A workmanlike account of the selling and salvaging of R.H. Macy's, an American retailing institution. Wall Street Journal correspondent Trachtenberg (Ralph Lauren, 1988) starts with a brief history of the business founded by Rowland Hussey Macy in New York in 1858. The real story begins, though, with the arrival in 1948 of a trainee named Edward S. Finkelstein. A gifted merchant, the hard-driving Harvard Business School grad worked his way up the corporate ladder and in 1980 was named the Manhattan-based company's CEO, with baronial offices atop its storied Herald Square flagship (still the world's largest department store). Five years on, the vaultingly ambitious Finkelstein (then 60) resolved to take Macy's private, to give himself a freer hand. Fee-hungry investment bankers and lawyers soon arranged a leveraged buyout that yielded stockholders a handsome premium and left Finkelstein & Co. in charge of a debt- burdened national chain. Owing to overly optimistic profit projections and a series of merchandising miscalculations, the deal was in almost instant trouble. Nor did it help that Finkelstein had contracted a severe case of hubris, placing a risky bet on private labels and installing his unqualified sons in key positions. While a cash-strapped Macy's was struggling to convince edgy lenders and vendors it was creditworthy, two top rivals (Allied and Federated) were taken over by an oddball Canadian named Robert Campeau; he promptly managed his new holdings into bankruptcy, forcing Finkelstein (who had rashly entered Macy's in the bidding contest for Federated) to engage in ruinous markdown battles. The company's mistakes and misfortunes eventually put it in receivership, and Federated (which had successfully reorganized in the meantime) was able to acquire Macy's on decidedly favorable terms, with an embittered Finkelstein obliged to watch from the sidelines. An enlightening postmortem on a consequential LBO, which vividly depicts its human and socioeconomic costs. (8 pages photos, not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)