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The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism

The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism

Current price: $18.00
Publication Date: May 24th, 2022
Bloomsbury Publishing
Balin Books
1 on hand, as of Apr 14 3:13am
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A riveting narrative of Wall Street buccaneering, political intrigue, and two of American history's most colossal characters, struggling for mastery in an era of social upheaval and rampant inequality.

It seemed like no force in the world could slow J. P. Morgan's drive to power. In the summer of 1901, the financier was assembling his next mega-deal: Northern Securities, an enterprise that would affirm his dominance in America's most important industry-the railroads.

Then, a bullet from an anarchist's gun put an end to the business-friendly presidency of William McKinley. A new chief executive bounded into office: Theodore Roosevelt. He was convinced that as big business got bigger, the government had to check the influence of the wealthiest or the country would inch ever closer to collapse. By March 1902, battle lines were drawn: the government sued Northern Securities for antitrust violations. But as the case ramped up, the coal miners' union went on strike and the anthracite pits that fueled Morgan's trains and heated the homes of Roosevelt's citizens went silent. With millions of dollars on the line, winter bearing down, and revolution in the air, it was a crisis that neither man alone could solve.

Richly detailed and propulsively told, The Hour of Fate is the gripping story of a banker and a president thrown together in the crucible of national emergency even as they fought in court. The outcome of the strike and the case would change the course of our history. Today, as the country again asks whether saving democracy means taming capital, the lessons of Roosevelt and Morgan's time are more urgent than ever.

Winner of the 2021 Theodore Roosevelt Association Book Prize
Finalist for the Presidential Leadership Book Award

About the Author

Susan Berfield is an award-winning investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News, where she has covered some of America's largest corporations. She has been interviewed on PBS NewsHour, NPR's All Things Considered, Marketplace, On Point, and elsewhere. Her research for The Hour of Fate, her first book, took her to archives in New York, St. Paul, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was supported by a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Praise for The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism

“Wonderfully detailed . . . [Berfield’s] story is about the past but also very much about the present, as our own Gilded Age raises old questions about inequality, plutocracy . . . a poignant, painful reminder of what a real leader does.” - The Washington Post

“Berfield’s wide-angle lens encompasses antitrust law, the details of railroad reorganization, investment banking, politics, coal mining and high living. . . . she can do a lot with only a few words.” - The Wall Street Journal

“An extremely skillful blend of wide-canvas exposition and small-scale personal drama . . . impossible to read this clash between big government and big business without thinking about our own century, when American wealth inequality is greater than it was even in Morgan’s day.” - Christian Science Monitor

“Incredibly well written and researched.” - Forbes

“A lively epic . . . novelistic in tone and historical in substance.” - The National Review

“Most authors might be content to write about either John Pierpont Morgan, possibly the world’s most famous banker, or Theodore Roosevelt, one of America’s best-loved presidents. But The Hour of Fate by Susan Berfield is richer for tackling them together. . . . Her book vividly brings both men to life.” - The Economist

“A tale of greed, power, and accountability, an epic story of a clash of titans, one a political dynamo, the other unparalleled in business savvy ... Today, as the United States barrels its way into the 21st century, with business behemoths like Amazon and Apple treading in the footsteps of Morgan’s Northern Securities, one can only wonder when and where the next trust buster will arise.” - The New York Journal of Books

“An extremely readable work that will engage American history and business readers everywhere.” - Library Journal (starred review)

“Ambitiously juggles several historic threads from a turbulent time in America ... An engaging historical work involving truly larger-than-life American characters.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Susan Berfield has written the rare book that makes you look at both the past and present in a new light. Deeply researched and beautifully written.” - David K. Randall, New York Times bestselling author of BLACK DEATH AT THE GOLDEN GATE

“Narrative nonfiction at its best.” - Adam Winkler, author of WE THE CORPORATIONS

“Impossible to read Berfield’s fast-paced and entertaining account of events a century ago without gaining deeper insight into the momentous events we wrestle with today.” - SCOTT MILLER, author of THE PRESIDENT AND THE ASSASSIN and AGENT 110

“Gripping ... well-researched and expertly told, this story of haves and have-nots—and a country at the precipice—speaks to our own precarious times, and will fascinate readers of financial and labor history.” - Philip Dray, author of THERE IS POWER IN A UNION and AT THE HANDS OF PERSONS UNKNOWN

“Berfield well portrays the major characters of this struggle without excessive detail, and her insights into both Roosevelt and Morgan make them seem quite contemporary.” - Booklist

“A vivid account of the early 20th-century battle of wills between President Theodore Roosevelt and financier J.P. Morgan ... Weaving together the perspectives of labor, capital, and government, Berfield ... finds drama in complex and potentially dry business transactions, and makes insightful comparisons to today’s progressive movement.” - Publishers Weekly

“Excellent topic. Excellent scope. Excellent writing.” - Book Reporter

“A masterful work of nonfiction. Events occurring more than a century ago come alive in an almost prescient sense of current affairs ... This is A+ work.” - Manhattan Book Review

“A well-written narrative that reads like a novel.” - CHOICE

“A majestic study in personality, politics and policies that still echo today.” - Valdosta Daily Times