The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism
In September 1901, President William McKinley is attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is hiking in the mountains of the Northeast. JP Morgan is in Manhattan, awaiting news regarding further consolidation of his business empire. The bullet fired by castoff Leon Czolgosz muddles the world. McKinley succumbs to his wounds within a few weeks, and a stunned Roosevelt becomes the new President. Roosevelt was born into wealth, yet never took it for granted. He possessed an unquenchable work ethic along with a strong moral compass. His various positions in municipal and federal government witnessed his efforts at reform.
JP Morgan was the beneficiary of his father’s wealth, but Morgan possessed an even greater eye for business. He was a titan, buying competitors or pricing them out of business. Viewing Morgan and his confederates with skepticism, Roosevelt desired transparency in their deals and operations. A progressive movement led by Roosevelt and others would usher in lawsuits attempting to dismantle behemoth railroad concerns attempting to push out competition.
The Hour of Fate is a masterful work of nonfiction. Events occurring more than a century ago come alive in an almost prescient sense of current affairs. Susan Berfield profiles her two subjects adeptly, conveying their value to the world, yet contrasting that with their foibles that made them just as human as the rest of the populace. This is A+ work.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
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