On the Line: The Men of MCI--Who Took on AT&T, Risked Everything and Won

On the Line: The Men of MCI--Who Took on AT&T, Risked Everything and Won

by Larry Kahaner

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This brisk, brightly written history of a company that is still fighting AT & T and others in the $40-billion long-distance telephone marketplace will appeal to those who enjoy entrepreneurial success stories. It is also a lucid explanation of what has happened to phone service in recent years. Based on interviews, the account begins in Joliet, Ill., in the 1960s, when Jack Goeken created MCI as a microwave relay system for truckers. Business writer Kahaner details the many legal, sales and other battles that gave rise to a company that now boasts 10,000 employees and some two million customers. While clearly an admirer of MCI chairman Bill McGowan and his unconventional managers, the author shows how luck, ``manipulation'' of the FCC and careful check-floating (in the mid-1970s, when MCI was $99 million in debt) helped the firm, which in the wake of AT & T's 1984 divestiture is now evolving into a ``model'' of the decentralized corporation of the 1980s, according to Kahaner. Photos not seen by PW. 50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (March 26)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Kahaner, a business journalist and the coauthor of The Phone Book ( LJ 7/83), has done an excellent job of chronicling MCI's battles against AT&T and the FCC to establish an alternative phone service. He organizes a vast amount of material into nine time periods, encompassing 1960 to 1984. The engrossing text reads like a novel, and Kahaner includes material from personal observations, taped interviews, and public documents. Recommended for both academic and public libraries. Mary Greene Havener, GenRad, Inc. Information Ctr., Concord, Mass.

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Grand Central Publishing
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