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Murdoch (Touchstone Book) Paperback – 15 Dec 1998
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From the Back Cover
Rupert Murdoch invented the modern global information empire. His relentless determination and daring and his repeated willingness to bet the balance sheet in order to acquire more newspapers, television stations, satellite networks, cable systems and publishing houses have been amply rewarded: Murdoch's information empire now reaches two thirds of the world's population, making him one of the most powerful men on earth. In this revised edition of his classic 1993 biography, William Shawcross updates the story of Murdoch's battles to extend his electronic "footprint" around the globe.
About the Author
William Shawcross is an internationally renowned writer and broadcaster. He has written a half-dozen major books on issues of international law and policy. His "Sideshow" is the classic evisceration of U.S. policy in Cambodia. Other books have dealt with the role of the U.N. in 90s peace-keeping and the saga of the Shah of Iran and Rupert Murdoch. He appears regularly on television and radio. His articles have appeared in leading newspapers and journals throughout the world. He lives in London.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
And on it goes. The man is probably due a biography on par with Snowball. This certainly is not it.
A great read - I enjoyed it immensely - certainly provided insights into big business, government & the media written in a complelling 'no holds barred' style that demonstrated you can call a person a fool & worse & get away with it!
A few of my favorite quotes are:
--the new world favors those who pursue policies of which the traders approve.
--The Disruption of 1843 had little to do with theology. It was the culmination of 130 years of a bitter dispute in which the English crown had sought to control the Scottish Church by the appointment of ministers loyal to London. In the early nineteenth century a new generation of younger, more radical men had emerged in the Church of Scotland; they were known as "the wild party," or "the popular party," or the Evangelicals. Ecclesiastically and theologically conservative, yet socially and politically liberal (and some of the downright radical), they hated the controls imposed by London through the Scottish lairds.
--Free Church ministers and elders like James Murdoch tended to be active, hard-headed, well-educated, practical men who knew how to make money and how to use it wisely.
--The debate on the free flow of information would be settled by engineers, not by politicians. Governments would not for long be able to conceal the evidence of their crimes.
--"The very existence of new information channels, operating in real time and across all frontiers, will be a powerful influence for civilized behaviour. If you are arranging a massacre, it will be useless to shoot the cameraman who has so inconveniently appeared on the scene. His pictures will already be safe in the studio five thousand miles away and his final image may hang you."
--Information was being presented as entertainment.
--A really integrated media company has to be in the production of entertainment. It also has to be in news reporting.
--Nations are now increasingly defined by the extent to which knowledge is a tradable commodity in their economies.
This is not a great, classic book, but it does give valuable snippets of how global media systems operate and manipulate and are manipulated.
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!
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