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“A demonstration that . . . the power of the press to expose corruption was not to be ignored.”—Paul E. Steiger, Wall Street Journal
Hailed by critics on its release, this fascinating dual biography looks at two extraordinary lives and the social history of the Progressive Era. Taking on the Trust is a grand achievement by a skilled scholar and proud defender of the ever-necessary act of political journalism.
This extensively researched account of one woman's successful attempt to take on one of the largest oil companies in the world, which just happened to be owned by John D. Rockefeller, is a truly exceptional piece of work worthy of multiple listens. Pam Ward reads with vigor and enthusiasm, presenting Weinberg's account of Ida Tarbell and justice during the Progressive Era with honesty and resolve. Ward reads with remarkable clarity but never slows to a lethargic pace. While the subject may seem aimed at a limited audience, the topics of discussion are largely applicable in today's modern world, and Ward seems positively aware of this in her reading. A Norton hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 17). (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This is a fascinating and well-written account of the development of monopoly capitalism and the birth of investigative journalism. America's first oil boom, in northwestern Pennsylvania in the 1860s, set the stage for the collision course of McClure's magazine reporter Tarbell and John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil. Weinberg (journalism, Univ. of Missouri; The Reporter's Handbook ) traces their separate paths up through Tarbell's exposé of the operations of Rockefeller's company in a series of articles beginning in 1902. He describes his work here as a hybrid of biography and dramatic narrative, and he gives equal attention to both of his main characters. Drawing on investigative journalism techniques himself, he uses a wide range of primary sources to sketch Tarbell's and Rockefeller's personalities and their professional lives. Both had ties to the oil industry from an early age. Weinberg shows them as complex human beings-good, yet flawed. He illustrates how Rockefeller, in addition to being a ruthless capitalist, dedicated himself to his family and church, in contrast to his own wastrel father. Tarbell, however, has clearly been a role model for Weinberg, and she shines in his portrayal. This book tells a dramatic story in an engaging style and will be a good addition for both public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/07.]-Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.