The Match King is a gripping financial biography of the Swedish émigré Ivar Kreuger. It accounts for the remarkable yet forgotten genius who made a fortune by raising money in America and loaning it to Europe in exchange for matchstick monopolies. Kreuger’s enterprise was a rare success story throughout the Great Depression. Yet after his suicide in 1932, it became clear that Kreuger was not all he seemed: evidence surfaced of fudged accounting figures, off-balance-sheet accounting, even forgery. The Match King urges us to rethink our ideas about the wisdom of crowds, the invisible hand, and the free and unfettered market.
"The tale of Ivar Krueger, vividly brought to life by Frank Partnoy, is a reminder that Wall Street has not changed much since the late 1920's. The players change, but the animal spirits remain the same. Anyone interested in today's financial crisis will be captivated by this story."
"The Match King" is a skillfully told tale of the romance and the corruption involved in attempting to be on top of the world. How did Krueger enlisted the loyalty of the people essential to him? Yes, some he bought, but most -- he beguiled."