- Paperback: 832 pages
- Publisher: RHUS; 2nd ed. edition (30 March 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400077303
- ISBN-13: 978-1400077304
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4.1 x 23.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Paperback – 30 Mar 2004
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“A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel. . . . Wonderfully fluent and compelling.” —The New York Times
“A triumph of the art of biography. Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D. Rockefeller Sr. to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large-scale, nineteenth-century kind.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Important and impressive. . . . Reveals the man behind both the mask and the myth.” —The Wall Street Journal
“One of the great American biographies. . . . [Chernow] writes with rich impartiality. He turns the machinations of Standard Oil . . . into fascinating social history.” —Time
From the Inside Flap
John D. Rockefeller, Sr.--history's first billionaire and the patriarch of America's most famous dynasty--is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, the National Book Award-winning biographer of the Morgan and Warburg banking families, gives us a history of the mogul "etched with uncommon objectivity and literary grace . . . as detailed, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the tycoon as we may ever have" (Kirkus Reviews). Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller's exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book will indelibly alter our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world's richest man by creating America's most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.
Rockefeller was likely the most controversial businessman in our nation's history. Critics charged that his empire was built on unscrupulous tactics: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, industrial espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officials. The titan spent more than thirty years dodging investigations until Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters embarked on a marathon crusade to bring Standard Oil to bay.
While providing abundant new evidence of Rockefeller's misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to sketch an unforgettablyhuman portrait of a quirky, eccentric original. A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money more generously--his chosen philanthropies included the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Chicago, and what is today Rockefeller University--than anyone before him. Titan presents a finely nuanced portrait of a fascinating, complex man, synthesizing his public and private lives and disclosing numerous family scandals, tragedies, and misfortunes that have never before come to light.
John D. Rockefeller's story captures a pivotal moment in American history, documenting the dramatic post-Civil War shift from small business to the rise of giant corporations that irrevocably transformed the nation. With cameos by Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Jay Gould, William Vanderbilt, Ida Tarbell, Andrew Carnegie, Carl Jung, J. Pierpont Morgan, William James, Henry Clay Frick, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers, Titan turns Rockefeller's life into a vivid tapestry of American society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is Ron Chernow's signal triumph that he narrates this monumental saga with all the sweep, drama, and insight that this giant subject deserves.
"From the Hardcover edition.See all Product description
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Described unfairly as a robber baron, Rockefeller amassed a fortune and an empire the world had scarcely seen. Yes, he ruthlessly ripped apart competition; yes he bribed his way to industrial sovereignty. But one must not forget that he was working his way in old frontier America, an America which hardly had any competition or industrial laws. Cowboy capitalism was the name of the game, and Rockefeller was our Clint Eastwood- the strong, silent leader.
Reading this book is an education- one sees the forces of capitalism, law, politics and personalities clash and collide, creating new industries, new wealth and new leaders. Its wonderful. Its addictive.
What stands out in the whole narrative is the man himself- Rockefeller was an enigma. Deeply religious, he often displayed eerie powers of self control and awareness. His rock-solid composure often made me think of the Bhagwan Gita’s idea of samata. Despite one setback after another, this man just pushed on.
Not only do we get to know how he made his empire, but also how he retired at the age of 55 and devoted himself fully to philanthropy and religion. It was Rockefeller who started the University of Chicago and many other educational and medical institutions. What is striking is to see how difficult, how exhausting and nerve wracking even philanthropy proved to be. When you see and read what Rockefeller went through, you often wonder whether accumulating wealth is worth the trouble
Truly a titan. If you’re interested in fascinating men, or even the growth and spread of corporate America interlaced with law and politics, just go for it.
Recommended read, if have the time. It's HUGE.