I'll state from the beginning; I think this is the best biography ever written, about one of the most fascinating men in the history of the world.
I have read a number of Murdoch "biographies", including, Murdoch: The Great Escape and Andrew Neil's view of Murdoch in "Full Disclosure". Neither of them have the depth and detail that this book does. But it is more than depth and detail which makes this book truly great. It is William Shawcross' ability to capture the feeling of enormous vision and ambition that Rupert Murdoch has which makes this book unique.
The story describes how his father built one of the greatest news networks in the Australia, the Herald & Weekly Times, yet had few significant assets of his own, as he was an employee of the company.
Thus, while a young Rupert dreamed of ringing the world with satellites that would brodcast news, information and communication around the world, it would be a company owned by his family which would be the beneficiary.
Upon his father's death, he moved to Adelaide, where he took over the Adelaide News, which he built into a formidable earner. He then bought numerous papers around the world, continuing is his dream until he had amassed a huge network of newspaper, television, theatrical and television assets around the world.
One of the most brilliantly told tales of the book is when Rupert went back to the Herald & Weekly Times in his home town of Melbourne and made an offer for the company. After much toing and froing, he bought the company for several billion dollars. "He bought the house his father built".
What makes this book a must buy is that it reads like a long term plan of the News Corporation. You can see how, as a person, Rupert Murdoch is an outstanding manager, visionary and businessman, but you can see that while he manages such a remarkably huge company such as News Corp, he is able to allow in his staff and business units a sense of freedom and entrepeneurial spirit.
This book is perfect for people who love business books, or motivation books, or family tales, or media junkies, or any consumers of FOX, News, BSkyB, HWT, TV Guide, FOXTEL, The Simpsons etc. etc. etc.
I will finish by saying that immediately after I read this book, I bought News shares at $A5.60. They are now around $A18.00 - I am not surprised. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, BUY IT!