By Ron Chernow
John D. Rockefeller, Sr.--history's first billionaire and the patriarch of America's most renowned dynasty--is an icon whose precise nature has eluded 3 generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, the nationwide publication Award-winning biographer of the Morgan and Warburg banking households, provides us a historical past of the magnate "etched with unusual objectivity and literary grace . . . as exact, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the multi-millionaire as we may possibly ever have" (Kirkus Reviews). Titan is the 1st full-length biography according to unrestricted entry to Rockefeller's tremendously wealthy trove of papers. A landmark ebook choked with startling revelations, the ebook will indelibly modify our snapshot of this so much enigmatic capitalist.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mom, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to develop into the world's richest guy by means of growing America's strongest and feared monopoly, ordinary Oil. Branded "the Octopus" via legions of muckrakers, the belief subtle and advertised approximately ninety percentage of the oil produced in America.
Rockefeller was once most probably the main debatable businessman in our nation's heritage. Critics charged that his empire used to be equipped on unscrupulous strategies: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, business espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officers. The titan spent greater than thirty years dodging investigations till Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters launched into a marathon campaign to deliver usual Oil to bay.
While offering ample new proof of Rockefeller's misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to caricature an unforgettably human portrait of a unusual, eccentric unique. A religious Baptist and temperance recommend, Rockefeller gave funds extra generously--his selected philanthropies integrated the Rockefeller origin, the collage of Chicago, and what's at the present time Rockefeller University--than somebody prior to him. Titan provides a finely nuanced portrait of a desirable, complicated guy, synthesizing his private and non-private lives and disclosing a variety of relations scandals, tragedies, and misfortunes that experience by no means earlier than come to light.
John D. Rockefeller's tale captures a pivotal second in American heritage, documenting the dramatic post-Civil struggle shift from small company to the increase of big businesses that irrevocably reworked the state. With cameos via 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 may Rogers, Titan turns Rockefeller's lifestyles right into a vibrant tapestry of yank society within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. it's Ron Chernow's sign triumph that he narrates this enormous saga with the entire sweep, drama, and perception that this colossal topic deserves.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Extra resources for Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
1 So steadfastly have biographers clung to this dated view that we nonetheless lack an account of our best nineteenth-century industrialist that explores his internal and outer worlds and synthesizes them right into a absolutely rounded portrait. For all of the ink provoked by means of Rockefeller, his biographies were marred through a numbing repetition. no matter what their political slant, they've got, in most cases, a similar chronology, raked over a similar disputes approximately his enterprise equipment, rehashed an identical stale anecdotes. One has the impact of sitting during the related play again and again, albeit from a bit assorted seats within the theater. a few of this derives from our moving belief of biography. apart from John D. , a slim quantity by way of David Freeman Hawke released in 1980, the Rockefeller biographies have been all released earlier than mid-century and betray a Victorian reticence approximately deepest issues. no matter what their advantages as company reportage, they betray minimum post-Freudian interest. They contact basically glancingly, for example, at the tale of Rockefeller’s father, a bigamist and snake-oil salesman, who so indelibly formed his son’s existence. Even the exhaustive Nevins confirmed scant curiosity in Rockefeller’s marriage or his 3 daughters. The feminist matters of our personal day have lately produced books—Bernice Kert’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Clarice Stasz’s The Rockefeller girls— that experience started to pry open this hermetically sealed kin global. Rockefeller’s social existence past the office—his friendships, leisure pursuits, activities, et cetera—has suffered from both conspicuous overlook. different concerns that warrant research comprise Rockefeller’s political beliefs and idea of trusts, his perspective towards public kinfolk, his stewardship of his investments past common Oil, his move of cash to his little ones and his dynastic goals, his chronic fascination with drugs, and the imprint he left upon the various philanthropies he endowed. There has additionally been a amazing loss of interest in regards to the forty-odd years that he spent in retirement, with a few biographers omitting these many years altogether. but it was once in the course of these a long time that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. , either perpetuated and greatly transformed his father’s legacy, an issue to which I dedicate substantial recognition. while Random condo proposed that I write the 1st full-length biography of Rockefeller considering that Allan Nevins’s within the Fifties, I frankly balked, confident that the topic have been exhausted via writers too wanting to capitalize on his repute. How may well one write a few guy who made one of these fetish of secrecy? within the present literature, he came upon as a proficient automaton at top, a malevolent computer at worst. I couldn’t inform even if he used to be a hole guy, deadened through the pursuit of cash, or an individual of serious intensity and strength yet with eerie strength of mind. If the previous was once precise, i'd respectfully decline; within the not likely case that the latter proved true—well, then i used to be intrigued. To settle the problem, I spent an afternoon on the Rockefeller Archive heart in Sleepy hole, long island, the repository of hundreds of thousands of relations records.