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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind the New York Times » User review

The Times They Are A'Changing

  • Jan 3, 2000
Rating:
+5
This brilliant analysis of members of several generations of the Ochs and Sulzberger families gives not one but several human faces to one of America's most influential cultural dynasties. Many of us who have the New York Times delivered to our doorstep each day may perhaps view it primarily (if not solely) as an invaluable source of information and commentary. It is certainly that. However, in The Trust, Tifft & Jones enable us to understand the multi-generational human infrastructure which -- over several decades -- has guided the evolution of a struggling newspaper to its current influence which includes but is by no means limited to journalism. The Trust bears at least some resemblance to a novel: There are so many colorful characters, so many plots and sub-plots, so many insights into the texture and nuances of America society. If Tolstoy had written a history of this unique dynasty, the result would probably be similar to what Tifft & Jones have produced. In my opinion, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to understand the American 20th Century without understanding the role played by the New York Times. The Trust is a brilliant achievement in terms of its historical content; remarkably, it is also compelling in terms of the narrative within which that content is brought to life.

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About the reviewer
Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Wiki

This mammoth history of the dynasty that created and controlsThe New York Timesis as epic in its scope as is the role of the newspaper in America. Like any good epic, this story is filled with its fair share of personal ambition, disappointment, competing heirs to the throne, fierce loyalties, and powerful intrigue. The story ofThe Timesstarts in 1896, when Adolph Ochs, a young German Jew, buys the undistinguished and nearly bankruptThe New-York Times(the dash was later dropped). He worked hard to distinguish its style from the florid journalism that marked rival papers, and soon Ochs's paper, with its straightforward reporting, became the favorite of the Wall Street and Uptown sets. He toiled, too, to ensure thatThe Timesnever earned the moniker "too Jewish." Ochs assiduously declined to promote Jewish editors and was an outspoken opponent of the free state of Israel. And writers Susan Tifft and Alex Jones argue persuasively that in its drive to appear absolutely objective about Jewish issues, the paper (under the leadership at this point of Ochs's son-in-law Arthur Hays Sulzberger) underreported the Holocaust--keeping stories of Hitler's early maneuvers off the front page, failing to name concentration-camp victims as Jews. Though significant, World War II was just one moment in the hundred-year-long history of the paper thus far.The Trustvividly chronicles some of theThe Times's most famous moments--the controversial publication of the Pentagon Papers and its transition to...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0316845469
ISBN-13: 978-0316845465
Author: Susan E. Tifft
Publisher: Little Brown & Co

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