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 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 unforgettably human portrait of a quirky, eccentric original A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money 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....
|Title||:||Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.|
|Publisher||:||Random House 1st edition May 5, 1998|
|Number of Pages||:||800 pages|
|File Size||:||767 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Reviews
This is the third book by Ron Chernow that I have read. Last year I read his biography of George Washington followed by his excellent work on Alexander Hamilton. His latest books led me to one of his earliest biographies. What they all have in common is a personal picture of Americans who have had a fundamental impact on this nation for good or ill. I wasn't sure how I would feel about a book that dealt with the life of John D. Rockefeller. I have to admit, as I began this book, that I had preconceived attitudes about men like Rockefeller especially in the context of the 2008 recession. Mr. Chernow points out so well that there is both a good and bad John D. Rockefeller who had so much to do with the creation of an Industrial American Economy in the Post Civil War Era. There is the greed of the monopolist who attempted to eliminate competition without regard to the untold harm it could cause to our economic prosperity. Then you see a man who was undoubtedly the wealthiest man in America committed to giving away the wealth he had accumulated to improve the society that had allowed such disparity in wealth. Yes, John D. Rockefeller brought philanthropy into our economic vernacular . There is a dichotomy here that is very difficult to judge. If we advocate a laissez-faire free market economy, such disparity seems to me is inevitable. In this book I saw both good and evil in this man. Mr. Chernow helps you to consider what kind of cooperation is necessary in a free democracy.
Though I read and enjoyed Chernow’s biographies of Washington, Hamilton and Grant, I found this biography of Rockefeller his best. I did not expect that. The bland grayish cover, which shows a grim, almost sadistic-looking Rockefeller against a sterile cityscape, does not inspire a potential reader to think of “enjoyable read.” Likewise, the pre-book knowledge I had of Rockefeller’s founding of Standard Oil led me to think that this biography would involve a lot of dry reading about Rockefeller’s financial dealings. But I was completely wrong. This is a gripping story, much of it about an America we now live in but know little about the origins.
This is an excellent treatment of the subject. Chernow spends maybe a little more time psychoanalyzing JD and his family than providing historical narrative, but overall the story is well done, clearly well researched, and well written. To me, the weakest part of the book was Chernow's attempt to discuss the antitrust concepts in play. He seemed a bit confused at times as to what conduct was competition at work and what, under modern standards would be considered anticompetitive. At times he notes the irony that some of SO's biggest critics engaged in the same tactics, but never squares the circle so to speak on what is okay and what is not. For example, is it okay to get a discount from a railroad, or not? Modern antitrust and industrial organization economists would tend to say it is fine, but Chernow writes as if it is a terrible competitive sin. A bit more robust discussion of where JD and SO "crossed the line" would have made the book that much better. But overall I found this to be a good read and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject matter.
It's a pretty thorough book. I am reading it on a Kindle so I haven't looked at how many pages it actually is! I am from Cleveland, spent time living near NYC, and didn't really know much about Rockefeller so I decided to read this book. I should have taken notes as there is a lot of information and I don't remember all of it but I liked learning. My only critique is that while the author spends a lot of time on Standard Oil history and organization, I was still not convinced how the company was organized was completely illegal for the time period. I guess you need a better understanding of how business was not allowed to run back in the 1870's to 1910. I get it, monopolies are bad in a free market economy, but I actually might side with John D. on his view of cooperation vs. competition. This was a critical building time for the U.S. economy and he made rules as he went since there weren't stringent guidelines as there are today. One last criticism- the book did repeat a few facts but I think that probably can't be avoided. I recommend as you read, you highlight or bookmark important chapters if you want to go back. I find that difficult to do on the Kindle with a book of this length. There are photos as well which might be better in print.