the kind we love to make heroes of so we can watch them crash and burn.

The author looks unflinchingly at the facts available to show us what is known about Maxwell’s early life, rise and kamikaze like fall. Without defaulting to sentimentality, we are shown a man deeply wounded who attempted to do great things but ultimately was responsible for his own demise.

The book is well done and worthy of even more praise then it has received.
Bravo.

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Whew

What a life what a character what a story! Insane to think we may never know what happened on that boat

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Just a lot of negative randomness accumulating in a strange death

The entire story painted RM as a total failure and an awful person. It never dove into how he truly became successful and it’s hard to image how he could have been since it only reflects on everything negative he ever did and how awful he was to everyone around him. Multiple references of him being a spy but no real deep dive investigation into these claims. Can’t see how he ever became so rich since all his businesses were total failures based off of this story.

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Informative Bio of a Contraversial Megalomaniac

Throughout this fascinating review of one of the worlds most prolific and indiscriminate theives, the Narrator maintains an air of nonjudgmental detachment, leaving it up to the listener to make their own conclusions.

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Excellent

Great details of events . My congratulations to the author, good job. Movie series or documentary in the future