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Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation Paperback – June 28, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Clerisy Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578603226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578603220
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joe Wikert on April 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I don't read very many biographies but I made an exception with Crosley and I'm glad I did. I just finished it last night and it was one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in quite awhile. The book covers the lives of two brothers, Powel and Lewis Crosley, and their remarkable careers; Powel was the creative genius and Lewis was the hard-working, reliable partner who made everything happen.

So what exactly did these two do? Not a whole lot, other than create radios "for the masses, not the classes", build one of the leading AM radio stations in the country, pioneer and build home refrigeration systems, manufacture explosive devices that helped win World War II, design and manufacture automobiles and own the Cincinnati Reds. (I left a few of the smaller items out, btw.)

If you're from the Cincinnati area you're probably familiar with the Crosley name. The Reds used to play at Crosley Field before Riverfront Stadium opened in 1970 -- that was the extent of my Crosley knowledge prior to reading this great book. Now I feel like a bit of a Crosley expert, primarily because the authors did a fantastic job of assembling the facts and telling the story. There's also a companion website for the book where you can find more information about the authors and loads of Crosley family pictures, including several that aren't in the book.

Even if you're like I was and aren't that familiar with the Crosley family, you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of this and read it cover to cover -- you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Fantastic! This book is one of the most captivating that I've read. I received "Crosley" for Christmas from my son. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. The 500 pages just flew by leaving me looking for more stories about the Crosley brothers. Being a native of Cincinnati, I was always aware of the Crosley name and WLW, the Reds, the cars, the radios, and the appliances that bore it. What I found so intriguing is the life story behind all of the great inventions and products. The egotistic, flamboyant style of Powel, the "average guy" style of Lewis and how their personalities complemented each other to create the driving force that was Crosley.

The book gave a rich history of life in Cincinnati during the first half of the 20th century. It was excellent in bringing to life the family members, their friends, and their relationships. Finally, it described the latter years of tragedy and disappointments that characterized Powel's life. In contrast were the peaceful and fulfilling days of Lewis's golden years.

After reading this book, I couldn't wait to drive around Cincinnati and locate Crosley Square, the production plants, the Pinecroft mansion and the location where the Crosley airport stood. It heightened my awareness of the great technology, products and aviation history that came from Crosley. The name Crosley certainly ranks along side that of Ford and Edison as industrial giants of the 20th century. This is a must read for anyone interested in Cincinnati or any of the great products that came from Crosley.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm sitting in a home full of computers, MP3 players, dvd recorders and players, a satellite TV box, and scores of electric appliances that are smarter than I am. Reading of a time when consumer electronics were unknown, and the primary electric appliance was a lightbulb, is like looking into the dark ages. Well, not quite. But you know what I mean.

The Crosley name is one that I've heard around my home throughout my life, but with the exception of a Crosley radio on a shelf, my knowledge of the company or the men that founded the firm was fuzzy at best. The authors have done an outstanding job at fleshing out Powel and Lewis Crosley and the world they lived in and revolutionized.

Many a novel I've read non-stop, but this is the first biography that I've done an "all-nighter" with.

The authors had no axe to grind, the times were well fleshed out, and one's faith in the ability of someone to think it up and do it, is reaffirmed. It was chock full of interesting information and facts, and I found myself checking Google satellite maps for locations mentioned in the book (Yes, the Arlington St. location still exisits and the satellite pic catches the executive tower, one-time home of WLW).

There is some bumpy writing, as noted in a few other reviews. I blame not the authors, but the editor. The boys really like their cliches. Lawyers are always "Sharpening their pencils," people come and go "Exit Stage right/left, Enter stage right/left;" and so many variations of "Masses not the classes" permeated the text, I wondered if they had some sort of Bolshevik thing going on.

That aside, this guy will be giving several copies of this book for Christmas this year - and I can't think of a better testimonial to the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Powel Crosley Jr. may not have invented radio, but---either directly or indirectly---he made it better and more accessible for virtually everyone. The story of his brainchildren, the Crosley Radio Corporation, and historic radio station WLW in Cincinnati, is legendary to anyone who knows anything about the history of radio broadcasting. The stars that Crosley launched from WLW reads like a "who's who" of musicians, singers announcers, and actors of the 20's 30's and 40's. Singer/actress Doris Day was one of his major finds, but the Crosley talent line-up also includes singing group, the Mills Brothers, comedian Red Skelton, actor Eddie Albert, and baseball announcer Red Barber---just to name a few. Biographer and Crosley grandnephew, Rusty McClure and co-author Michael Banks, have penned the definitive biography of Powel and his hard-working brother Lewis. Crosley wasn't just about radio, though. He had innovative ideas in many areas of manufacturing (auto parts and even national defense), and had the business acumen to get them to market. One of Crosley's main strengths was making his products affordable and of high quality (with one possible exception). It didn't matter whether it was radios or refrigerators, Crosley improved upon them and then made them accessible.

And this biography is also an enjoyable romp through early 20th Century America. Loaded with information that brings the Crosley brothers and their time to life, it is a must-read for anyone interested in 20th Century American history, or the history of 20th Century innovation.

Maybe I can sum up the importance of this book in just one sentence: The latter 20th and early 21st Century had a business genius named Steve Jobs, but before Steve Jobs, we had Powel (and Lewis) Crosley.

There are similarities between modern computer innovator Steve Jobs and radio innovator Powel Crosley Jr. Don't take my word for it. Read this book and decide for yourself.
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