But Murdoch is nothing if not a survivor, and Chenoweth’s lively biography pays due respect to a slippery but tenacious...

A roller-coaster ride through the life and self-made world of the Australian billionaire.

Sydney-based financial journalist Chenoweth explains that Murdoch is a bundle of contradictions: personally unprepossessing (“drab to the point of colorlessness”) yet a master of Machiavellian business politics; morally ambiguous (quick to betray friends and family for the promise of money or other pleasures) yet the architect of one of the world’s great media empires, embracing satellite and cable television, newspapers, radio stations, and a host of other ventures. This success, Chenoweth notes, was never quite preordained, although Murdoch was heir to the distressed fortunes of a distant father who himself had built such an empire in Australia; it took Murdoch’s singular drive and ambition to expand these slender holdings to embrace every continent—and to make few friends and many enemies along the way. Showing guarded admiration for Murdoch’s talents and refusing to demonize his much-despised subject, Chenoweth takes us along some impressively complex paths, including Murdoch’s bid in the fall of 2001 to acquire Hughes Electronics from a battered GM and his longtime efforts to thwart Ted Turner’s ambitions to build an omnimedia empire of his own. Along the way, he offers learned observations of interest to anyone contemplating investment in a Murdoch venture: he notes, for instance, that Murdoch’s fortunes seem to be keyed to the calendar, such that “Murdoch would spend the first years of each decade recovering from his latest great gamble. By the middle of the decade he would have settled the empire down, beaten back the bankers, and embarked on the next growth phase. The deals grew dizzier and dizzier until by the end of the decade Murdoch’s news empire would look impossibly stretched, his critics declaring that this time this crisis would be his last.”

But Murdoch is nothing if not a survivor, and Chenoweth’s lively biography pays due respect to a slippery but tenacious fellow.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2002

ISBN: 0-609-61038-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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