Barbara T. Dreyfuss

Barbara T. Dreyfuss spent 20 years on Wall Street as a senior vice president and analyst for Prudential Securities, writing and speaking about government policy concerning health insurers, HMOs, Medicare, the Food and Drug Administration, and the hospital, drug and medical device industries. Her audience was the firm's clients, including large institutional investors such as mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds. Her office,which covered policy making in Washington, D.C. , consistently won top honors in Institutional Investor magazine's investor surveys. After leaving Prudential in 2004, she became an independent investigative reporter, writing about such topics as the lobbying influence of drug makers and insurance companies, Agent Orange, PTSD and the controversy over privatizing Social Security. She was a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and contributed to Mother Jones, Washington Monthly and The Veteran.

Hedge Hogs

At its peak, the hedge fund Amaranth had almost ten billion dollars in assets. A few weeks later it had completely collapsed. The disaster was mostly the responsibility of a 32-year-old trader named Brian Hunter, whose high-risk bets on natural gas prices bankrupted his firm and destroyed his career. Meanwhile, his rival at competitor fund Centaurus, John Arnold, emerged as the highest-paid trader on Wall Street and America's youngest billionaire. Meticulously researched and character driven, Hedge Hogs is a riveting, fly-on-the-wall account of the largest hedge-fund collapse in history: a blistering tale of the recent past that explains our precarious present and may predict our future.

Through emails, instant messages, court testimony, and exclusive interviews, Hedge Hogs charts the colliding paths of two charismatic traders who dominated the speculative energy trading market. It follows Hunter, the Canadian farm boy and elbows-out high school basketball star, as he achieved phenomenal early success, only to see his ambition, greed, and hubris precipitate his downfall. At the center of Hunter's misfortune is Arnold, whose mild manner, sophisticated tastes, and low profile belie his own ferocious competitive streak. As the two clash, billions of dollars -- much of it in the form of pension and endowment money -- vanished.

Hedge Hogs takes you behind closed doors into the shadowy world of hedge funds, the wild, unregulated frontier of finance, complete with lavish perks and over-the-top parties, where a tiny elite controls trillions of dollars of other people's money. The book traces the rise of this freewheeling industry while detailing the decades of deregulation -- of banks, of investment funds and of commodity trading -- that turned Wall Street into a casino for speculators.

A gripping saga peppered with tales of fast money, vivid characters, and high drama, Hedge Hogs is also a cautionary tale that describes a financial system jeopardized by reckless practices, watered-down regulation, and regulatory loopholes, just waiting for the next bust.