Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Cassette/Abridged)

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9780375402807: Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Cassette/Abridged)

4 cassettes / 6 hours
Read by George Plimpton
Abridgment approved by the author
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 unforgettably human 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.

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Review:

The patrician accent of George Plimpton (author of Truman Capote and The X Factor), with its edge of aristocracy and money, is perfectly suited for telling the rags-to-riches story of America's most famous businessman and philanthropist. Indeed, Plimpton seems to positively relish the superlatives that describe the life of John D. Rockefeller, who was far and away one of the most calculating, secretive, competitive, merciless, and talented figures ever to dominate the free market. Showing, early on, his keen attachment to hard work and keeping accounts, Rockefeller started out as an accountant in Cleveland. From there he went into the produce business, and then on to oil. By the time he was 31, he was the most powerful oil refinery owner in the world. His strategies for suppressing competition and controlling all aspects of the oil business while still paying attention to the smallest details make for dramatic listening in this well-documented and accessible narrative. Plimpton recounts how Rockefeller was the ultimate clutch player, calm in the face of adversity, a manager who was constantly searching for talented people and another way to grow Standard Oil into a megalithic modern corporation. Ultimately his rapacious business practices would make him head of the most powerful monopoly in America and the richest man in the world. Plimpton's engrossing reading of Titan brings out the human side of Rockefeller, a man of contradictions who was greedy yet giving, a capitalist villain and a do-gooder. A teetotalling Baptist, he began giving to charity when he was earning just a few dollars a week. As his wealth grew, so too his financial gifts. In the end, Rockefeller's philanthropic acts rivaled the precedents he set as a businessman. The oil baron died just short of his last goal--to reach the age of 100--but the indelible imprint he made on America's financial landscape will live on into the 21st century. (Running time: six hours, four cassettes) --A.E.D.

From the Back Cover:

"It's a thrill to read a biography as good as this one! Ron Chernow's Titan is a triumph, a brilliant, riveting, and monumental portrait of a fascinating human being and his age."--Robert A. Caro

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Ron Chernow
ISBN 10: 0375402802 ISBN 13: 9780375402807
Usado Cantidad: 1
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Castle Rock
(Pittsford, NY, Estados Unidos de America)
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Descripción Estado de conservación: Good. Book Condition: Good. Nº de ref. de la librería 97803754028074.0

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