This wild and satiric tale of big business and sleazy political derring-do has been called one of the funniest business novels ever written.
International Coagulants, a conglomerate corporate octopus, is bleeding around the world from massively poor business decisions. But a cast of questionable characters are determined to save it for a variety of questionable reasons even as they undercut each other for control. The date: the late '70s. It could be this morning.
J. Wigglesworth ('Wiggy') Pratt, IC's CEO, is a thirsty 'Roman senator with silver hair, great dignity and blue but somewhat fishy eyes.' He tries to save the company with a series of smarmy new ventures and a secret deal with Major Ibn Mamoud, elegant Levantine representative of the Sheik of Sharm who owns Yankee Properties, Inc.
Meantime, Ward Winchester Read, Wiggy's arch rival who looks like a cross between Jack Kennedy and a frustrated battle tank commander, plots a takeover from exile in a plush non-person suite in the IC Tower in New York.
Others with key roles are the power hungry Senator Jefferson Jennings Bryan of the great state of Louisiana; a sinister ex-CIA operative and master of disguise; a Mexican Zapotec Indian oil billionaire named Joe the X; and Gaston Edsel, a former fork-lift truck operator elected to Congress by a fluke, elected Vice President in error and elevated to the White House when his running mate resigned after being exposed as an unemployed summer stock impersonator of presidents.
There are multiple plots, slippery maneuvers, betrayals and stumblebum connivings all swimming in a thick marinade of spinspeak and cant. The IC Tower itself is besieged by a private IC army of social dropouts recruited under a government contract to serve as peacekeepers in Third World countries. The stock market swings insanely, folly is loosed and the world wanders toward cataclysm. A final surprise resolution comes decked in yards of euphemism and offers at least a visionette for tomorrow.
--'whacks open capitalist hearts and corporate souls.'...NEW YORK TIMES
'--the dialogue is crisp and crackling, the zany insanity infectious.'
'Financially oriented readers will find this book specifically amusing--'
'--a very funny satire on our method of doing business, the political scene and the international one.'
...SEATTLE TIMES MAGAZINE
'As befits a corporate satire, every hatcheted and hatcheting boardroom conniver dresses in, lives surrounded by and uses only the choicest brand-name stuff.'
'--the world of wheeler-dealers comes through with mordant verisimilitude, from corporate gambols at the 'Greenbrier' to the White House (where President Gaston Edsel, former fork-lift operator glumly picks his teeth), with neatly irreverent swipes at everyone -- statesmen, media hipsters, computernicks, investment bankers, and assorted ethnics.'