INSULL by Forrest McDonald


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Long has the name of Samuel Insull been linked with swindles, graft, and the corruption in business so closely associated with the Depression. This author sets down in a closely detailed biography the facts which may show the great financier in a much better light. Insull, he shows us, was very much a product of a certain savage time in American business, and within the rules of that time he operated in the best way available to him. Insull's life as a boy in England is shown briefly but with sufficient detail. Then the author shows the young man coming from England to work for Thomas Edison---soon becoming a vital part of the growing Edison power complex of the 1880's and 90's--then moving on to run the operation in Chicago where it became an independent business. Insull's marriage to a sexually and emotionally unadjusted woman, his fight for power, and his emergence after World War I as one of the great business leaders of America, are all vital parts of the story. His further growth in the 20's, coupled with unfortunate political alliances and association with an overexpanding economy, are shown in collapse with the Depression. Insull's flight to Greece and his return in 1934 to be acquitted of embezzlement and other charges makes a dramatic ending to the story. Although very interesting, the book is overly weighted with percentages and business facts which may limit its appeal to serious business students.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1962
ISBN: 1587982439
Publisher: Univ. of Chicago