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The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times Paperback – September 20, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st Back Bay Pbk. Ed edition (September 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316836311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316836319
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This mammoth history of the dynasty that created and controls The New York Times is as epic in its scope as is the role of the newspaper in America. Like any good epic, this story is filled with its fair share of personal ambition, disappointment, competing heirs to the throne, fierce loyalties, and powerful intrigue. The story of The Times starts in 1896, when Adolph Ochs, a young German Jew, buys the undistinguished and nearly bankrupt The New-York Times (the dash was later dropped). He worked hard to distinguish its style from the florid journalism that marked rival papers, and soon Ochs's paper, with its straightforward reporting, became the favorite of the Wall Street and Uptown sets. He toiled, too, to ensure that The Times never earned the moniker "too Jewish." Ochs assiduously declined to promote Jewish editors and was an outspoken opponent of the free state of Israel. And writers Susan Tifft and Alex Jones argue persuasively that in its drive to appear absolutely objective about Jewish issues, the paper (under the leadership at this point of Ochs's son-in-law Arthur Hays Sulzberger) underreported the Holocaust--keeping stories of Hitler's early maneuvers off the front page, failing to name concentration-camp victims as Jews. Though significant, World War II was just one moment in the hundred-year-long history of the paper thus far. The Trust vividly chronicles some of the The Times's most famous moments--the controversial publication of the Pentagon Papers and its transition to a publicly held company in the late '60s are just two--along with the personal histories of four generations of Ochses and Sulzbergers. With its strong foundation of well-researched facts, thoughtful analysis, and excellent narration, The Trust is itself a great work of journalism that does its storied subject proud. --Anna Baldwin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Tifft, a former Time magazine associate editor, and Jones, who won a Pulitzer while working for the New York Times, offer a collective biography of the family behind "all the news that's fit to print."
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

In short--the story of a family.
Richard Goodman
The authors have painstakingly done a lot of research and have published a very good book.
Olumide Ogunremi
If you're interested in the subject, this is the book you need to read.
Riddley Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Goodman on September 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think The Trust is absolutely riveting. It's worth reading for the chapter on the Pentagon Papers alone--a drama that has you on the edge of your seat, even though you know what happened! But The Trust is a lot more than that. The decisions behind what runs, and what does not run, in The New York Times are complex and difficult. For the first time--as far as I can tell--the authors, with the skill and caring of fine novelists, show us who these people are and why they do (and did) the things they do. If you want to know how The New York Times came to be what it is, read this book. It's a story of human courage, frailty, jealousy, ambition, loss and success. In short--the story of a family. It's right out of Balzac. I really loved it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on January 14, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This exhaustively researched and really gripping book tells the story of Sulzberger/Ochs family and their relationship to the New York Times. As the family behind the Times, they were players on the stage of American history for most of the twentieth century. The family itself and the characters in it are fascinating-- the subjects range from Iphegene Ochs frustration that she as a woman would never be considered the heir to the throne, to the way that Adolph Ochs wheeled and dealed his way into building the NYT, to the hard family choices behind the publication of the Pentagon papers, to modern attempts from within the company to break the family power. It's a wonderful glimpse at one of the most powerful families of our time. It's worth noting that this book is not a business case history and that the reader will not find an explicit overview of any of the strategies that made the Times what it is.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Tifft and Jones have written a well researched and interesting piece on one of America's most powerful, yet low-key, families, the Sulzbergers. The book is very objective, presents much of the family's quotations and answers without unecessary comment, and is historically significant. Although the family cooperated, Tifft and Jones do not have an awe or devotion to any particular slant or image. The power of the Times rests in its historical and present ethics and standards, and the guidance of a family that continues to regard it very much as sacred. A highly recommended book for anyone wishing to learn about this remarkable family!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I spent a week devouring this book slowly, enjoying it like a fine meal. From the beginnings in Tennessee to the present, this book and this story have the makings of an American epic, and the authors do a wonderful job making you care about these people and the newspaper they care about. Those who found shortcomings in this book, I suspect, wanted something other than the rich story that is here. I highly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By schapmock on November 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This massive chronicle of the Ochs-Sulzbergers and their stewardship of the New York Times gets off to a fascinating start, dramatizing Adolph Ochs' purchase of the then nothing New-York Times and detailing his wildly successful efforts to build a paper of note.
But once Ochs vanishes from the narrative, bequeathing the editorship to son-in-law Arthur Sulzberger, the book slowly loses steam. Focus shifts from the newsroom to the myriad Ochs-Sulzberger relatives and their beside-the-Times activities, in response to which a reader can only offer a heartfelt shrug.
In defense of The Trust it has been pointed out that the authors set out to write about the family rather than the paper, but apparently there's little of inherent interest in the Ochs-Sulzbergers outside the Times. Down the backstretch, the authors seem as bored as the reader, dutifully recounting the gossipy infighting among far-flung cousins.
The Trust, excellent as much of it is, comes to seem unfortunately conceived -- the newsroom coverage is exemplary, but the beside the Times gossip grows quickly tiresome.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By MJR on November 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"The Trust," is a very well written account of the family that has operated The New York Times for over 100 years. The book is as much about the family as it is about the newspaper. The only shortcomming is sometimes periods of time (i.e. World War II) are too condensed. But overall a fascinating read on a interesting topic!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This brilliant analysis of members of several generations of the Ochs and Sulzberger families gives not one but several human faces to one of America's most influential cultural dynasties. Many of us who have the New York Times delivered to our doorstep each day may perhaps view it primarily (if not solely) as an invaluable source of information and commentary. It is certainly that. However, in The Trust, Tifft & Jones enable us to understand the multi-generational human infrastructure which -- over several decades -- has guided the evolution of a struggling newspaper to its current influence which includes but is by no means limited to journalism. The Trust bears at least some resemblance to a novel: There are so many colorful characters, so many plots and sub-plots, so many insights into the texture and nuances of America society. If Tolstoy had written a history of this unique dynasty, the result would probably be similar to what Tifft & Jones have produced. In my opinion, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to understand the American 20th Century without understanding the role played by the New York Times. The Trust is a brilliant achievement in terms of its historical content; remarkably, it is also compelling in terms of the narrative within which that content is brought to life.
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