Masters, Brooke A.
Masters, Brooke A.
Born in New York, NY; daughter of Jon J. (a lawyer and businessman) and Rosemary (a psychoanalyst) Masters; married John L. Farry, July 21, 1996; children: two. Education: Harvard University, graduated 1989; London School of Economics, M.S.
Writer and journalist. Washington Post, reporter, 2002-06; Financial Times, senior business reporter, 2006—.
Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, Times Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Brooke A. Masters is a writer and journalist whose work centers largely on business law. As a reporter for the Washington Post, Masters covered a beat that included Wall Street and white-collar crime. She has covered a number of high-profile court cases, including the trials of Martha Stewart and Frank Quattrone, noted a biographer on her home page.
A frequent subject of her work at the Washington Post was the many investigations undertaken by former New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer. In Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, Masters expands her coverage of the pugnacious Spitzer, elected New York's governor in 2006, to a full-scale biography. In creating her biography, Masters was afforded "extraordinary access both to the man himself and to the inner workings of his sprawling operation, and this has enabled her to shed fresh light on his thinking and to contextualize him historically in a way that makes us see him anew," observed Greg Sargent in the Washington Monthly. With this level of inside access to draw on, Masters crafts a portrait of Spitzer that hails his triumphs and supports his position as the champion of the powerless, but also his faults, missteps, and occasionally unsavory characteristics. Masters "is studiously even-handed in telling the story, but it is clear where her sympathies lie," remarked a reviewer in the Economist. She traces Spitzer's early background, privileged upbringing, prestigious education, and service in the Manhattan District Attorney's office. She examines his early political aspirations and his campaign for the New York Attorney General's position. "Spitzer's rise, as she explains in a cogent introductory chapter, is the tale of an intense, passionately committed politician who helped restore a progressive ideology to the center of Democratic politics," commented Joe Conason in the New York Times Book Review.
The majority of Masters's biography centers on Spitzer's numerous battles as attorney general, and the political and legal wrangling behind many of his highly visible cases. She covers his vigorous policing of Wall Street and the investigations conducted there, many of which revealed misbehavior ranging from simple improprieties to outright fraud. She explores how Spitzer skillfully resurrected almost forgotten rules and legislation, such as the 1921 Martin Act, which provides New York attorneys general "broad power to investigate and penalize financial fraud," noted Michael Orey in Business Week. In this way, Spitzer emerges as a tireless advocate for the small investor and those who have no way to protect themselves and fight back against financial wrongdoings. Conversely, Masters also considers Spitzer's darker side: his quick temper, his tendency toward intimidation and bullying tactics, and his technique of publicly accusing targets without bringing official charges. "In sum, if Spitzer does overreach, if he is occasionally carried away by his own white-knight image, he's still a man who's at bottom fundamentally fair-minded and genuinely committed to effective public service," Sargent concluded.
"Masters's book is a well-reported compendium of the high-profile probes that catapulted Spitzer onto the national stage, and it contains substantial input from allies and adversaries alike. Anyone seeking a balanced and full account of his tenure as AG will find it a worthwhile read," commented Orey in Business Week. Rebecca Porter, writing in Trial, called Masters's book an "insightful study of a man and his mission." A Kirkus Reviews critic named it an "adept blend of legal, political, and business journalism."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, p. 18.
Books, August 13, 2006, "A Smart, Dramatic Account of Eliot Spitzer's Crusades," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 10.
Book World, August 6, 2006, Bryan Burrough, "The Contender: New York's Wildly Ambitious Attorney General Took on Wall Street Corruption—and Isn't Done Yet," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 5.
Business Week, August 21, 2006, Michael Orey, "Lots of Evidence, No Verdict; Invaluable Reformer or Prosecutor Run Amok? The Author Lets the Reader Decide," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 142.
Corporate Counsel, February 1, 2007, review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 97.
Economist, July 22, 2006, "Hero or Bully? American Law and Politics," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 81.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 561.
New York Law Journal, August 2, 2006, Harry Reynolds, review of Spoiling for a Fight.
New York Times Book Review, August 6, 2006, Joe Conason, "The Man Who Would Be Governor," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2006, review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 62.
Recorder, September 22, 2006, Justin Scheck, "Points & Authorities: The War of Art," review of Spoiling for a Fight.
Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2006, review of Spoiling for a Fight.
Trial, January 1, 2007, Rebecca Porter, review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 60.
Washington Monthly, July 21, 1996, "Weddings"; September 1, 2006, Greg Sargent, "Hero or Hack? Eliot Spitzer Pushes the Limits of Prosecutorial Progressivism," review of Spoiling for a Fight, p. 46.
Brooke A. Masters Home Page,http://www.brookeamasters.com (May 2, 2007).
International Speakers Bureau Web site,http://www.internationalspeakers.com/ (May 2, 2007), biography of Brooke A. Masters.