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“This is a powerful and illuminating book. Brooke Masters goes after her subject with the same doggedness, guts, and skill that define New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s investigations of corporate corruption. In Spoiling for a Fight, she explains in a deeply reported, warts-and-all way, both why Spitzer is obsessed and why he is necessary.”

—David Maraniss, author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton

“Not only is this a riveting biography of one of America’s rising political stars, it is a fascinating journey into the inner sanctums of corporate greed. It explains who is stealing your 401(k) money, how they’re doing it, and how Eliot Spitzer is on their case. It also explains why Wall Street fears Spitzer while Main Street admires him.”

—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways

“Brooke Masters has captured Eliot Spitzer as no one else has, putting him in the context of American capitalism and explaining how his agenda has revolutionized Wall Street and can possibly save the Democratic Party from economic irrelevance. He is not just some hair-trigger prosecutor but the legitimate heir to Theodore Roosevelt’s mantle of saving capitalism from the rapacious, cheating business people who would destroy the markets they dominate for their own greed. I say ‘bravo’ for getting Spitzer right.”

James J. Cramer, markets commentator, TheStreet.com, and host of CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer

From Publishers Weekly:
Masters's examination of the New York State attorney general's seven years in office is timely, given Spitzer's prosecutions of powerful financial industries and his candidacy in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Even if Spitzer fails in his bid for the governorship, the book is worthy of study because it clearly explains the complicated, unsavory practices of insurance companies, mutual funds, Wall Street brokerages and the New York Stock Exchange. The author also skillfully places Spitzer in the context of previous reformers within government, especially Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Brandeis and Rudy Giuliani. She shows, too, how philosophical differences between state and federal regulators over the past 100 years set the stage for the crusading Spitzer. Masters, a New York–based reporter for the Washington Post, holds degrees from Harvard University and the London School of Economics that prepared her well for dissecting the arcane, corrupt industry routines usually unknown to consumers. Though Masters received cooperation from the 46-year-old Spitzer and many of his aides, this warts-and-all book demonstrates how the mostly sincere, mostly decent Spitzer can be hurt by his overweening ego and quick temper. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews:
A balanced biography from Washington Post reporter Masters of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, called "Crusader of the Year" by Time in 2002 and a headline-hunting bully who is frequently the target of Wall Street Journal editorials.

Spitzer, like one of his reformer heroes, Theodore Roosevelt, comes from a privileged background yet has earned a reputation as a foe of corrupt financiers. Masters traces the swift ascent of this current Democratic candidate for governor of New York: exclusive Bronx prep school, Princeton, Harvard Law, marriage and family, service in the Manhattan D.A.'s office and runs for the Attorney General's office (the second try, a squeaker in 1998, put him in office). But most of the book is taken up with Spitzer's high-profile battles against gun manufacturers, Midwestern power plants, Wall Street research analysts such as Henry Blodget and Jack Grubman, insurance companies and mutual funds. His inspirations include the Progressive movement of the last century and, more surprisingly, conservatives' "new federalism," enabling state officials to move into areas long associated with the federal government. Interviewing associates and adversaries of the politician, Masters recounts the maneuvering behind his public actions: round-the-clock pushes for indictments, innovative use of forgotten legislation, clashes with corporate counsels and leaks of ongoing investigations. Spitzer emerges as a Dewey or Giuliani in Democratic clothing: intelligent, energetic, but also self-righteous and prickly. Although Masters credits Spitzer with standing up for small investors at a time when the federal government laxly enforced regulation of Wall Street, she also finds some substance in conservative laments that he sparked a host of other states' lawsuits, plaguing companies with competing investigations, paperwork and costs in the millions. That complaint is coupled with another from the liberal side: By favoring the first people to cooperate with his office, Spitzer has sometimes allowed powerful targets to walk away largely unscathed while smaller fries were penalized.

An adept blend of legal, political and business journalism about the man who would be New York's next governor.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006

Buy The Book
Spoiling For A Fight : The Rise of Eliot Spitzer
by Brooke Masters

On Sale July 25, 2006

Hardcover: 368 pages | ISBN: 0-8050-7961-0
Published by Times Books / Henry Holt & Co.
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