Reviewer Michelle Kaye Malsbury:
Michelle was born in Champaign, IL. Currently, she resides in Asheville, NC
and is in her second year of doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern
University in Ft. Lauderdale with specialization/concentration in
conflict resolution and peace studies. She has over six hundred
articles published on the web and one book published thus far with
many more in the wings. Hobbies include; reading, writing, music, and
playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Abu.
Author: Mark A. Cymrot,
Mark A Cymrot, author of Squeezing Silver, has penned more than thirty books. (2018, inside front cover) Cymrot works for BakerHostetler LLP and is part of their International Arbitration team. He has worked on several high profile cases including the trial of the Hunt Brothers during the silver squeeze in 1979. Cymrot sits on the board for the Writers Center and acts as advisor for CPR President’s Advisory Council and also ALI’s Restatement (4th) of Foreign Relations Law.
The Prologue jumps right into the first day of the trial and Cymrots analysis of Nelson Baker Hunt. The trial is taking place a number of years after the supposed crime was committed. He, Cymrot, notes that the courtroom was jammed full. “Nelson Baker Hunt comes striding down the center aisle of the packed courtroom, shoulders back, head up, eyes focused forward.” And why would he enter otherwise?
Judge Lasker was in charge and he was normally thought to be a sincere and circumspect judge of the circumstances by most legal minds who had opportunity to try cases in his courtroom. However, even he was caught up in the ether of some of the people that Nelson Baker Hunt rubbed arms and conducted business with as this trial moved onward.
The defense team minimized any shortcoming that the Hunt’s had and enlarged the admirable attributes they had in hopes of acquittal or hung jury. It was the job of Cymrot et.al. to portray the undesirable and not quite ethical qualities of these two in order to obtain a conviction.
The Hunt brothers had rapidly been purchasing contracts and taking delivery of the physical silver in a marketplace that could ill-afford such brazenness. They had many wealthy and influential friends who helped them in this audacious maneuver. BakerHostetler had to prove without a reasonable doubt that they did this on purpose and with malice.
The regulators had had some inkling that something was amiss with these huge contracts for silver apparently being hoarded by a petty few. Prices soared and then fell back down. There was no doubt that it was being manipulated, yet it took them a long while to react and get behind the idea of taking any serious actions against them.
As the defense paints an unlikely picture that there was anything the slightest bit dishonest going on in these highbrow dealings the prosecution objects and interjects as often as possible a bit of reality so the jury can get a fairly balanced portrayal of the circumstances that set this rapid run up in silver into motion and how it came to be discredited in the courtroom back in 1988.
As the plot thickens and the story takes wider twists and turns Cymrot and his team plow onward. They do not let the long list of well-heeled comrades that associated and invested humongous amounts of money with the Hunts turn them off the trail. The trail skirts the Saudi Royal Family and foreign banking and investment firms before coming full circle back to the Hunts.
I loved this book and enjoyed learning more about the silver markets squeeze at that time. I have been a broker for commodities and knowing the inside information about this is like a war story for those in that industry. It was mindboggling the extent to which they went to manipulate the marketplace and audaciously brazen, but intensely real. If you want a wonderful fall read try this one on for size!