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Hardcover The Art of Making Money : The Story of a Master Counterfeiter Book

ISBN: 1592404464

ISBN13: 9781592404469

The Art of Making Money : The Story of a Master Counterfeiter

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Kersten details how Williams painstakingly defeated the anti-forging features of the 'New Note', how Williams and his partner-in-crime wife converted fake bills into legitimate tender at shopping malls all over America, and how they stayed one step ahead of the Secret Service until trusting the wrong person brought them all down.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Genuine Tragedy of a Counterfeiter

It is rather amazing that our day-to-day economy is founded on rectangles of printed paper, worthless in themselves, but to which we all communally assign a high value. The difference between the rectangles' actual value and their symbolic value is what counterfeiters exploit, and the counterfeiter's work was considered so dangerous to society that it used to be a capital crime. It is still a danger, and the object of the Federal Reserve Bank is to print dollar bills that cannot be copied, while the object of the counterfeiters is to copy them. This cat-and-mouse game has best been played recently by counterfeiter Art Williams, who successfully conquered the redesigned $100 bill, issued to thwart photocopiers in 1996. Successfully, for a while at least. Williams's story is told in _The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter_ (Gotham Books) by Jason Kersten. Kersten has had plenty of interviews with Williams, and with many of his connections; he did not get cooperation from the Secret Service, which preferred to keep things secret. The Secret Service was formed in 1865 to combat counterfeiters, who were threatening the foundation of the US economy. Only later did it get the job it is better known for, protecting the president. So while there are some details about the work of the counterfeiter and his detection and prosecution, most of the book plays as a biography of a talented, obsessed, and tragic figure. Williams had an upbringing fit for a career criminal, including a chaotic home and gang membership. A counterfeiting expert took him under his wing, explaining how to use the arc-light burner, make plates, mix inks, obtain paper, and the other matters of hardware, as well as common-sense tips on how to unload the money and keep from getting caught.m Counterfeiters risk capture if they just print money and spend it. It is far safer to print money and sell it for, say, thirty cents on the dollar, to distant contacts who ideally would use it for drug payoffs or for international shipments. It was a lot to learn, and Williams was a gifted student. When Chicago became too hot for safety, he headed to Texas where he was picked up for robbery, and when he got out of prison, the 1996 New Note was in circulation. He took the note as his personal challenge. Among his innovations was experimenting with digital duplication, producing a hybrid bill that used both offset and digital production. Kersten details the bill's security features, and how Williams worked hard to overcome each one. The color-shifting ink, for instance, could be mimicked with paint used on those automobiles that have a different color depending on the angle you are looking at them, and the paint could be applied with a rubber stamp. Even experts did not spot the fakes, and Williams began the labor-intensive full-scale production. Everyone wanted in, because the bills were so good. Williams got rich from the production, and he and friends and fam

Well written account of a talented, yet troubled man's life story.

Jason Kersten does a marvelous job of telling the true story of how Art Williams became one of the most successful conterfeiters in modern times. The narrative flows beautifully to bring readers into the difficult and troubled life of Art as he was growing up and how he got into conterfeiting. There's no sense of hyperbole nor of minimizing Art's strengths and/or his flaws. Art's story itself also is inherently compelling because of his great humanity and how his attempt to connect with his estranged father led to his discovery and apprehension by the secret service. I found this book to be one of the most memorable and high-quality books that I have ever read.

roller coaster ride with only one destination

I listened to the audio version of "The Art of Making Money", I think this might be the best way to get this particular title. A young man finds himself on a roller coaster ride, but instead of getting off, he yells "faster, faster", even though he must know where the ride is going to end up. The disappearance of his counterfeiting mentor is like a foreshadowing... We know that huge amounts of (funny) money, a dysfunctional set of friends and family and the secret service are all going to combine for a nasty ending, but what a ride! More than anything, we learn something that many people find out, that in the end, no matter what, family, and our parents are often a bond that can't be broken no matter how badly they treat us, nor how many times they abandon us, or how badly we treat each other. I'll keep this audio book for listening to again.

Helen Beresini

This was a great read. The author has a superior command of the written word and uses it to spin a fascinating tale of a troubled family. I particularly enjoyed his portrayal of the many colorful, true-life characters and the balanced way in which he portrays them. I've read it twice and have recommended it to all my friends and co-workers.

The Wrong Path Followed

The Art of Making Money is that rare non-fiction book that is not only entertaining and informative but can also be classified as a "page turner". Once I started reading it was difficult to put down. The book documents the rise and fall of Art Williams, an intelligent and talented kid who could have done anything with his life but who primarily due to poverty and an extremely disfunctional family chose a life of crime. The relationship between Art and his father is particularly informative as to the path that Art followed. In addition to Art's immediate family the are a host of colorful supporting charachters that make this a very entertaining read.
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