God's Bankers (Hardcover)

A History of Money and Power at the Vatican

By Gerald Posner

Simon & Schuster, 9781416576570, 752pp.

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

List Price: 32.00*
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Description

A deeply reported, fast-paced exposé of the money and the cardinals-turned-financiers at the heart of the Vatican—the world’s biggest, most powerful religious institution—from an acclaimed journalist with “exhaustive research techniques” (The New York Times).

From a master chronicler of legal and financial misconduct, a magnificent investigation nine years in the making, this book traces the political intrigue and inner workings of the Catholic Church. Decidedly not about faith, belief in God, or religious doctrine, this book is about the church’s accumulation of wealth and its byzantine entanglements with financial markets across the world. Told through 200 years of prelates, bishops, cardinals, and the Popes who oversee it all, Gerald Posner uncovers an eyebrow-raising account of money and power in perhaps the most influential organization in the history of the world.

God’s Bankers has it all: a rare exposé and an astounding saga marked by poisoned business titans, murdered prosecutors, mysterious deaths of private investigators, and questionable suicides; a carnival of characters from Popes and cardinals, financiers and mobsters, kings and prime ministers; and a set of moral and political circumstances that clarify not only the church’s aims and ambitions, but reflect the larger dilemmas of the world’s more recent history. And Posner even looks to the future to surmise if Pope Francis can succeed where all his predecessors failed: to overcome the resistance to change in the Vatican’s Machiavellian inner court and to rein in the excesses of its seemingly uncontrollable financial quagmire. Part thriller, part financial tell-all, this book shows with extraordinary precision how the Vatican has evolved from a foundation of faith to a corporation of extreme wealth and power.


About the Author

Gerald Posner was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He is the author of eleven books, including New York Times bestsellers, and one a finalist for the Pulitzer in History.  Posner has written dozens of articles for national magazines and papers and has been a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, author Trisha Posner.


Praise For God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican

"A dogged reporter exhaustively pursues the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican, from the Borgias to Pope Francis.... A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican's legendary, enabling secrecy."

“A fast-paced read that brings history alive on every page. The book will captivate those who prefer their historical nonfiction spiked with real-life tales of murder, power, and intrigue.”

“Posner uses his superlative investigative skills to craft a fascinating and comprehensive look at the dark side of the Catholic Church…. Accessible and well written, Posner’s is the definitive history of the topic to date.”

“A highly anticipated book, the result of a nine year investigation by author Gerald Posner. It reads like Robert Ludlow’s fiction [and] paints a picture of murder, double-dealing, and fraud surrounding the bank.”

"A stunning exposé by investigative reporter Gerald Posner. As exciting as a mystery thriller."

“Expertly shows that theory and conjecture aren’t necessary when the real-life narrative is compelling enough…. Posner’s history of the institution reads like a sprawling novel, full of complex characters and surprising twists….Readers interested in issues involving religion and international finance will find Posner’s work a compelling read.”

God’s Bankers is often fascinating reading, full of international intrigue….God’s Bankers is meticulously researched. Almost 200 pages of end notes indicate the care Posner took in nine years spent researching his subject….The book tells a compelling story, but never at the expense of journalistic principles. Posner might speculate, but he is always careful to mark it as such, and to point out the facts and primary sources that support or undermine the speculation….His work pulls together existing scholarship and massive amounts of original research to present the closest thing to a definitive account of the workings of money and finance within the Vatican that could be produced without cooperation from the Vatican itself.”

“The Vatican began trying to reform its bank, but with only modest success. Now there's a new sheriff in town, Pope Francis, and he has made significant progress. Posner's compelling book provides a benchmark for measuring his success.”

"An outstanding book"

“Why all this reform? Wall Street-lawyer-turned-author Gerald Posner lays it out in his deeply researched, passionately argued book, ‘God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican.’ Posner…is a merciless pitbull of an investigator, marshaling mountains of evidence to make his arguments…. the heart of ‘God's Bankers’ lies in chapters devoted to the church's actions during and immediately after World War II. In these chapters, Posner dissects the church's actions with the eye of a prosecutor.”

“An exhaustive history of the financial machinations at the center of the church in Rome….Posner weaves an extraordinarily intricate tale of intrigue, corruption and organized criminality….Posner’s gifts as a reporter and storyteller are most vividly displayed in a series of lurid chapters on the American archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the arch-Machiavellian who ran the Vatican Bank from 1971-1989.”

"The church was with Hitler and Mussolini during the Second World War. Even today, the Church is run on blood money. Blood money from where? By whom? Well, the details are in God’s Bankers. It is a must read for all those who love action-packed and suspense-filled real life incidents. God’s Bankers is more thrilling that Mario Puzo’s Godfather."

"God's Bankers should be read by every Catholic truly interested in Church history."

“A book worth the time if a reader is interested in Roman Catholic Church and European history….The book will be appreciated by those involved in finance. It is chock full of tales of investment schemes involving off-shore ghost companies, shell corporations and holding companies set up to hide the movement of money, the use of tax havens, tax laws (and how to avoid them), and financial instruments that caused millions of dollars to disappear….Some may also appreciate reading about the personalities of popes, the power games and the internecine politics of the Roman Curia (the pope’s administrative wing) that make the current political games played in Washington, D.C., seem amateurish by comparison.”

“This fast-paced, carefully researched exposé of the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican is a real eyebrow-raiser….a spellbinding, intricate tale of corruption, intrigue, and criminality at the heart of the world’s largest religious institution.”


Coverage from NPR