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Murdoch (Touchstone Book) Paperback – 20 Oct 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Rev. and Updated edition (20 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684830159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684830155
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,242,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shawcross became a writer after leaving University College, Oxford in 1968. He was in Czechoslovakia during the Soviet occupation; this inspired his first book, a biography of Alexander Dubček, the Czechoslovak leader, which was published in 1970. Since then he has written and travelled widely. In 1995 he wrote the BBC Television series Monarchy. In 2002 his BBC Television series and book, Queen and Country celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee and examined the changing face of Britain during her reign. Seven years in the writing, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: the Official Biography was published in 2009. He lives in London.

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Of many questions asked about Rupert Murdoch, comes up again and again: Why? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Excellent review of easily the most powerful media baron in the world. The author has presented a very brilliant but more importantly, non biased biography that will take you through the rise and rise of Rupert Murdoch. Even if you're in the anti-Murdoch camp, you can't help but to admire this man for what he has created and for what he is today. If you read this, Murdoch, here's to you!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Franz Bieberkopf on 7 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you have any regard for journalistic standards,a pluralistic media or even basics like the truth,it is no exaggeration to refer to Murdoch as "The Great Satan".Shawcross,instead of investigating the horrorshows of "The Sun",Fox News and Murdoch's other right-wing propaganda machines,concentrates on how he built up his business rather than what he did with it.So,it becomes semi-worshipful rather than critical.
It is so sad.Shawcross once tried to speak truth to the rich and powerful in books like "Sideshow" and "The Quality Of Mercy",he ended up writing fawning drivel like this and,believe it or not,an authorised biography of the Queen Mother.A career that went backwards.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 April 1998
Format: Paperback
billy shawcross - thank god you wrote this book. you'll never look at the media the same after reading this. if you work in media, or busniess for that matter, this is a must.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding look into the passion & vision of KR Murdoch 11 Dec. 2000
By Conno - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Relatively balanced business biography 20 Nov. 2001
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Murdoch is, to say the least, one of the more controversial figures in media today. His name still inspires visions of the pitched battles that have arisen around the pieces of his empire and the ethical debates about the role of journalism and issues of media ownership. There is a tremendous amount to be learned from studying Murdoch and the way he built his kingdom, and this book is not to be missed, particularly for people studying media history or the media industry.
Shawcross presents a very balanced picture, light on both censure and praise, and manages to give enough personal detail to illuminate the public Murdoch without veering into a personal melodrama. The writing is occasionally a bit dry, but generally of a high quality & the source notes and bibliography are quite valuable in and of themselves.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
First rate research but little criticism 13 Aug. 2001
By NS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Straightforward journalistic over view of Murdoch's career while also giving useful insight into the print and media worlds of Australia and the UK in the 50s to 80s.
However, little comment ventured as to Murdoch's underlying motivations or his relationships with family or friends.
Stops in early 1990s, so an update or second edition would be good.
Author seems a bit infatuated with his subject and reserves his criticism for Murdoch's competitors and critics like Maxwell and Harold Evans.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
How about an update to the update? 20 Aug. 2003
By Andy Orrock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I read William Shawcross' "Murdoch" back when it was originally published (early 90s), I thought it was one of the best biographies I had read. I especially liked the author's focus on his subject's "pre-News" days, most notably a very memorable discussion on Murdoch's infatuation with Marxism during his university days.
Murdoch explains that period away with the following answer: "If you're 20 and not a communist, you have no heart; and if you're 40 and not a capitalist, you have no head."
Shawcross then painstakingly builds a portrait of a man who - over the next 30 years - slides clear across the spectrum to become Maggie Thatcher's biggest champion. There's a great blow-by-blow of Murdoch's battle with the press unions at Wapping, with Thatcher's tacit support.
Of course, things in Murdoch's world move quickly, so Shawcross put out an update edition (this one) in 1997. Now, we need an update to the update. So much has transpired in these six years. We need Shawcross' take on:
- The continued rise of the Fox Network (expecially Fox News)
- Lachlan and James Murdoch's increasingly large roles at News Corp.
- The DirectTV takeover attempts (Part 1 and 2)
- Continued efforts to penetrate India and China
- Wife #3 Wendy Deng + two new young children
...and much, much more. Never a dull moment with the man who fellow (now ex-) mogul Ted Turner heads up the world's leading "evil empire."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
are you alive? then why haven't you read this book? 2 April 1998
By clive@thecomedychannel.com.au - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
billy shawcross - thank god you wrote this book. you'll never look at the media the same after reading this. if you work in media, or busniess for that matter, this is a must.
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