From Publishers Weekly
In this anthology of news articles, critical essays and excerpts from biographies, letters and literature, editor Beatty (The World According to Peter Drucker), a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly, charts a history of for-profit corporations from the 17th century to today from the Massachusetts Bay Company and the first railroads to Safeway and Time Warner. Contributors as diverse as a mill worker named Sarah Hodgson, John Steinbeck, 19th-century Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney and Susan Faludi address issues ranging from child labor, strikes and capitalist indoctrination in schools to scientific management and the hostile takeover. The focus of the book drifts from a history of for-profit corporations to an account of large-scale business enterprises regardless of legal form. However, some inclusions fit neither vision, such as a commentary by Charles Dickens on American spitting and a 30-page discussion of AT&T advertising from 1906 to 1939. More confusing are the sometimes sloppy attributions: an extreme example begins with a fragment from a quotation by Alexander Hamilton followed by a quote from "two historians of the 1790's" without further elaboration on who they were and whether they wrote during the period or studied it. Drawing mostly on recent secondary sources, the book encompasses a range of viewpoints, from intellectuals to laborers, yielding a sometimes muddled but often richly textured overview. Agent, Rafe Sagalyn. (On-sale Apr. 10)Forecast: Aimed at the sophisticated audience among whom Ron Chernow (The House of Morgan, etc.) has enjoyed great success, this flawed yet intriguing collection won't come close to Chernow's sales, but should find a solid niche.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Beautifully edited by Atlantic Monthly senior editor Beatty (The World According to Peter Drucker), this richly detailed anthology traces the rise of the American corporation from its roots in Colonial America to its present dominance of the American economy, society, and culture. The book's greatest strength is its evenhanded approach to complicated topics, such as the corporation's place in society, the concept of limited liability, and the role that women, children, minorities, and slaves played in the development of the American corporate state. Equally impressive is the finely honed collection of readings that bring to life the people, technological innovations, places, and events that shaped the corporation as we know it today. Especially useful are sections highlighting the contributions of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Edward Harriman, Henry Clay Frick, Henry Ford, J. Pierpont Morgan, Thomas J. Watson, Alfred P. Sloan, Frederick Winslow Taylor, and Bill Gates. Essential for both academic and public libraries. Norman B. Hutcherson, California State Univ., Bakersfield
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.