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Marcus Samuel, Jr., is an unorthodox Jewish merchant trader. Henri Deterding is a take-no-prisoners oilman. In 1889 John D. Rockefeller is at the peak of his power. Having annihilated all competition and possessing near-total domination of the market, even the US government is wary of challenging the great "anaconda" of Standard Oil. The Standard never loses - that is, until Samuel and Deterding team up to form Royal Dutch Shell.
A riveting account of ambition, oil, and greed, Breaking Rockefeller traces Samuel's rise from outsider to the heights of the British aristocracy, Deterding's conquest of America, and the collapse of Rockefeller's monopoly. The beginning of the 20th century is a time when vast fortunes were made and lost. Taking listeners through the rough and tumble of East London's streets, to the twilight turmoil of czarist Russia, to the halls of the British Parliament, and right down Broadway in New York City, Peter Doran offers a richly detailed, fresh perspective on how Samuel and Deterding beat the world's richest man at his own game.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Philo on 05-25-16
Tale of business, cultures, dances as it teaches
Effervescent. Sprightly. Colorful. Listenable. Relentlessly. I kid you not. You will not find a greater delight in business history than here. The author zooms from personality to personality, place to place with a grace rarely seen. Each sentence is crafted with clever bits, and the author reads the book to perfection -- dividing the sentences into segments that impart meaning as clear as a bell. Each level and layer of meaning overlays seamlessly -- from the dynamics of competition and entrepreneurship to the delights, quirks and neuroses a Yank or Swede or Siamese or Indian or Brit at any level might experience as the 1800s progressed. Personalities are finely and wittily etched, along wilth their links and their parts in their times. We readily grasp why each player acts as (s)he does. We see the games great and small. Instantly we are whisked into another scene, a boardroom, a dinner, a ship's deck, a sailor's holiday, a tourist's seaside jaunt, and instantly we can feel as if we know and inhabit the participants' minds. And it all fits a magnificent puzzle with business pulsing at its heart. This is obviously a labor of love on the author's part at every level. It shows that quality great and small. One might read a dozen academic texts and never grasp the totality of what is here. It's like Niall Ferguson but with a much more demanding editor cutting out the chaff. If this has any shred of interest for you, you won't regret it.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By LAK on 06-08-16
Great History of Oil Business
I loved all the details about all the big players in the oil industry. I had no idea how much impact the oil industry had on the world, inventions and lives in general. Great book, full of fascinating information about pivotal people in the world!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful