John D. Rockefeller, Sr., history’s first billionaire and the patriarch of America’s most famous dynasty, is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, a National Book Award-winning biographer, gives us a detailed and insightful history of the mogul. Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller’s exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book indelibly alters our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world’s richest man by creating America’s most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.
Rockefeller was likely the most controversial businessman in our nation’s history. Critics charged that his empire was built on unscrupulous tactics: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, industrial espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officials. The titan spent more than 30 years dodging investigations until Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters embarked on a marathon crusade to bring Standard Oil to bay.
While providing abundant evidence of Rockefeller’s misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to sketch an unforgettably human portrait of a quirky, eccentric original. A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money more generously than anyone before him - his chosen philanthropies included the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Chicago, and what is today Rockefeller University. Titan presents a finely nuanced portrait of a fascinating, complex man, synthesizing his public and private lives and disclosing numerous family scandals, tragedies, and misfortunes that have never before come to light.
John D. Rockefeller’s story captures a pivotal moment in American history, documenting the dramatic post–Civil War shift from small business to the rise of giant corporations that irrevocably transformed the nation. With cameos by Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Jay Gould, William Vanderbilt, Ida Tarbell, Andrew Carnegie, Carl Jung, J. P. Morgan, William James, Henry Clay Frick, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers, Titan turns Rockefeller’s life into a vivid tapestry of American society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is Ron Chernow’s signal triumph that he writes this monumental saga with all the sweep, drama, and insight that this giant subject deserves.
©2004 Ron Chernow (P)2013 Blackstone Audio
Kept me wanting to listen more. Having been in the gas businees, it answered several questions. It's very thorough & detailed.
It's great when learning history is so pleasurable. If felt as if I got to know Rockefeller personally. Now I'm buying the author's other audiobooks!
I enjoy history, biographys, and nerdy/ dorky things.
The sequential steps through out JDR life. Growing up poor, to becoming the worlds wealthiest man. The book does not sugar coat JDR, not does it portray him as history's greatest villain either. He was a CEO of his time and age.
JDR. He was much more likable than I expected him to be.
Well read, nothing to complain about
No. Most biography I read don't exhibit in me a strong emotional reaction. However learning about US industry after the Civil War through WWI was very interesting
Growing up in a very liberal household names like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Carnegie, ect were names of evil, money hunger villains. I was surprised to learn how generous with his wealth Rockefeller was.
What a fantastic lifestory. This is going straight to my favorites.
There are one or two spots where the audio dissapears and a few seconds are skipped, but this is a minor issue.
This is a must-listen.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I found it to be a balanced look at a very complex man. The book is comprehensive and covers his entire life from early-childhood all the way up to his death and the economic times surrounding his ascension in business.
I came away with a sense of what makes him tick. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this man to listen to this audiobook.
The book could have been edited down by several hours. Lots of repetition and while, thorough, there was too much minutia.
The immensity of JDR's philanthropy and how he changed charitable giving forever. That and his public transformation from robber baron to a force for good.
The deep dive into family got a little tedious.
Steady, easy to listen to.
Absolutely not. This study is more than complete.
This is my second Ron Chernow book (Washington: a Life), and I can't wait to start Alexander Hamilton! This book was so well researched and written that it was a struggle to put it down. Grover Gardner doing the narration just added to the wonderful experience. Love this book!
I read nothing that is popular.
I bought this book on sale during Thanksgiving on Audible and really didn't think anything of it. Just to pass time since most shows are on hiatus. Jeez I was wrong. I pretty much couldn't stop listening to Grover Gardner narrating the life of John D. Rockefeller and his life. I never knew hot tight and religious he was. Often times, I can sit in front of my keyboard and have an audiobook playing in the background while I work.
I tend to binge listen a lot to get through files of novels, but with "Titan", I was so intrigue with the Rockefeller's, that I needed to put 35 hours aside and pay attention to the book. This is an awesome book about Americans and our passions to move us forward to greater things. It was a great way to finish off the year with an American icon and a real leader.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.