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From the Hardcover edition.
Rupert Murdoch, the man credited with building Australia's largest newspaper group, was born on March 11, 1931. The son of Sir Keith Murdoch and Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, a woman knighted for her charity work with the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Murdoch grew up in the most expensive house in Melbourne with 11 servants and three sisters.
After eight years in a boarding school that specialized in educating the sons of wealthy landowners, and four years at Oxford, he saw the empire his father had built up from nothing being dismantled during his final years. Murdoch's mission to rebuild the family empire began to take shape. Since his family inheritance was wrapped up in the company that his father had founded, News Limited, his control of this company was shaped by the challenges set before him by a board of directors that had finagled him out of his inheritance.
A Turnaround in South Australia
In 1953, Rupert Murdoch took over News Limited in South Australia. In two years, he turned the failing newspaper chain around, doubling its assets, and expanded it into television and other newspapers. His pattern of gambling on a new venture and building up his growing empire was beginning to take shape. Murdoch's News empire launched the Australian, a national broadsheet, in 1964. The pattern of acquisition continued through the '60s as he took over a couple of tabloid newspapers in London, and made a name for himself as a savvy publisher who had no trouble digging into scandal with sensational news coverage. By 1973, he had taken over two newspapers in Texas and made them racier and more profitable than ever before. The media proprietor settled into New York and set his eyes on larger objectives. In 1974, Murdoch launched the National Star to compete with the National Enquirer, and two years later he bought the New York Post and the New York Magazine Company which published New York magazine and The Village Voice.
The Buying Spree Continues
For the next decade, Murdoch continued his buying spree, buying the Times and Sunday Times in Britain in 1981, the Boston Herald in 1982, and the Chicago Sun-Times in 1983. His purchase of the British newspapers meant he suddenly produced 30 percent of the country's newspapers. In 1985, the media mogul bought 20th Century-Fox studio in Hollywood, a chain of television stations called Metromedia, then launched Fox as the first new television network since 1959.
Murdoch then went on to buy TV Guide, merged the HarperCollins publishing group, overturned the British trade unions by moving some of his papers to a new city, and then nearly went bankrupt in 1990 when a small Pittsburgh bank refused to roll over a $10 million loan. Of course, that nervous moment was avoided with some fancy footwork, and the empire of Rupert Murdoch remained intact.
Along with the tales of Murdoch's rise to international prominence as a media powerhouse, Chenoweth also delves into the personal side of the man with numerous interviews with those who have known him well. His investigative journalism chronicles the billionaire's determination, underlying motivations, and his titanic gambles that have made him a major force in shaping the perceptions of the world's population.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
Chenoweth puts his readers in the room with Murdoch as he makes monumental decisions and serious miscalculations. The writer's concern for detail and his ability to turn complex business deals into comprehensible tales of business intrigue allow him to capture the hidden motives of the corporate titan and add drama and personality to a complex man who is monumentally ambitious and a tenacious survivor. Although this unauthorized biography provides a comprehensive look at the tangled business dealings of this pioneer of the global information revolution, Chenoweth's superb storytelling keeps the journey fascinating and human. Copyright (c) 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
From the Hardcover edition.