On February 3rd and 4th, ABC will air their four-hour sweeps week miniseries Madoff which tells the story of Bernie Madoff — who ran the world's largest Ponzi scheme — and his family. By no coincidence, Kingswell (a division of Disney Publishing) released a paperback edition of The Madoff Chronicles by Brian Ross earlier this year. Also not coincidental is the fact that Ross serves as Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News — synergy at its finest!
In my review of the Madoff miniseries, I complained that the show focused more on Bernie's personal life than on the crimes he committed. Luckily, although the film was adapted from Ross' book, it really bears little resemblance the synergetic slop that will air this week. Instead, Ross does a superb job of going in-depth with the scandal and presenting the gripping story is a way that it honestly deserves to be told.
Not only does The Madoff Chronicles tell a much larger story than Madoff but it ironically also does so in a more cinematic way — starting with his arrest before flashing back. The book, subtitled Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth, also delves into parts of their couple's relationship that are tossed out as random exposition in the show. Also unlike the film, Ross takes a look at where all of money Madoff scammed from investors went — something you'd think the TV version would have been all over.
There isn't much to else to say about The Madoff Chronicles other than it's worth investing your time in. And, on that note, the book's 230 pages of text before the bonus "Bernie's Little Black Book" images fly by, allowing for this superior telling of the Madoff tale to be consumed in about the same amount of time it will take ABC to share with commercials. Overall, if you're truly interested in learning about Bernie Madoff and his unbelievable Ponzi scheme before or after watching the ABC special, you'll want to pick up The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth by Brian Ross.