Uncle Bernie, the Ganzer Ganuf

I’ve written another book. It’s about Bernie Madoff and focuses very much on the sociology and psychology of his scam, examining how he laid waste Jewish organisations and charities across Manhattan using his standing as a highly-respected member of the Jewish community. It’s called ‘The Believers: How America Fell for Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion Investment Scam’. A one line soundbite might be: Bernie Madoff = the 21st century’s Meyer Lansky, with laptops.

I spent some time in the US earlier this year, in NYC and Palm Beach, reporting and researching The Believers. One of things that struck me the most was how, despite the intial nervousness of some American Jews, the Madoff affair did not ignite any real anti-Semitism, a bit of sour media coverage aside. American Jews seem completely confident and at home in the US, and, at least among those I was hanging out with, there was no sense of being threatened or besieged at all. Perhaps I am over idealising the place, and most of the time I was in Manhattan, which is a very Jewish city but there seemed to be an calm assertiveness about Jewish identity that is not always evident in Europe.

Sarah Peters interviewed me for Sounds Jewish, the Guardian’s podcast, about Madoff and his fall-out, and others, including Mark Lawson take up the themes afterwards. I come in at 3:54.