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 twentieth 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.