November 7, 1993
I was really amused at the photographs in the Oct. 17 Book Review section. Ron Chernow, William Gibson and Richard Reeves--all with contemplative hands to heads. A photographer's idea of how writers should look? Gibson and Chernow are probably contemplating nothing more rousing than a haircut, and Reeves undoubted can't remember where he put his keys! FRANCES HALPERN, MONTECITO
July 1, 1998 |
There is, in the National Portrait Gallery, a paleplaster bust of a sag-shouldered man with snaky eyes, sunken cheeks and straitened lips. If the sculpture weren't labeled, you might never guess that this wizened little guy was John D. Rockefeller Sr.--the ruthless 19th century American kerosene king who made millions and built an oil-refining monopoly by conspiring with railroads, quashing the competition, bribing government officials and skirting the law.
April 25, 2004 |
We carry his face in our wallets, on the 10-dollar bill; we know he was killed in a duel 200 years ago this July by Vice President Aaron Burr. Yet in the present Founders' revival, Alexander Hamilton -- bastard, immigrant, adulterer, genius, journalist, begetter of our prosperity -- has so far escaped a full-dress treatment. Now, Ron Chernow, whose previous books have chronicled the American Beauty roses and kudzu vines of mature American capitalism -- Warburgs, Morgans, John D. Rockefeller Sr.
May 31, 1998 |
Who, except for the historians, should care about the era of John D. Rockefeller Sr., J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie today? After all, how could that time (and they) be anything but dimly relevant to our own?
April 22, 1990 |
Bankers have never been popular and are often blamed for everything. In the last century, several states actually banned bankers, the way they might outlaw nude dancers or firecracker salesmen today. Texas didn't lift its ban on bankers until 1904. (Note: Given the number of bank and S&L fraud cases currently pending, perhaps Texas should reconsider.) For their part, bankers have done their best to be as secretive, aloof and uncommunicative with the general public as possible.
November 28, 1990 |
The historical novel, "Middle Passage," which chronicles the journey of a freed African slave returning to his homeland, won the 1990 National Book Award competition for fiction Tuesday night. Charles Johnson, an English professor at the University of Washington, wrote the book, which takes place in the 1830s and tells the story of a terrifying voyage taken by the slave en route to his native Africa on a clipper ship. It was published by Atheneum.