THE PHAETON RIDE: The Failure of American Success by Forrest McDonald

THE PHAETON RIDE: The Failure of American Success

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Reflections on American business history and contemporary conjunctures by a proflific historian of the Founding Fathers, Samuel Insull, et al. McDonald, who at times comes on like an unreconstructed Chicago Tribune Social Darwinist, is fascinated by, and well-informed about, various government-business maneuvers, notably the Progressive movement -- an alliance between corporations and politicians which cosmeticized itself by ""the anti-commercial tradition,"" and refined the Br'er Rabbit ploy whereby government pretended it was punishing business. On other matters the book invites quarrelsome expletives: Jefferson and Madison were surely far from dogmatic agrarians, for example. And McDonald's insistence that the working masses are today glutted with air-conditioned cabins in the country and voluntary three-day weeks on the assembly line suggests that he needs a reading list and an itinerary; the ""failure of success"" theme just doesn't go over the way it did ten years ago.

Pub Date: July 26th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday