9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Reverent, Comprehensive Work Of Biography,
This review is from: Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Paperback)
It's been over a year since I read Titan and it still impresses me. Only the imbalance in it, fueled by the author's obvious non-impartial admiration for Mr. Rockefeller, kept me from rating this thoroughly-researched life story a fifth star. This is much more than a character study or a "his life and times" sort of book, but I am surprised to see how many other reviewers looked on Titan as a how-to manual for getting rich themselves. Typically I don't read other reviews before I compose my own, but this was one of those rare occasions when I made an exception and am glad I did since it allows me to make the observation that I personally didn't see this book that way. Titan is not light reading but after finishing it a reader will be well-versed indeed on John D. Rockefeller Senior and Standard Oil, the age of the monopolistic trust, the downfall of trusts in the United States, and have insights into both the work ethic of Mr. Rockefeller, and the huge differences between his views on philanthropy and those of his peers, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. There are also some juicy gossipy details here and a cast of villains, Jay Gould foremost, that spice this book up. Titan is a destined for classic status in the ranks of non-fiction, and it deserves that, though bear in mind what I said at the start about a certain self-evident lack of impartiality on Mr. Chernow's part. It never affects the candor of his scholarly investigation into who John D. Rockefeller was, but it does bleed through more than it perhaps ought to.