From Publishers Weekly
Auletta wrote an excellent New Yorker
profile of media mogul Turner in 2001, but this expanded look at the complex figure lacks depth. Auletta describes how Turner, an "obstreperous" Southerner, changed television by turning a tiny Atlanta UHF station into a national cable powerhouse. He covers Turner's other professional moves, such as the launch of CNN and the sale of his company to Time Warner, and addresses darker moments, too, illuminating Turner's difficult childhood under a domineering father, and, later, his divorce from Jane Fonda. To write this retrospective, Auletta conducted nearly 20 hours of taped interviews with the executive. Unfortunately, it seems the author didn't use much of that transcription. Although he touches on Turner's major life events and business decisions, Auletta provides what feels like an executive summary of a much larger, more satisfying book. In describing Turner's education at Brown University, he gives scant detail about quirks and high points, then notes, "He was a first-class jerk." Sections on Turner's business acumen—the real meat of his life—receive the same glossed-over treatment. Turner's tale doesn't unfold naturally, but rather, progresses like a PowerPoint presentation. The biography is loaded with detail, but very little personality—unfortunate, given its fascinating subject. 6 photos.
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“A nuanced and engaging portrait of an immensely complicated man. . . . The book hits its highest notes in depicting how a mercurial cable mogul revolutionized the news industry—and then watched as the manic boom-and-bust cycle of the 1990s swallowed up and regurgitated his prize innovation. . . . Readers may find more detailed analyses of the merger of AOL and Time Warner, but they will find none more entertaining, straightforward, or comprehensible.” (Washington Post Book World)