Fat Leonard: How One Man Bribed, Bilked, and Seduced the U.S. Navy

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Product Details
$32.50  $30.23
Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
6.1 X 8.9 X 1.5 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author
Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Afghanistan Papers. He has worked for the Post since 1998 as a foreign correspondent, Pentagon reporter, and national security specialist, and has reported from more than sixty countries. His coverage of the war in Afghanistan won the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting. He is also a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Whitlock's retelling of Francis's eventual arrest, which led to a massive investigation ensnaring dozens of admirals, is as entertaining as it is astonishing."--The Washington Post

"A masterly investigation into one of the Navy's worst scandals."--The New York Times

"[Whitlock's] research and detail are impressive and give this book weight and importance.... In a time of global tensions, a rising China, and political instability at home, the story of Fat Leonard should be a very loud wake-up call for America."--The Washington Independent Review of Books

"Yes, this book is a great read. Fat Leonard: How One Man Bribed, Bilked, And Seduced the U.S. Navy reads like the screen play for a future Mission Impossible episode. Chock full of exotic ports, wayward government officials, secret recordings, sex, attractive women, luxury cars, escapes from jail, more sex, over-the-top parties in Michelin-starred restaurants, a world-class con-artist, and bundles of cash. It is all here....Although the book reads like an action story about Francis, its real value is as a wakeup call exposing chinks in the Navy's procurement system..."--The Cipher Brief

"A vigorous investigation into the life of a con artist and swindler who had half the leadership of the U.S. Navy in his pocket....Maddening and astonishing in its revelations of a crime spree that cost taxpayers untold millions."--Kirkus Reviews

"[A] rollicking exposé....Drawing on troves of incriminating emails and Francis's colorful testimony after his 2013 arrest, Whitlock's vivid narrative is a whirl of blithe graft....It's also an appalling indictment of an out-of-control Navy that ditched its ethos of duty and honor in favor of craven toadying, and then, when the scandal came out, shielded the top brass from accountability while lower ranks went to jail. The result is an entertaining picaresque about a magnetic rogue that also spotlights troubling rot in the U.S. military."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Explosive, brilliantly reported and meticulously documented, Craig Whitlock's Fat Leonard reads like a thriller but depicts one of the most sordid chapters in U.S. military history, a tale of brazen corruption that soiled the Navy and is an infuriating insult to the American taxpayer. You won't be able to put this book down, and you won't stop wondering how it could have happened."--David E. Hoffman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

"A relentless investigative reporter, Craig Whitlock has unearthed the truly jaw-dropping story the U.S. Navy hoped you'd never learn: how a master operator and defense contractor named Fat Leonard wined, dined and blackmailed senior Navy brass so they would help him bilk taxpayers of millions of dollars. This book has the receipts, down to the names of the sex clubs, the menus for the $30,000 dinners, and Fat Leonard's own confessions."--Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service

"Magnificently entertaining, meticulously reported, muckraking of the highest order, Fat Leonard might be the best true crime book you've ever read. It starts as the saga of a career criminal making millions in kickbacks by corrupting the admirals and officers of the United States Navy with Champagne, Cuban cigars, caviar, and sex. Everyone knew; almost no one cared. It gets better. He bamboozled the Navy's vaunted criminal investigators, conned the criminal justice system, and fled the country, heading for Russia. You can't put this book down, but once you're done, you'll hurl it across the room with a pleasurable sense of outrage."--Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, winner of the National Book Award

"Fat Leonard is a rollicking story of bribery and blackmail--of deceit, hubris, and greed. What makes this jaw-dropping account of corruption inside the mighty U.S. Navy so tragic, is that it's all true. With The Afghanistan Papers, Craig Whitlock demonstrated his brilliance as an investigative reporter. With Fat Leonard, he's done it again."--Annie Jacobsen, author of Nuclear War: A Scenario

"The story of Fat Leonard is almost too improbable to be true, but Craig Whitlock documents every lurid turn and eye-popping detail in a masterful reconstruction of the rise and fall of one of the 21st century's most talented con men. Whitlock's exquisitely crafted narrative, with its depictions of U.S. Navy officers selling their country's secrets and their personal sense of honor to a corrupt businessman, will leave readers astonished and enraged--and utterly fascinated."--Joby Warrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS


"Fast-paced and vivid... chock-full of telling quotes."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"The excellent new book... Bombshell revelations... [and] damning evidence of things we already intuited."
-- The Washington Post

"At once page-turning and rigorous, The Afghanistan Papers makes a lasting and revelatory contribution to the record of America's tragic management of our longest war."
-- Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S

"The Afghanistan Papers is a gripping account of why the war in Afghanistan lasted so long. The missed opportunities, the outright mistakes and more than anything the first-hand accounts from senior commanders who only years later acknowledged they simply did not tell the American people what they knew about how the war was going."
-- Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent

"A searing indictment of the deceit, blunders and hubris of senior military and civilian officials."
-- Tom Bowman, NPR Pentagon correspondent